Some law students came from specific family backgrounds that all they have to do is intern in the family’s firm, and they’re good to go. But if you are like most law students who don’t know yet what he/she plans to pursue after law school, then you need to apply for multiple internships. This will allow you to branch out, test your mettle, and expand your network. It will allow you to see yourself in action—whether you’re falling in love with environmental law or you’re more of a defense kind of lawyer.
There are different branches of law. Everyone knows that. But until you’ve had a feel of specific specializations, you wouldn’t know what you want. You certainly don’t want to change course when you’re halfway in your career path already. You need to try actual legal work to know if you want to be in litigation or transactional work.
The way out of this predicament is through multiple internships. Working in different law firms under different capacities will let you explore your skills. Joining an election campaign will open your eyes to the harsh reality of election law while in civil courts, you can watch a car accident lawyer seek compensation for their clients. You can also join a labor group and lobby for pro-workers’ rights. There are many facets to the law, so only multiple internships are the practical solution to finding out what you want to do in your legal profession.
For Bonus Points and More Exposure
Even if you are already certain where you want to be after graduation, being an intern or associate is still an important career move. You’ll get extra points in school. In law school, those points are critical to whether or not you will graduate with flying colors. The more exposure you have to real legal work, the better you can weigh your options. Are you 100% sure you want to be a criminal lawyer, for example? Maybe you’ll love the grind of corporate law, too. Who knows until you’ve tried it?
You need a well-rounded view of the legal world. You cannot get that from the law school. Only by joining multiple law firms can you get a sense of what the world looks like in reality. Exploring different law firms will expose you to how law practices differ and what organizations can bring to their lawyers. Working in a nonprofit, prosecutor’s office, or a large firm will provide different levels of hardships and experiences. This is what you should be aiming for when you’re a law student.
The experiences you got from different law firms will give you a broader perspective of what to expect when it’s your time to join the real world. You will see how lawyers work and how they operate. You will also realize that those first few steps you take after graduation can define your whole career path.
Even though you’re sure of which path to take, there are still decisions to be made. For example, you want to work as a labor lawyer. You have different options. You can work for the government, for a nonprofit, for an international organization, for a large business as an in-house lawyer, or for a pro-bono office. Which of these you will join will influence your whole career. So doing multiple internships will open wide the options for you as a lawyer.
Build Your Network
If expanding your skills is not enough reason for you, then maybe building your network is? The professional network that you build through your internships will come in handy when you are ready to join the industry. Although your classmates and professors are all important networks to nourish, industry experts—lawyers and even their secretaries—will help you gain a footing once you graduate. They’re the kind of connections that you need to open work opportunities.
Branch Outside the Law
Do not feel that you’re supposed to work in a legal firm. If you feel that your services and skills are better utilized as a consultant, for example, then try your hand at that. Knowledge of the law is beneficial in whatever field you choose to join. You can try out a non-legal job just to test your mettle and gain the necessary experience.
When you’re still in law school, the goal is to strengthen partnerships and reinforce the legal relationships you’ve developed with your professors, classmates, intern supervisors, and clients. This will come in handy once you’re in the real world. Exposing yourself and building your network through multiple internships is the single most important thing you can do while in law school.