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Making the Most of Your Summer Internship

JD, Quinnipiac

So your first year of law school is complete and this means you can relax this summer, right? Wrong! As a law student, it is highly recommended that you use those coveted summer days to get some practical experience. Although this means less beach days and Netflix, it will pay major dividends in the long-run; employers desire law school graduates who can hit the ground running and are as close to “practice-ready” as possible. The summer after your first year will also give you the opportunity to test out different areas of law and develop your interests. That being said, here are some tips on how to maximize your first summer internship experience:

  1. Start the internship search early.

Each placement will start accepting applications at different times. For example, many large law firms start recruitment in the fall, whereas state government internships often review applications in the late winter. Consult your Career Services office for help in making connections and when to apply. The earlier you start, the more likely it will be that you get the perfect internship that’s right for you.

  1. Take a break!

Once you have secured that great internship, arrange a break between the end of finals and the start of work. It does you and your employer no good if you are burnt out; you’ll regret not having the extra time and your work product might suffer.

  1. Talk to your supervisor about the “end-game.”

What are your goals for the internship? Where are you now, and where would you like to be? How can you get there? Ask these questions and others as you and your supervisor actively develop a plan to expedite your development as a future lawyer.

  1. Frequently ask for feedback.

This one is particularly important. By constantly evaluating yourself and encouraging your supervisor to give feedback, you show your employer that you care about the job you are doing, and that you are proactively taking charge of your development. Don’t rest on your laurels and simply clock in and clock out every day; ask your supervisor how you can improve and how you can better help your employer. It often results in an impressed supervisor and a more quality experience at your placement.

  1. Review your resume with your supervisor.

At the end of the internship, review your summer with the supervisor and ensure that both of you are in agreement as to the contents of that entry on your resume. If you ever want to use that supervisor as a reference, it’s wise to make sure you both are on the same page about what you accomplished that summer.

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