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Long Since Gone: Summers Before Law School

JD Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Summers are a time of porch swings, swimming pools and sweet iced tea. It’s a time for relaxing and enjoying life. At least it used to be. Now, for us law students, it’s a time for more stressful work. It’s a time to sit back and reminisce about those joyous days while we chip away at the sculpture of our future lives. It is a time to gain experience that will one day impress future employers and help us land our dream jobs.

I am currently living out my second summer of law school. Last summer I was lucky enough to get a paid internship with a law firm. It was a great experience. I learned a lot about trial preparation and I honed my legal writing skills. This summer is a little different for me though. Due to family issues, I had to take last semester off so I am a little off track with my credit hours. So this summer, I am taking summer courses.

Summer courses are a little different than regular ones in that they are condensed and require a lot more work on a daily basis. With that in mind, I decided that it would be in my best interest not to take a normal job, which would require all of my attention. I worried, however, that this lack of a job might hurt my future job opportunities. I feel that the more experience that I have, the better I will look to an employer.

A friend of mine asked me if I had ever considered an externship. I had not and even cringed at the idea of paying to work. Then I began to think a little more about it. For starters, I would be able to gain a couple of more credit hours that I lost over the semester. More importantly though, I would be able to gain the experience that I though I was going to miss this summer. After considering this information, I decided to take the plunge and go for it.

The externship that I currently have is a perfect fit for me. I only have to go in twice a week for a few hours at a time, and the workload is minimal. It provides me with the flexibility I need to spend the appropriate amount of time on my studies. More importantly, I am gaining invaluable experience, I am in charge of projects and cases, I am building relationships, and I am building my resume.

My advice to you is that it does not matter what type of work you do over the summer. Whether paid or unpaid, as long as it’s within the field of law, it is worth doing. Future employers will look at your resume and will want to know that you have experience in the field, and know that you are not just coming in blindly. If you aren’t able to land the high paying internship over the summer, remember, what matters is that you do something. Porch swings, swimming pools and iced tea are for the days off now, not for the summer breaks long since gone.

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