Shooting for a T14 Law Degree? 7 Suggestions for Summer Opportunities
The summer before you apply to law school is a great opportunity to gain relevant professional experience.
If you are serious about applying to law school, use this summer to demonstrate the qualities law school admissions committees will be looking for: a strong work ethic; excellent research and writing; creativity; and initiative.
Nurturing relationships with the managers and mentors at this summer positions can help with your letters of recommendation for law school or for other career opportunities down the road.
This article provides 7 ideas for how you can make the summer before you apply to law school as productive as possible!
Law Firm Internship
Working at a law firm — small, midsize or large — can give you a sense of the nuts and bolts of how legal practice works.
Many Stratus clients have gained experience as legal assistants actually working on legal matters. In the legal assistant role, you might participate in interviewing clients, preparing declarations, or even reading cases drafting research memos. The smaller the firm, the more likely you may have a chance to dive into the legal work. In all likelihood, you would also be responsible for administrative work including making copies, getting coffee, ordering lunch, booking conference rooms — but all of these seemingly mundane activities are essential for a strong legal practice to function, too.
Stratus clients have worked in a wide range of businesses — small and large. Some have been able to work with General Counsels of technology companies to develop patents; some have worked within real estate companies on acquiring new property.
All corporations require some type of legal support, so gaining background within a particular business can help you understand the attorney’s role within that business.
Working as a research assistant for a professor is a role that many Stratus clients have taken on the summer before law school. This role is a chance to hone in on a particular field, further a professor’s research, and strengthen your writing skills. This type of experience can be especially advantageous since law schools admissions committees want to see letters of recommendation from professors who can attest to your capacity for academic rigor.
Many Stratus clients have worked in local, state or federal policymaking before applying to law school. Such internships can provide exposure to drafting legislation, organizing briefings and meetings, and gaining expertise in specific regional law and policy.
An internship outside of the United States can be a very enlightening experience — not to mention a lot of exciting travel. Stratus clients have worked for judges, corporations, and human rights organizations in many countries including China, India, the United Kingdom, and Mexico. Global events clearly shape law and policy in the United States, and such exposure can help inform your own legal career path.
Nonprofit/Legal Services Internship
Legal services for the indigent is a critical area of law in the United States that requires engaged, active pre-law students. Many Stratus clients have worked at organizations like Catholic Charities that represent immigrants in asylum hearings, tenants who have been evicted, or families in custody and child support hearings.
Be An Entrepreneur
Millennials are known for launching their own companies and nonprofit organizations. Stratus clients have built manufacturing firms, launched nonprofits, or built their own newspapers and magazines. Demonstrating entrepreneurship before you apply to law school also shows your creativity and hard work.
Important Note: Many pre-law students may not have the networks or connections necessary to secure these types of internships or build their own business. Law schools also understand that many pre-law students need to support a small family business, be a caregiver for a parent, or focus on raising their child — all of which is valuable experience, too. So you don’t focus on one of the 7 areas in this article, it’s certainly not the end of the world!
Ultimately, you want to gain experience that demonstrates your work ethic, research and writing, creativity and initiative — whether it is through these seven areas or not. The work you choose to do before applying to law school is not just valuable for your law school applications. It can also shape your long term path and help you decide what area of law you may want to focus on as an attorney.
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