Unpaid Internships (not for credit) worth it?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 314011
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Unpaid Internships (not for credit) worth it?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:29 pm

There seems to be a lot of offers out there for upaid not for credit internships.

Is it worth taking time off studies to do these?

I notice many are directed towards 1L's (when workload is the hardest for most)

I think it may be a good idea in 2L to add to the resume for the summer internships(for credit) in the summer.

Other than that, I'd say not worth ones time.

Any thoughts from others on it?


Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:47 pm

Re: Unpaid Internships (not for credit) worth it?

Postby Flanker1067 » Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:31 pm

(Apply common sense here)

If it's somewhere that you would like to work and is otherwise obtainable, then it is probably worth because you will meet people and make connections.

If it's completely unrelated to what you want to do, then it's probably a waste of time and effort.

Fill in the spectrum.

User avatar

Posts: 2251
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:10 pm

Re: Unpaid Internships (not for credit) worth it?

Postby BarbellDreams » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:03 pm

Don't work or intern anywhere during 1L, grades matter the most.

Work and intern everywhere during 2L/3L. Grades don't matter anymore.

User avatar

Posts: 3464
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: Unpaid Internships (not for credit) worth it?

Postby cinephile » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:24 pm

I liked being an unpaid/non-credit intern. They let me set my own hours and it was relaxed since I was just volunteering. So when I needed to work on my brief, they were understanding and I didn't have to come in.

User avatar

Posts: 477
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:00 pm

Re: Unpaid Internships (not for credit) worth it?

Postby shepdawg » Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:08 pm

Did one my 1L summer, and it was not worth it. Tons of work and no reward. Firms/solos not willing to pay you for your work are also the types too busy/lazy to help you with networking and career building. If you do take an unpaid job, tell them you'll only do substantive work.

Anonymous User
Posts: 314011
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Unpaid Internships (not for credit) worth it?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 07, 2012 1:57 am

Shepdawg is completely incorrect about unpaid SUMMER jobs. Any legal work you can put on your resume is better than showing up at OCI and having to explain why there's nothing there and you have nothing to talk about.

I agree with everyone above about 1L. I'd be skeptical of these employers that you can not get credit for (unless it's actually your decision not to pay absurd tuition to do free work, which is what most schools do) because most schools give at least pass/fail credit for at least one internship if the employer will have you doing substantive work.

It is definitely worth it to do unpaid internships during 2L and 3L years. I interned at one place for two semesters, the second without class credit because I liked it so much, and I might end up there permanently (there are some contingencies, but they have made it clear that they want to hire me, which is cool because I did not go into it thinking I might get an offer out of it... I just like the work). At the very least, depending on the people and how long you're there, you build up your professional network and gain recommenders and references for future job hunts and clerkship applications. It also opened my eyes to a practice area that I now want to specialize in but had not even really considered before.

I strongly suggest trying to find a place you could work for more than just one semester. They can't really get to know you in a couple months, but they will know you very well by 6-12 months.


Posts: 1159
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:21 pm

Re: Unpaid Internships (not for credit) worth it?

Postby LawIdiot86 » Mon May 07, 2012 9:53 am

I agree with the idea of no internships during 1L and then as many as possible after 1L. Sometimes unpaid internships are actually superior to paid work if the unpaid internship is a better signal of quality then the paid work (think DOJ v. small law). I have at least 3 friends who had paid 1L summer positions with "weird" places and got hosed at OCI by people who did name brand unpaid work. I also had more than a few firms comment on how impressive it was to do non-credit unpaid internships while carrying a full courseload. You get next to nothing out of the credits and you could be getting more GPA enhancing hours or interesting course titles on your transcript.

Return to ‚ÄúLegal Employment‚Ä?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.