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Five Ways to Gain Legal Work-experience Before Graduation

published June 11, 2012

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
( 139 votes, average: 4 out of 5)
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hands-on legal experience

before your graduation is essential. Even if you are not thinking of becoming a lawyer, the experience would gain you invaluable contacts and broaden your perception for the rest of your life. Whether you go for an externship working for refugees in Cambodia, or land a summer associate job in a top law firm in New York, all experience related to law open our minds in a manner that is hard to define until you start feeling it yourself. Legal experience and other work experiences gained during student years are invaluable for they help to shape the mind in a more flexible manner than routine work in law firms. These moments and opportunities are precious, not only for preparing you better for entering the market, but truly because, sometimes, they carry moments of revelation and help to confirm your choice of career.

Click Here to Find Law Student Jobs on LawCrossing

The five best ways to gain legal experience before graduation, according to my personal choice would be
The choice, of course, depends upon your personal leanings and career objectives. But let me caution you about one thing. Most counselors would tell you to be very sure about what you would want to become in life, and then make the choice of which avenue of legal experience to accept. I would not contradict such advice, but only say that be prepared for surprises. A choice is good only if you are well-informed, and your information on things can radically change on experience. Sometimes, you can learn to love a job about which you had no previous idea at all, and it couldn't have figured in your ‘calculated choices.”

Click Here to Find Summer Associate Jobs on LawCrossing

Whichever route may be your choice for gaining legal experience before graduation, be sure to keep the following in mind:
  • As a law student, you can perform legal work only under the supervision of an attorney
  • You can perform legal work only as long as an attorney vouches for the client and is responsible to the client.
  • A lawyer cannot delegate his or her professional responsibility to a law student,
  • A law student who undertakes legal work without sufficient supervision of an attorney may be open to criminal and civil charges and penalties
  • It is the responsibility of the law student to determine which work he/she may accept according to prevalent state rules and rules of professional conduct
  • The law can vary widely from state to state as to what a student of law may or may not do when it comes to real legal work

Legal work experience before graduation, especially in law firms, helps you to secure potential job opportunities, gain skills and display abilities. You'd get a first-hand idea of how law firms operate from

summer jobs

, and also learn the merits of public service from

pro bono

and externships. And you can do all that within your student years. Such mobility is unavailable once you join law practice full-scale.

Click Here to View the 2015 LawCrossing Salary Survey of Lawyer Salaries in the Best Law Firms

Alternative Summary

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

More about Harrison

About LawCrossing

LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit