Legal Jobs/Internships During Undergrad

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carsonmalbrough

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Legal Jobs/Internships During Undergrad

Postby carsonmalbrough » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:25 am

Hey all,
I'm currently a junior at a small liberal arts college in California and wanted to know of any advice/tips about ways to break into the legal field during undergrad. I've previously interned in my Senator's office, did some community organizing this past summer, I'm currently doing a program with my school where I'm working as a field organizer for a gubernatorial campaign and I plan to study abroad next semester. In addition, I'm a staff writer for my school's newspaper, I've served on a committee that was a branch of our student government and lastly, I played two years of college football. All of my experience so far has been great and I'm grateful for it but I really want to do something that will better prepare me for a career as a lawyer and strengthen my law school application. If anyone has advice on some good internships or legal assistant jobs that they know of for undergrads, that would be really helpful. I previously applied for a couple internships in the DOJ this past summer but was not accepted for any. I'm not discouraged from applying again in the summer of 2017 (I plan on it) but I'd like to expand my horizons. For context, I'm considering business law or civil rights. Thanks in advance!

tk421991

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Re: Legal Jobs/Internships During Undergrad

Postby tk421991 » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:39 am

Have you tried the local district attorney? I did an internship through my (then) state's Government Internship Program and they connected me to the Attorney General's office, since that state doesn't have DA's.

Working in a prosecutor's office will put you in a sort of medium sized law firm and you'll get to see how state employees work (that's a joke for you non-New Englanders).

carsonmalbrough

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Re: Legal Jobs/Internships During Undergrad

Postby carsonmalbrough » Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:32 am

tk421991 wrote:Have you tried the local district attorney? I did an internship through my (then) state's Government Internship Program and they connected me to the Attorney General's office, since that state doesn't have DA's.

Working in a prosecutor's office will put you in a sort of medium sized law firm and you'll get to see how state employees work (that's a joke for you non-New Englanders).


Hey, I actually haven't tried the DA's office yet but I'll look into it for sure. What did your internship consist of with the AG? Was it menial work or actually valuable?

tk421991

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Re: Legal Jobs/Internships During Undergrad

Postby tk421991 » Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:35 am

carsonmalbrough wrote:Hey, I actually haven't tried the DA's office yet but I'll look into it for sure. What did your internship consist of with the AG? Was it menial work or actually valuable?


I found it enjoyable myself. Granted I was working with some old computers and tech, but I found it interesting. I was majoring in Paralegal Studies so it basically showed me what a paralegal, a prosecutor and a legal secretary did. Also got to work with the archives ladies and the security people. I interviewed the Deputy AG also for a paper I was writing on concealed carry laws in that state. It was very productive for me.

That being said, you would want to keep an attitude of "do everything they ask of you." I was told by the archives ladies "you're different, all the law school interns never want to work!"

If they like you and you put in a solid effort every day, they will ask you to come back for another semester.

carsonmalbrough

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Re: Legal Jobs/Internships During Undergrad

Postby carsonmalbrough » Wed Sep 28, 2016 2:11 pm

tk421991 wrote:
carsonmalbrough wrote:Hey, I actually haven't tried the DA's office yet but I'll look into it for sure. What did your internship consist of with the AG? Was it menial work or actually valuable?


I found it enjoyable myself. Granted I was working with some old computers and tech, but I found it interesting. I was majoring in Paralegal Studies so it basically showed me what a paralegal, a prosecutor and a legal secretary did. Also got to work with the archives ladies and the security people. I interviewed the Deputy AG also for a paper I was writing on concealed carry laws in that state. It was very productive for me.

That being said, you would want to keep an attitude of "do everything they ask of you." I was told by the archives ladies "you're different, all the law school interns never want to work!"

If they like you and you put in a solid effort every day, they will ask you to come back for another semester.
tk421991 wrote:
carsonmalbrough wrote:Hey, I actually haven't tried the DA's office yet but I'll look into it for sure. What did your internship consist of with the AG? Was it menial work or actually valuable?


I found it enjoyable myself. Granted I was working with some old computers and tech, but I found it interesting. I was majoring in Paralegal Studies so it basically showed me what a paralegal, a prosecutor and a legal secretary did. Also got to work with the archives ladies and the security people. I interviewed the Deputy AG also for a paper I was writing on concealed carry laws in that state. It was very productive for me.

That being said, you would want to keep an attitude of "do everything they ask of you." I was told by the archives ladies "you're different, all the law school interns never want to work!"

If they like you and you put in a solid effort every day, they will ask you to come back for another semester.


That sounds like a good experience, I'll be sure to look into my local DA or maybe even my state's AG. I think it's valuable that you were able to interact and work with such a wide variety of people during your time there.

I'll keep a positive outlook. Thanks!

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RamTitan

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Re: Legal Jobs/Internships During Undergrad

Postby RamTitan » Wed Sep 28, 2016 2:43 pm

Public Defender's office, state's attorney, etc. for your county would probably be pretty easy to get an unpaid internship with; they're always looking for help

carsonmalbrough

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Re: Legal Jobs/Internships During Undergrad

Postby carsonmalbrough » Wed Sep 28, 2016 2:59 pm

RamTitan wrote:Public Defender's office, state's attorney, etc. for your county would probably be pretty easy to get an unpaid internship with; they're always looking for help


I'm more interested in prosecution side work but I'll keep an open mind. Thanks

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RamTitan

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Re: Legal Jobs/Internships During Undergrad

Postby RamTitan » Wed Sep 28, 2016 4:06 pm

carsonmalbrough wrote:
RamTitan wrote:Public Defender's office, state's attorney, etc. for your county would probably be pretty easy to get an unpaid internship with; they're always looking for help


I'm more interested in prosecution side work but I'll keep an open mind. Thanks

State's Attorney still works then

carsonmalbrough

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Re: Legal Jobs/Internships During Undergrad

Postby carsonmalbrough » Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:13 pm

RamTitan wrote:
carsonmalbrough wrote:
RamTitan wrote:Public Defender's office, state's attorney, etc. for your county would probably be pretty easy to get an unpaid internship with; they're always looking for help


I'm more interested in prosecution side work but I'll keep an open mind. Thanks

State's Attorney still works then


State's attorney is same as AG right?

carsonmalbrough

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Re: Legal Jobs/Internships During Undergrad

Postby carsonmalbrough » Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:23 pm

Also,

How important is it that I get some law firm work in prior to undergrad?

I'd be happy to intern/work in my AG/DA's office but would law schools prefer that I spend my summers in a firm or would either be fine?

carsonmalbrough

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Re: Legal Jobs/Internships During Undergrad

Postby carsonmalbrough » Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:24 pm

Also,

How important is it that I get some law firm work in during undergrad?

I'd be happy to intern/work in my AG/DA's office but would law schools prefer that I spend my summers in a firm or would either be fine?

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RamTitan

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Re: Legal Jobs/Internships During Undergrad

Postby RamTitan » Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:24 pm

carsonmalbrough wrote:
RamTitan wrote:
carsonmalbrough wrote:
RamTitan wrote:Public Defender's office, state's attorney, etc. for your county would probably be pretty easy to get an unpaid internship with; they're always looking for help


I'm more interested in prosecution side work but I'll keep an open mind. Thanks

State's Attorney still works then


State's attorney is same as AG right?

Yup

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RamTitan

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Re: Legal Jobs/Internships During Undergrad

Postby RamTitan » Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:25 pm

carsonmalbrough wrote:Also,

How important is it that I get some law firm work in during undergrad?

I'd be happy to intern/work in my AG/DA's office but would law schools prefer that I spend my summers in a firm or would either be fine?

Does not matter in the slightest. Admissions is almost entirely centered around LSAT and GPA

carsonmalbrough

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Re: Legal Jobs/Internships During Undergrad

Postby carsonmalbrough » Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:26 pm

RamTitan wrote:
carsonmalbrough wrote:Also,

How important is it that I get some law firm work in during undergrad?

I'd be happy to intern/work in my AG/DA's office but would law schools prefer that I spend my summers in a firm or would either be fine?

Does not matter in the slightest. Admissions is almost entirely centered around LSAT and GPA


Perfect, I'll keep that in mind. Thanks man!

tk421991

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Re: Legal Jobs/Internships During Undergrad

Postby tk421991 » Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:49 pm

Just to be clear, I did not work at a small DA's office in case that's what you're thinking of.

Rhode Island has five branches of the Attorney General's Office. The main one is on 150 South Main Street in Providence. That one was the one I worked at. It coincidentally was the closest branch of the AG's Office and physically housed the Attorney General of Rhode Island - I met him. If I had lived in Newport, I would've been working at the Newport branch and I would not have had the opportunity to meet so many people.

Massachusetts has a better example of how things work in most states:

Mass AG (elected office in Boston)
District Attorney for each county (i.e. Bristol County District Attorney, Worcester County District Attorney)

The Mass AG is superior to the District Attorney.

It probably won't matter though because some counties in California are bigger and more populous than all of Rhode Island or Massachusetts combined.

carsonmalbrough

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Re: Legal Jobs/Internships During Undergrad

Postby carsonmalbrough » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:49 am

tk421991 wrote:Just to be clear, I did not work at a small DA's office in case that's what you're thinking of.

Rhode Island has five branches of the Attorney General's Office. The main one is on 150 South Main Street in Providence. That one was the one I worked at. It coincidentally was the closest branch of the AG's Office and physically housed the Attorney General of Rhode Island - I met him. If I had lived in Newport, I would've been working at the Newport branch and I would not have had the opportunity to meet so many people.

Massachusetts has a better example of how things work in most states:

Mass AG (elected office in Boston)
District Attorney for each county (i.e. Bristol County District Attorney, Worcester County District Attorney)

The Mass AG is superior to the District Attorney.

It probably won't matter though because some counties in California are bigger and more populous than all of Rhode Island or Massachusetts combined.


That's an interesting set up but it makes sense for the size of the state. CA's AG is an elected position just like in Massachusetts and the breakdown of power is the same as well. There's a DA for LA County, San Diego County, Orange County, etc. with the AG having jurisdiction over the whole state obviously and the DA's being over their respective counties. I was born and raised in LA so I'll definitely try for my local DA's office but I'm open to spending a summer in NorCal working for the AG. I guess we'll see.



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