So you have chosen a career in the legal realm - you might still be in law school or you might have graduated from a reputable law school, earned decent grades that hopefully will help you land a job in one of those big shot law firms you've dreamed of. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. More often than not, you need to have that certain edge that will make these firms consider you for a part in their practice. The edge that will make a difference in jump-starting your career is through an internship in the law firm that you want to apply to.
You might wonder about the need for this internship if you have already learned the legal rigors in law school. Nonetheless, many decent firms will beg to differ and require you go through an internship. You need to go through the following processes when pursuing an internship in law firms:
- Look for law firms that offer internships. Your college would definitely know the names of such firms and would coordinate with them to accommodate you in their training program. You could also call the local law firms and ask if they offer internship programs. While you're at it, inquire as to what kind of internship they offer - is it full-time or part-time and whether compensated or not. Another choice would be to read blogs that advocate law firm internships, and you might be amazed at how many recommendations these authors might supply.
- Write a cover letter and your resume. This may seem like applying for a real job but again, this is training for the job. Make sure that you create a resume that lists your educational background and work experience related to the legal field. It is best if your cover letter is printed on stationery with the law school's logo to show your affiliation. Explain why you want to do your internship with them. Make sure that you clarify what kind of law practice you intend to engage with in the future.
- Be ready for an interview. Before any of these law firms call up, you need to be ready for an interview. They usually ask mundane questions similar to a job interview or ask about things that you already wrote down in the cover letter. When the interview comes, make sure that you have already researched all the possible professional answers to their queries.
Law firm internships will give you insight as to the corporate culture that prevails in the firm. For new lawyers, it is actually a form of a job test drive where the firm partners check out your abilities before considering you as a full time employee. It depends on the program that they implement, since they might not allow you to handle major clients initially or if they do, they will assign reduced client work. Whatever an internship may entail, it will equip you with skills needed for real legal practice.