6 steps to finding a legal internship next summer

By Hillary Mantis

Even though it’s not even Thanksgiving, many of you have already started your summer job searches. The luckiest might even have offers. If you haven’t started looking yet, no worries. But now is a good time to start. You can check your school’s job listings, and on campus interviews.

There are many other things you can do. Here are some ideas to get you going:

1. Investigate Public Interest Funding:

Many schools have considerable public interest funding available for summer positions. Check out their deadlines and requirements now. They should be available in Career Services. This is an especially great way for 1Ls to get paid for work that would otherwise be done on a volunteer basis.

2. Check out Government Deadlines:

Many large government agencies have summer honors programs, and other summer program for law students. Many of the deadlines are in the fall. This can be a good source of a summer job. But check out their deadlines now before you miss them.

3. See if Your Professors Need Research Assistants:

While you are still in their class and they remember you, ask your professors if they think they will need a research assistant this summer. If you love the class, it’s a great opportunity to learn more about a potential practice area. And it’s a good way to get a credential in that practice area on your resume.

4. Set Up Alumni Networking Meetings:

I know of a recent graduate who just got several job offers this week after being unemployed for months. Two out of the three offers were through alumni connections of his alma mater. Networking through alumni can set these types of potential job offers in motion, both for this summer, and future positions.

5. Track Popular Practice Areas:

Find out what the potential growth areas are from the legal news, and by attending events at your school. These are the areas that will be hiring for this summer, and hopefully long-term.

6. Befriend Your Career Services Office:

When I was in law school, I rarely used my Career Services Office. But when I became a legal career counselor, I noticed that certain students would come into our office all of the time. These career “groupies” got to know all of the career counselors, and we got to know them. As a result, they had their resumes critiqued, their interview skills polished, and were very aware of the current job listings and on campus recruiters. Get to know a career counselor at your school and meet with them frequently. Why not? The services are free and can only help you position yourself better for future job opportunities.


Hillary Mantis consults with law students, lawyers and pre-law students. She is the author of Alternative Careers for Lawyers, and a Director of the Pre-Law Program at Fordham University. You can reach Hillary at altcareer@aol.com