Internship pros and cons

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MAHamlin
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:58 am

Internship pros and cons

Postby MAHamlin » Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:18 am

Good morning all! I've recently been given the opportunity to intern for the Indiana State House of Representatives during the 2011 session. It's a fairly competitive internship and seems universally perceived as a fairly high quality internship with excellent experience opportunities. I was told by several I questioned that I would not simply be relegated to the status of file stuffer and paper copier.

So what's the downside? Well, I'm 28 with a wife, daughter, and full-time job. Although the internship is paid, it pays well under half my current salary and is temporary in nature (Jan-Apr 2011). I currently work for the Section 8 program for Indianapolis, so I am involved in government as it is. I work as a member of what we call our "Task Force", which is primarily responsible for trouble shooting problem areas in our program and picking up the slack of departments that are falling behind. Although I had fully expected to quit working if I am accepted to law school, I had hoped to work throughout my undergraduate schooling in an effort to minimize student loans. I am currently wrapping up my Sophemore year so I still have, at a minimum, two years until I finish my undergraduates degree. I understand there is a possibility that I could make excellent contacts through the internship and find new employment after the fact, but my question is (after this long-winded wind-up): Is it worth it?

Would having this internship on my application to Law Schools increase my chances of acceptance over continuing my work experience with the Indianapolis Housing Agency? I am hoping to be accepted into a T-14 school, with my eye specifically on Columbia or Chicago.

For what it's worth, and if it matters, I currently attend Indiana University-Indianapolis and have been maintaining a GPA in excess of 4.0 as would be calculated for law school admission. I have not taken the LSAT as of yet, so I cannot answer to that as of now.

So what do you think? Take the plunge and go for it, or stay conservative and stick with my current position? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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birD
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Re: Internship pros and cons

Postby birD » Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:33 am

I definitely don't think it's worth it. Law schools don't see internships as a huge deal at all. You should continue to keep working your job that pays better to support your family. If you really want to get into a T 14 start studying for the LSAT now to guarantee that your numbers will be good enough to get you into where ever you want to go.

krad
Posts: 1897
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:33 am

Re: Internship pros and cons

Postby krad » Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:06 am

I'd keep the current position as well. I don't think the internship will make a big enough difference on applications to make it worth sacrificing a higher-paying job, especially while you're finishing up your undergrad and supporting the fam. Minimizing UG loans before law school is a good idea... Most of the law school application is about #'s anyways. Study study study, get a strong LSAT, and you should have a good chance if you maintain that 4.0! Good luck!

jarofsoup
Posts: 1951
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Re: Internship pros and cons

Postby jarofsoup » Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:33 am

I do not agree with the rest of these responses. The internship that you are being offered is an amazing opportunity, and T14 schools do not just look at LSAT and GPA.


The facts are that people with perfect GPAs and LSATs get rejected from the top schools because they fail to display themselves as dynamic people. When you are pulling applicants with the best numbers you reject applicants with the best numbers.

However, I think this is more of a personal issue with you, and that you need to decide this on your own.

Can you support your family and take this internship?

I read an interview with Dean Plessy from University of Illinois School of Law and he said they reject students sometimes simply because they are boring regardless of their numbers

I think it could help your application in that it would give you good material for a personal statement and an opportunity to milk your resume.

However, your job does not look that bad. Would you be taking on more responsibilities at this internship than you currently have at your job?

MAHamlin
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:58 am

Re: Internship pros and cons

Postby MAHamlin » Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:07 pm

As far as supporting the family goes, my wife does work and with her income combined with even the reduced salary of the internship we will be able to get by. It will be tight, but thankfully our bills are relatively manageable (e.g., $455 mortgage payment, only one car payment at less than $200/month, no credit card or miscellaneous other debts, etc). I would have to find employment after the internship in order to keep us floating as we couldn't get by without any income on my behalf without dipping into student loans, but it wouldn't even have to be an incredible job.

