How You Can Start Your Career In Politics Now

By Hillary Mantis

This is a time in history when many people recognize the need to change the world. In fact, this year there is an uptick in applications to law school, which many say is due to this generation’s desire to be directly involved in that change.

In a a recent Kaplan Test prep survey of over 500 pre-law students, nearly a third of those surveyed said that the 2016 election impacted their decision to become lawyers.

Lawyers have been involved in politics since the time that our constitution was drafted. Since then, lawyers have continued to hold public office at every level. Many of our presidents have been lawyers. Lawyers account for many seats held in the Senate and Congress, as well as at the state and local level. Beyond that, there are lawyers who are lobbyists, lawyers who run nonprofits, and lawyers who run think tanks.

But how can you get involved in politics now, while you are a student?



1 | Get involved in your law school’s public interest internship program.

Many law schools now have a designated public interest career counselor in the career services office. They also help law students find public sector externships and summer jobs, which are sometimes funded by the school. Reach out to them for ideas as to how to find an internship in, and funding for, a cause you believe in.



2 | Volunteer on a political campaign.

When I was in law school, I volunteered on a political campaign. It was one of the best learning experiences of my law school career. Suddenly, all of those cases we read that took place in the 1800’s were balanced by events and issues that were happening during the campaign.

All candidates, whether at the national, state or local level, need volunteers. Many have “lawyer’s committees” which you may be able to join, even as a student. There are many legal issues that arise during campaigns. It’s also a great opportunity to network with lawyers.

If the candidate wins, who knows? You may end up being hired to work in their administration. Or, maybe it will pave the way for you to garner support and launch your own political campaign one day.



3 | Work in politics or for a nonprofit this summer.

You can look into working on the Hill for your senator or congressman, or try to intern in their district office. Or, look for a cause you believe in, and see if you can create your own internship. Talk to the career services office at your school for ideas of how to find it, and hopefully get paid for it. Start by checking out sites like for politically related opportunities in Washington, D.C.

Equal Justice Works,, is also a great place to find opportunities, including post graduate public interest fellowships. There are many, many other organizations in need of volunteers. Whatever you believe in, there’s a way for you get involved right now.


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How to Answer Really Tough Interview Questions


Hillary Mantis consults with law students, pre-law students, and lawyers. She is the author of Alternative Careers for Lawyers, and Pre-Law Program Director at Fordham University. Questions about your legal career? You can reach Hillary at