Legal Internships in Undergrad

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cc.celina
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Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby cc.celina » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:30 pm

Hey guys! Just wanted a little bit of advice for my situation. I'm a rising junior in undergrad, and w/ my numbers I have a good shot at my target schools if I keep my GPA exactly where it is now. I have a lot of course requirements to finish before I graduate, so unless I want to empty my pockets for summer classes, I have to either take a moderately heavy courseload every semester till I finish, or take a normal courseload junior year and a really heavy one (as in doable, but extremely stressful and damaging to what remains of my social life) in senior year.

My question is, will there be any great benefit to putting off some courses till senior year and doing a legal internship part-time during junior year? Not talking about for admissions purposes - I believe the general wisdom that unoriginal softs like this don't matter in your app. But in life - I'm probably going straight from UG to LS, mayyybe doing TFA in between, but not planning on getting any real WE. I'm interested in PI-type stuff, and it would be great if an internship like this could introduce me to the field and give me a good idea of how much I'd enjoy working in it. But I know that interns usually get stuck doing menial things, especially when they're 0Ls, and sometimes don't get any meaningful experience that would inform them whether it's a good career choice.

TL;DR:
- Is a legal internship as an undergrad (with legal aid society, DA's office, etc) a good way to figure out what kind of law you'd actually be interested in practicing?
- Will law schools I'm eventually accepted to rescind admission/lower scholarship offers/generally shit on me if I bomb a couple classes senior year?

TYIA. Anecdotes are appreciated :mrgreen:

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TTTehehe
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby TTTehehe » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:35 pm

cc.celina wrote:Hey guys! Just wanted a little bit of advice for my situation. I'm a rising junior in undergrad, and w/ my numbers I have a good shot at my target schools if I keep my GPA exactly where it is now. I have a lot of course requirements to finish before I graduate, so unless I want to empty my pockets for summer classes, I have to either take a moderately heavy courseload every semester till I finish, or take a normal courseload junior year and a really heavy one (as in doable, but extremely stressful and damaging to what remains of my social life) in senior year.

My question is, will there be any great benefit to putting off some courses till senior year and doing a legal internship part-time during junior year? Not talking about for admissions purposes - I believe the general wisdom that unoriginal softs like this don't matter in your app. But in life - I'm probably going straight from UG to LS, mayyybe doing TFA in between, but not planning on getting any real WE. I'm interested in PI-type stuff, and it would be great if an internship like this could introduce me to the field and give me a good idea of how much I'd enjoy working in it. But I know that interns usually get stuck doing menial things, especially when they're 0Ls, and sometimes don't get any meaningful experience that would inform them whether it's a good career choice.

TL;DR:
- Is a legal internship as an undergrad (with legal aid society, DA's office, etc) a good way to figure out what kind of law you'd actually be interested in practicing?
- Will law schools I'm eventually accepted to rescind admission/lower scholarship offers/generally shit on me if I bomb a couple classes senior year?

TYIA. Anecdotes are appreciated :mrgreen:


Smartest question I've read in a while. Definitely do an internship if you can. You may learn that you're interested in x type of law vs. y type of law. You may even learn that you don't want to go to law school!

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2014
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby 2014 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:37 pm

Working as an intern at any of the places you mentioned or a law firm is a really good way to dabble in the day to day practice of law and to see whether it is something you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life. It won't provide any meaningful boost to your application package (although it might make a nice PS topic), but it seems like you are going into it for the right reason.

As for your grades, it would take a pretty bad tank to lose your offer. If you grades drop at all though, do your school the favor of not sending an updated transcript to LSAC, just send your final transcript to the school to prove you graduated. No reason to sabotage their USNWR stats and give them reason to be angry. It depends on what your GPA is obviously, but if you end up with B's your final semester it is no big deal.

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cc.celina
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby cc.celina » Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:10 pm

Thanks for answering, guys.

2014 wrote:As for your grades, it would take a pretty bad tank to lose your offer. If you grades drop at all though, do your school the favor of not sending an updated transcript to LSAC, just send your final transcript to the school to prove you graduated. No reason to sabotage their USNWR stats and give them reason to be angry. It depends on what your GPA is obviously, but if you end up with B's your final semester it is no big deal.

So they get to report the GPA I had when I was accepted, not the GPA I had when I graduated?! That makes the decision look a lot easier.

Still wondering if anyone has had any personal experience as a 0L in an legal internship? Do you generally actually get to do anything close to what you'd be doing as a lawyer/at least closely observe lawyers doin their thang? Or is it mostly filing and doing other stuff that I could be doing at any internship?

