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10 Pieces of Advice to a Legal Intern: Things I Wish I Knew Then

published May 26, 2023

By Author - LawCrossing
Published By
( 18 votes, average: 4.9 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
As an undergraduate or current law student, securing a legal internship is a complete victory! Maintaining an internship gives you complete advantage for the opportunity to network and of course will add more to your resume.
 
As a legal intern, it’s important to make the most out of your time at a firm. Here are a few “legal” advice that will help you become successful in your internship:

 
1. Have FUN!
It’s an internship… not a test to decide the rest of your life! You’re meeting new people. You get paid (in most internships) to learn! You’re starting an exciting new chapter in your life. Find a way to enjoy the challenge!
 
2. Keep in Touch
It’s important to maintain a solid network at your first legal internship. By building you legal network, you may potentially meet other attorneys at social networking events. Make sure to build up your confidence so you can introduce yourself to lawyers and perhaps even ask to connect with them on LinkedIn.
 
3. Someone Is Always Watching
In many companies you have a very good chance to be hired as a full-time employee after your legal internship. But every day you have to prove yourself; and every day you’re being tested. Every detail – your attire, the quality of your PowerPoint presentations, and your attitude – is being evaluated. Every… Day.
 
4. Make Mistakes
This is an internship… internships are where you make mistakes, and learn from them. As a legal intern, you’re not in a high-profile enough position to destroy your career or the company with a mistake or two. So if you have good ideas and ambition, take some calculated risks! Remember I said “calculated”… trying not to get caught photocopying your butt doesn’t qualify.
 
5. Work Like You Already Have a “Permanent” Position in the Company
Realize that this organization saw something in you that stood out above all the rest of the (possibly hundreds) of candidates who applied. Show up to work every day with confidence. You were chosen and you belong there. On more than one occasion I’ve heard interns refer to themselves as “just an intern”. No – you’re more than that! Act like it!
 
6. Find a Mentor at Every Internship
In your legal internship you’re surrounded by great people who have a lot more experience. Why re-invent the wheel and learn everything from scratch? Make a connection with someone who has the skill set you want to develop. Emulate their strong points and learn everything you can from them. This will speed your professional development immensely.
 
7. Start Building You, Inc.
In the quasi-immortal words of Allen Iverson…“practice!”. An internship is your time to start building your personal brand; to discover what you love to do. Focus on those skills and hone them to perfection.
 
8. Develop Your “Transferrable Skills”
The industry in which you intern may not be your future career path. But many skills you learn will be useful in any job, and in any industry.
 
9. Stand Up For Yourself
Not all employers manage an internship program well. But you remember this: an internship is NOT slave labor. If you’re being treated badly, speak up! You’re there to help the company and to learn business skills; not just to get coffee for the boss.
 
10. Network
You’ve likely heard this one before so I won’t belabor the point. It’s so important though that I couldn’t overlook it. Whether online, within your company or throughout the industry, make and nurture professional connections. This is likely to become one of your most valuable skills throughout your entire career.

published May 26, 2023

By Author - LawCrossing
( 18 votes, average: 4.9 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.