You may be tempted to take it easy during the summer since you worked so hard all year long, but summers are very important for your legal career. During the summer after surviving 1L year, you have a crucial opportunity to enter the legal profession and gain experience. During the summer after 2L year, it’s common to land a job that turns into a job offer post-graduation. So, make the most of your summer! Consider one of the following jobs:
Summer Associate at a Law Firm
As the classic summer job, a summer associate position is a great way to build your skills and make contacts. Large firms are not likely to award positions to 1Ls, but small firms may. 2Ls will have a much better shot at a Summer Associate position, which traditionally leads to a job offer after graduation.
Approach a professor you like or admire about being their research assistant over the summer. A research position will build your credentials and expertise in an area of interest, and a good relationship with your professor can also lead to more opportunities in the future.
Many judges take on summer interns. If you land a judicial internship, you’ll perform legal research, write memoranda, and prepare and edit orders, among other duties. If this interests you, you can visit a court’s website or call its chambers to inquire about judicial internships. Diverse students can apply for the American Bar Association’s Judicial Intern Opportunity Program, and your university may have its own judicial program as well. So, be on the lookout for information on your law school’s website.
Public Interest Internship
Spend your summer interning for an organization and championing a cause you believe in. The catch is that these internships don’t pay. Still, your school may have a public interest fellowship that provides a grant to support you if you take one of these positions. So, be sure to check out funding options before writing off a public interest opportunity.
Work for the Department of Justice
The DOJ runs SLIP: the Summer Law Intern Program. The competitive program places interns within U.S. Attorneys’ offices and typically hires around 60 interns annually. The DOJ also extends about 1,000 offers for volunteer legal internships over the summer. Although unpaid, these volunteer internships provide invaluable access to U.S. Attorneys’ officers, immigration court, and other DOJ offices. ~
Finding Legal Jobs
Use the following websites to search for summer jobs:
The American Bar Association (ABA) Legal Career Central The ABA’s job posting board, this site allows you to search for internships by keyword, state, and industry. Its resources page also provides you with advice for fine-tuning your resume, nailing your interview, and more.
LawCrossing This job reporting service aggregates thousands of legal jobs. Become a member and upload your resume to start searching. The site also offers a Concierge, which gives you one-on-one help to find a job and a Resume Facelift service that can give your resume an auspicious makeover.
U.S. Courts This website is a great place to search for jobs in the federal court system.
LawMatch offers a matchmaker’s approach to your job search. You can view and search jobs for free, but the site also offers a membership that comes with benefits like a monthly resume and cover letter review and directly contacting employers on your behalf, like a real matchmaker.
iHireLegal Use this legal job site to find your perfect summer position. The site adds over 500 law jobs a day. So, keep checking back for new opportunities.
Indeed Search this job site for internships and summer opportunities. Use their tool that lets you set a job alert so that you have the most up-to-date jobs at your fingertips.
A summer job can give you valuable skills, help you hone in on how you want to use your legal degree, and provide a pathway to doing so. Happy hunting! If you're a student who took a summer job and had a great experience, we'd love to know!