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thewaterlanding
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby thewaterlanding » Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:23 pm

I'm a 0L and I work as an intern at a Estate Planning and Trust firm in Dallas. I've gotten to do some things I'd be doing as a lawyer. You more observe the lawyers "doin their thang." You will also do a lot of filing, but if you are open about what you want to do for them or the experience you want to take from working for them they are more open to giving you things to do to either understand your interest in that particular field. I've gotten to draft letters to clients, write some memos to attorneys, reviewed documents, etc. It's honestly entirely up to whoever you are employed by on how much you'll actually get to do. Be open and willing to do anything and you will get to some of the things you would get to experience as an attorney. HTH

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cc.celina
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby cc.celina » Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:26 pm

Thanks! That's reassuring. Looks like I should start applying :D

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2014
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby 2014 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:30 pm

cc.celina wrote:
2014 wrote:As for your grades, it would take a pretty bad tank to lose your offer. If you grades drop at all though, do your school the favor of not sending an updated transcript to LSAC, just send your final transcript to the school to prove you graduated. No reason to sabotage their USNWR stats and give them reason to be angry. It depends on what your GPA is obviously, but if you end up with B's your final semester it is no big deal.

So they get to report the GPA I had when I was accepted, not the GPA I had when I graduated?! That makes the decision look a lot easier.

They have to report the LSDAS GPA, and you are only obligated to send LSAC your transcript once. You can never hide your grades from them as they need to see your final transcript anyway, but at least you are helping them pad their USNWR numbers.

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axel.foley
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby axel.foley » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:34 pm

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Last edited by axel.foley on Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

westie25
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby westie25 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:43 pm

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Last edited by westie25 on Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sergiokun16
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby sergiokun16 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:00 am

I've had two legal internships and a legal fellowship, and I'll be a senior in undergrad this fall. I worked for a family court judge, which was a great experience. Very eye-opening, got to do a wide range of tasks like summarize case files for him so that when the parties entered the court he could just look at my one page summary rather than fumble around with the whole file trying to figure out what he was looking at. **Also got my feet wet with WestLaw** definitely try to find something that will have you doing a little research. Knowing your way around West before law school is HUGE.

I worked for a local attorney (still do when I'm home). He practices criminal and family law mostly, so I've had a great opportunity following him around, sitting in on conferences with clients, and observing him in court. Many local attorneys will be willing to let you follow them even for just a few days (albeit unpaid haha), but it's the experience you should be after at this point, the big bucks come later (hopefully).

Now I'm a Summer Legal Fellow at American University Washington College of Law. This is a unique program that my undergrad, Siena College, offers. I can't recommend it to you because it's only a Siena program haha. But it's been great, I've done legal research, experienced Washington for a summer, and earned letters of rec as well as quality writing samples for applications in the future.

Bottom line, internships matter. I'm an ECON major, and for my econometrics class I ran a regression analyzing the correlation between undergrad GPA and starting salaries. There is A 0% CORRELATION, based on 5 years of Siena grads (thousands of students, great sample size). The ONLY stat that showed any correlation, was internships. If you've had at least one internship, you will earn more money in your career, period.

Hope this helped man, good luck!

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Chucky21
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby Chucky21 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:55 pm

sergiokun16 wrote:I've had two legal internships and a legal fellowship, and I'll be a senior in undergrad this fall. I worked for a family court judge, which was a great experience. Very eye-opening, got to do a wide range of tasks like summarize case files for him so that when the parties entered the court he could just look at my one page summary rather than fumble around with the whole file trying to figure out what he was looking at. **Also got my feet wet with WestLaw** definitely try to find something that will have you doing a little research. Knowing your way around West before law school is HUGE.

I worked for a local attorney (still do when I'm home). He practices criminal and family law mostly, so I've had a great opportunity following him around, sitting in on conferences with clients, and observing him in court. Many local attorneys will be willing to let you follow them even for just a few days (albeit unpaid haha), but it's the experience you should be after at this point, the big bucks come later (hopefully).

Now I'm a Summer Legal Fellow at American University Washington College of Law. This is a unique program that my undergrad, Siena College, offers. I can't recommend it to you because it's only a Siena program haha. But it's been great, I've done legal research, experienced Washington for a summer, and earned letters of rec as well as quality writing samples for applications in the future.

Bottom line, internships matter. I'm an ECON major, and for my econometrics class I ran a regression analyzing the correlation between undergrad GPA and starting salaries. There is A 0% CORRELATION, based on 5 years of Siena grads (thousands of students, great sample size). The ONLY stat that showed any correlation, was internships. If you've had at least one internship, you will earn more money in your career, period.

