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Don't Panic! What To Do If You Don't Land a First-Year Summer Legal Internship

published January 10, 2023

By Author - LawCrossing
Published By
( 20 votes, average: 4.2 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.

If you are a law student who is panicking because you didn’t land a first-year summer legal internship, don’t worry. There are still plenty of opportunities out there for you! The most important factor from the perspective of law firms is that you did something constructive and creative during your summer. When employers see law students who did nothing educational or productive during the summer, red flags are raised.

This article will provide some advice on what to do if you find yourself in this situation. We will also discuss some other opportunities that may be available to you. So don’t panic – there is still hope!

Tie Your Summer Work Experience to Your Previous Background or To an Area, You May Have an Interest in As a Practicing Attorney

The summer work experience you have can be related to your previous background or an area you are interested in as a practicing lawyer.

Examples of Alternative Summer Job Opportunities for Law Students
  • If you have an accounting background, you could intern at the Treasury Department in the Government Affairs office to gain experience in tax law. This would be beneficial if you are interested in tax law after graduation.
  • If you are interested in environmental law, you could intern at an environmental organization. This would allow you to learn about the different aspects of environmental law and how to apply them.

No matter what your summer work experience is, it is important to use it to gain experience in the legal field. This will help you prepare for law school and your future career as a lawyer.

Go to Summer School

Summer school may not be the most fun way to spend your summer break, but it can lighten your workload for your second year. You’ll also be able to improve your grade point average if you take two or three classes during the summer.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Check with your law school to see if they offer any summer programs.

Some law schools do not offer summer programs, so it’s important to find out before you make any plans.

Research the different available programs.

There are various summer programs, so you’ll want to find one that fits your needs and interests.

Don’t forget to factor in the cost of attending summer school.

Many programs charge tuition, so you’ll need to budget accordingly.

Summer law school can be a great way to catch up on coursework, get ahead of your classmates, improve your law school grades or gain more experience in the legal field.

Work in Politics

Work in politics, especially if it’s an election year. While this experience may not be directly transferable to your law studies, find out early if you have politics in your blood. You’ll learn about the inner workings of a campaign, and you’ll also get to see how the political process works firsthand. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to meet lots of exciting people and build essential connections.

Learn Or Improve New Language Skills

In a global economy, it is becoming increasingly important to be multilingual. Fluency in another language can give you an edge in the legal job market.

When it comes to learning a new language, there are a variety of different methods that you can use to improve your skills. While some people may enroll in a class or hire a tutor, others prefer to learn independently. No matter what method you choose, there are a few key things that you can do to improve your language skills.
  • Read as much as possible in the language you are trying to learn. 
  • Listen to native speakers as often as you can. 
  • Write as much as you can in the language. 
  • Use technology to your advantage. Many different apps and websites can be beneficial when learning a new language.
  • Be patient with yourself. Learning a new language takes time, and patience is important throughout the process. Do not get discouraged if you make mistakes or are not progressing as quickly as you would like. Remember that everyone learns at their own pace, and eventually, you will reach your goals.

Internship In a Corporate Legal Department

Finding a summer internship in a corporate legal department can be difficult. Still, many law students manage to find them all the time. This is another example of when your networking skills come in handy. Many students work as paralegals or legal assistants to gain experience and earn money simultaneously.


There are many great opportunities for volunteers, especially law students. Plenty of agencies could use your legal assistance, even part-time! You can work with Legal Aid Society, United Way, hospices, or soup kitchens. Volunteering with these organizations is a great way to gain experience and give back to the community.

Many agencies could use the assistance of volunteers, so do some research and find one that is a good match for you. You can make a difference by volunteering your time and talents.


You can do so many things over the summer, and law firms are open-minded enough to consider these experiences beneficial to a future legal career. Some other first-year summer jobs include clerking for judges, working for a local government agency, working for a relative’s business, real estate development, government agency work, working for an international development organization, and even writing a book or screenplay. These are all helpful in developing skills that will be useful in a legal career. For example, clerking for a judge can give you insight into the judicial process, while working for a relative’s business can teach you about contract law. No matter what you do over the summer, take advantage of the opportunity to learn and grow.

The first-year job market can be tough to navigate, but it’s important to make the most of your summer. Even if you don’t end up in a Wall Street firm or at an internship in Venice, take some risks and seize opportunities you wouldn’t have during your second-year summer. You don’t need to work in top-tier firms, nor is it expected from the law firm community. Be realistic and creative at the same time. And don’t worry if you fail in your attempt to land a large firm summer position. There will be plenty of time if you decide that is the best career path for you. Your first-year summer should be an education in itself. We hope this article has given you some ideas and inspiration for your next steps!

published January 10, 2023

By Author - LawCrossing
( 20 votes, average: 4.2 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.