Internships in Law: What To Know & Where To Find One
Internships are a fantastic way to build up your skills and experience as a Law student. This article explains what you can expect to gain from a Law internship and how to find an internship programme that’s right for you. But first, let’s start with the basics.
What Is a Law/ Legal Internship?
A Law internship is a work programme that gives students relevant experience in the legal profession. Internships in Law can last anywhere from one month up to a year and are designed to give students hands-on experience, working for a real business. This means you could work in a law firm, solicitors, government department, NGO, charity, corporate business or courtroom, depending on where you want to take your career. Students typically complete legal internships while studying for full time for a bachelor’s or master’s degree. This makes them an ideal option for students looking for a summer internship programme or gap year work experience.
Do I Need an Internship in Law?
In short, no. Most undergraduate Law degrees have built-in work experience and professional training as standard. In England and Wales, for example, students must complete bar courses, the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) and pupillage to qualify as a barrister or solicitor. These qualifications contain elements of work-integrated learning (WIL) to ensure that law students have the necessary skills and experience to work as a qualified lawyer.
Despite this, there are huge benefits to undertaking an internship in law while studying at university, and some legal firms may still consider it a requirement. Law is a particularly complex and competitive field, with most students studying for five or six years before qualifying. Internships are, in this case, hugely beneficial for students looking to deepen their understanding of the sector and decide which area of the Law to specialise in.
Law degrees can open doors to a range of careers, including solicitors, barristers, chartered legal executives and paralegals. An internship is an opportunity to ‘try’ a job or before you commit to it as a career. This means you can take time to figure out which area of the Law suits you best, and plan your degree modules and work experience accordingly. With the right experience under your belt, a legal internship can help you land your dream job.
What you can expect from a Law/ Legal internships
On an internship, you’ll work under the supervision of experienced lawyers and alongside colleagues. Day-to-day, you could;
- Work on real cases
- Attend court hearings
- Draft legal documents
- Manage case files
- Conduct desk-based research
- Help with office administration
What are the benefits of a Law/ Legal internship?
Law internship programmes are designed to mimic a real work environment. This means you’ll gain industry-specific skills that employers look for. The experience you build will benefit you as a student, an intern and as a qualified lawyer.
10 benefits of studying an internship in Law:
- Develop your understanding of different careers in the legal sector
- Get experience working alongside qualified lawyers and real clients
- Apply what you’ve learnt in the classroom to a professional setting
- Develop key research, communication and time management skills
- Build professional skills and experience to boost your CV
- Get a taste of life working as a lawyer after graduation
- Gain an understanding of how the corporate world works
- Boost your confidence and intercultural awareness
- Build a network of professional contacts
- Make friends with other interns who are just like you
How to find an Internship in Law
There are many ways to find internships in Law. The first place to look is at your university or college as your degree might already contain built-in experience, or a placement year. Your academic tutors and your institution’s careers centre can also advise on finding placements and internship opportunities. Or, you can apply for an internship with companies like us!
We partner with leading universities and hundreds of host companies to run global internship programmes and experiences for students across the world. Our internships are delivered either in person or online, and we have funding available for most of our programmes.
Our Law internships are an opportunity to;
- Start building a global network
- Gain skills in a ‘real work’ environment
- Build CV-boosting skills and experiences
- Develop professional and intercultural skills
Take a look at our website to see if we have Law internships or graduate opportunities available at your university.
Got any questions? Contact us today.
Which internship is best for Law students?
There are lots of different internships available for Law students, offering varying levels of experience. Some internships will offer academic credit, whereas others will solely focus on developing your skills and experience. Most internships will be in person but you might also find short online or ‘virtual’ internships. As Law is complex and requires you to develop close relationships with clients, it’s probably worthwhile to start off with an in-person internship. This will give you a more accurate understanding of what life is like working in that particular role.
Are legal internships paid?
Most short-term legal internships will be unpaid but they’re worth pursuing, simply for the experience. Longer internships are more likely to be paid as you’ll be working for an organisation, like a paid employee. Law interns are usually paid a low salary or minimum wage.
How do I prepare for a Law internship?
There are so many ways you can prepare for a Law internship, but the trick is to not overthink it. You’ll want to go into your new workplace with a solid understanding of key legal concepts you’ve learnt at university, so brushing up on what you’ve learnt is a good place to start.
Beyond that, it’s a good idea to research the organisation you’re going to be working for. Take a look at their company website and social media pages. These will give you a good idea of their aims, objectives, company culture and client base.
Once you’ve done this, you can relax. You’re ready to go. Make sure you have all the information about where you need to go and what time. Get an early night, pack lots of snacks and arrive (at least) ten minutes before you’re due to start. Making a good first impression is everything.
Good luck with your internship journey!
Author: Alice Abbott