Hope this helped man, good luck!


Some internships, especially the selective ones you want, select interns based on GPA.

apollo2015
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby apollo2015 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:10 am

sergiokun16 wrote:Bottom line, internships matter. I'm an ECON major, and for my econometrics class I ran a regression analyzing the correlation between undergrad GPA and starting salaries. There is A 0% CORRELATION, based on 5 years of Siena grads (thousands of students, great sample size). The ONLY stat that showed any correlation, was internships. If you've had at least one internship, you will are likely to earn more money in your career, period.


There's probably a more statistically optimal way of phrasing that sentence, but this correction will do until a Statistics major rolls through this thread.

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cinephile
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby cinephile » Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:12 am

Chucky21 wrote:
sergiokun16 wrote:I've had two legal internships and a legal fellowship, and I'll be a senior in undergrad this fall. I worked for a family court judge, which was a great experience. Very eye-opening, got to do a wide range of tasks like summarize case files for him so that when the parties entered the court he could just look at my one page summary rather than fumble around with the whole file trying to figure out what he was looking at. **Also got my feet wet with WestLaw** definitely try to find something that will have you doing a little research. Knowing your way around West before law school is HUGE.

I worked for a local attorney (still do when I'm home). He practices criminal and family law mostly, so I've had a great opportunity following him around, sitting in on conferences with clients, and observing him in court. Many local attorneys will be willing to let you follow them even for just a few days (albeit unpaid haha), but it's the experience you should be after at this point, the big bucks come later (hopefully).

Now I'm a Summer Legal Fellow at American University Washington College of Law. This is a unique program that my undergrad, Siena College, offers. I can't recommend it to you because it's only a Siena program haha. But it's been great, I've done legal research, experienced Washington for a summer, and earned letters of rec as well as quality writing samples for applications in the future.

Bottom line, internships matter. I'm an ECON major, and for my econometrics class I ran a regression analyzing the correlation between undergrad GPA and starting salaries. There is A 0% CORRELATION, based on 5 years of Siena grads (thousands of students, great sample size). The ONLY stat that showed any correlation, was internships. If you've had at least one internship, you will earn more money in your career, period.

Hope this helped man, good luck!


Some internships, especially the selective ones you want, select interns based on GPA.


Also, isn't it just measuring who's a go-getter, self-confident, motivated, etc. enough to apply in the first place?

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cc.celina
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby cc.celina » Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:19 am

I'm a bit skeptical that getting an internship will automatically land me a higher-paying job for reasons pointed out by chucky and cinephile (also, I'm just not interested in that as an end goal). But familiarity with Westlaw would definitely be a plus! Thanks for the advice.

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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby sn20 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:28 am

Also, did you control for majors? A mechE with a 3.5 can make $70k starting out while non-engineering majors would have to go into consulting or banking to have a starting salary that high out of college (with a GPA well north of 3.5).

In regard to the OP, one thing you should remember about senior year grades is that the first semester may still be important if you haven't been accepted to your top choice in the fall. Ex: Columbia requested fall grades from several TLSers in January. 2nd semester really doesn't matter unless you fail terribly or are on waitlists.

cinephile wrote:
Chucky21 wrote:
sergiokun16 wrote:I've had two legal internships and a legal fellowship, and I'll be a senior in undergrad this fall. I worked for a family court judge, which was a great experience. Very eye-opening, got to do a wide range of tasks like summarize case files for him so that when the parties entered the court he could just look at my one page summary rather than fumble around with the whole file trying to figure out what he was looking at. **Also got my feet wet with WestLaw** definitely try to find something that will have you doing a little research. Knowing your way around West before law school is HUGE.

I worked for a local attorney (still do when I'm home). He practices criminal and family law mostly, so I've had a great opportunity following him around, sitting in on conferences with clients, and observing him in court. Many local attorneys will be willing to let you follow them even for just a few days (albeit unpaid haha), but it's the experience you should be after at this point, the big bucks come later (hopefully).

Now I'm a Summer Legal Fellow at American University Washington College of Law. This is a unique program that my undergrad, Siena College, offers. I can't recommend it to you because it's only a Siena program haha. But it's been great, I've done legal research, experienced Washington for a summer, and earned letters of rec as well as quality writing samples for applications in the future.