As far as responsibilities go, they would certainly be different responsibilities, but I'm not sure if they would be more or less overall. Currently I spend the majority of my day doing quality control on client files, meeting with clients in order to recertify or determine their eligibility for the program, and processing the paperwork associated with those recertifications or other changes in family households. I also spend a good deal of time drafting and reworking letters and documents to be used agency-wide and with the public. Finally, as part of the task force, we are also responsible for drafting proposals on how new policies or procedures could be implemented in order to improve overall efficiency and/or public perception of the program.

The internship description is as follows:
The Indiana House Democratic Internship Program provides great opportunities for college students and recent college graduates who want to gain valuable professional experience in a high–profile position as a valued member of the Indiana General Assembly's legislative session staff.

From early January through April of 2011, our interns will work closely with legislators, state officials and others directly responsible for developing state governmental policies through the legislative process.

The Indiana House Democratic Internship Program emphasizes the value of firsthand experience by giving interns significant responsibilities for a wide range of duties within the realm of legislative session activity.

Successful internship applicants will exhibit strong writing, research and communication skills. Although a strong interest in the legislative process is presumed, past interns have come from a exhaustive variety of academic backgrounds, including journalism, history, pre–law, journalism, English, political science and many others.

Applicants must be students or recent graduates who are either Indiana residents or attending school in Indiana. Academic credit is typically earned by interns who make the appropriate arrangements with their schools.

Legislative interns in all four caucuses of both the Senate and the House of Representatives will earn at least $350 per week.

The professional and social contacts made possible by serving as a legislative intern can generate both career and academic opportunities for the future.
(This is directly quoted from --LinkRemoved--)

The position I have been selected for is in the Legislative/Constituent Services field, which bears the responsibilities of "assist[ing] legislators in meeting legislative and constituent research responsibilities such as reporting legislative committee activity; organizing legislators' daily activities; and writing constituent letters, position papers or bill summaries."

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FlightoftheEarls
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Re: Internship pros and cons

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:21 pm

jarofsoup wrote:I do not agree with the rest of these responses. The internship that you are being offered is an amazing opportunity, and T14 schools do not just look at LSAT and GPA.

The facts are that people with perfect GPAs and LSATs get rejected from the top schools because they fail to display themselves as dynamic people. When you are pulling applicants with the best numbers you reject applicants with the best numbers.

Ignore all of this. One single point increase on the LSAT will help you significantly more than an internship with a particular state's legislative branch if you already have several years of WE. Especially when the internship is one that is targeted at college students and recent graduates. Seriously, don't do this. Keep your real job, work on the LSAT, and with your solid numbers you should be fine for Columbia (and HLS with a 173). Solid work experience does NOT need to be legal in nature, and this internship most certainly won't be. You might do some research, but it is extremely unlikely that it will be any real legal work. If anything, you should be saving your money from your real job to make law school more affordable.

jarofsoup
Posts: 1951
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:41 am

Re: Internship pros and cons

Postby jarofsoup » Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:14 pm

FlightoftheEarls wrote:
jarofsoup wrote:I do not agree with the rest of these responses. The internship that you are being offered is an amazing opportunity, and T14 schools do not just look at LSAT and GPA.

The facts are that people with perfect GPAs and LSATs get rejected from the top schools because they fail to display themselves as dynamic people. When you are pulling applicants with the best numbers you reject applicants with the best numbers.

Ignore all of this. One single point increase on the LSAT will help you significantly more than an internship with a particular state's legislative branch if you already have several years of WE. Especially when the internship is one that is targeted at college students and recent graduates. Seriously, don't do this. Keep your real job, work on the LSAT, and with your solid numbers you should be fine for Columbia (and HLS with a 173). Solid work experience does NOT need to be legal in nature, and this internship most certainly won't be. You might do some research, but it is extremely unlikely that it will be any real legal work. If anything, you should be saving your money from your real job to make law school more affordable.


After reading the job description I agree some what. It is only from Jan- April kind of short. Then you would have to find a job after that.

Still seems like it could be interesting. Especially if politics is something you want to get into. I would have taken it when I was in college, but I did not have a wife or a kid or a job when I was a sophmore.

Best of luck.




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