Bottom line, internships matter. I'm an ECON major, and for my econometrics class I ran a regression analyzing the correlation between undergrad GPA and starting salaries. There is A 0% CORRELATION, based on 5 years of Siena grads (thousands of students, great sample size). The ONLY stat that showed any correlation, was internships. If you've had at least one internship, you will earn more money in your career, period.

Hope this helped man, good luck!


Some internships, especially the selective ones you want, select interns based on GPA.


Also, isn't it just measuring who's a go-getter, self-confident, motivated, etc. enough to apply in the first place?

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cc.celina
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby cc.celina » Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:31 am

sn20 wrote:In regard to the OP, one thing you should remember about senior year grades is that the first semester may still be important if you haven't been accepted to your top choice in the fall. Ex: Columbia requested fall grades from several TLSers in January. 2nd semester really doesn't matter unless you fail terribly or are on waitlists.

I've heard this, but I also heard that you only need to send the school your updated transcript, not LSAC, therefore not affecting your LSDAS GPA or the school's GPA rankings. Is that true? Does it still matter?

I mean, I understand that if I tank a class that will look really bad, but if I get a B- or something, it will bring my GPA down below median at some schools where I'm currently right at the median.

sergiokun16
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby sergiokun16 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:46 am

apollo2015 wrote:
sergiokun16 wrote:Bottom line, internships matter. I'm an ECON major, and for my econometrics class I ran a regression analyzing the correlation between undergrad GPA and starting salaries. There is A 0% CORRELATION, based on 5 years of Siena grads (thousands of students, great sample size). The ONLY stat that showed any correlation, was internships. If you've had at least one internship, you will are likely to earn more money in your career, period.


There's probably a more statistically optimal way of phrasing that sentence, but this correction will do until a Statistics major rolls through this thread.


Thanks for the correction, you are right. The point, though, is that internships are a big deal, and other benefits come along besides higher pay. Not that I ran these in my model, but one can safely assume that the deeper one's resume is, the better....unless you type it into 5 pages...no admissions committee will read that lol.

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sn20
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby sn20 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:46 am

cc.celina wrote:
sn20 wrote:In regard to the OP, one thing you should remember about senior year grades is that the first semester may still be important if you haven't been accepted to your top choice in the fall. Ex: Columbia requested fall grades from several TLSers in January. 2nd semester really doesn't matter unless you fail terribly or are on waitlists.

I've heard this, but I also heard that you only need to send the school your updated transcript, not LSAC, therefore not affecting your LSDAS GPA or the school's GPA rankings. Is that true? Does it still matter?

I mean, I understand that if I tank a class that will look really bad, but if I get a B- or something, it will bring my GPA down below median at some schools where I'm currently right at the median.


The schools always requested that the transcript be sent directly to LSAC (at least for the ones that I applied to).

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cc.celina
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby cc.celina » Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 pm

sn20 wrote:
The schools always requested that the transcript be sent directly to LSAC (at least for the ones that I applied to).

Alright, thank you, that's definitely valuable information.

crossem
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby crossem » Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:22 am

The big issue with legal internships is that the best ones (USAO, judge, DA, whatever) are often extremely difficult to actually land. I had an amazing legal internship in UG only to realize that it would be impossible for me to ever land. I wish I would have interned at a small practice or something to give me a real sense of what I will actually (hopefully) be doing.

Tl;dr internships are often in dream careers, pick something meat an potatoes to see if you like it. We all can't be appellate lawyers.

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Br3v
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby Br3v » Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:25 am

Depending on your gpa, another option would be to take more classes now to raise it

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cc.celina
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Re: Legal Internships in Undergrad

Postby cc.celina » Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:03 pm

Thanks for the further input!

crossem wrote:The big issue with legal internships is that the best ones (USAO, judge, DA, whatever) are often extremely difficult to actually land. I had an amazing legal internship in UG only to realize that it would be impossible for me to ever land. I wish I would have interned at a small practice or something to give me a real sense of what I will actually (hopefully) be doing.

Tl;dr internships are often in dream careers, pick something meat an potatoes to see if you like it. We all can't be appellate lawyers.

I'm basically PI or bust, do you think I should still adopt this mentality? Will applying for internships at small firms give me a good enough idea of what I'll ideally be doing? And what would you consider a meat-an-potatoes PI internship? Thus far I've only applied to the NY legal aid society and I don't really know where else I should be applying.

Br3v wrote:Depending on your gpa, another option would be to take more classes now to raise it

Not really an option, I would love to take a bunch of classes because it's the only time in my life I get to bum around and learn about anything I want, but at this point I'm just trying to avoid tanking anything.




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