When I was a 1L, I thought I would secure my summer internship over winter break. However, I quickly realized that was a bit of a pipe dream as I kept applying to opportunities and getting little response. I wasn’t too concerned until February rolled around, when I started to fear it wouldn’t happen for me. I was a hard-working student! I had good grades! What if I never got an internship?!
If you’re at this point in your 1L summer internship search, be sure to remember the following:
You Have Time
Although it may feel like all of your peers already have internships lined up, I can promise you that isn’t the case. I didn’t get my summer internship until around February or March, and I know plenty of people who didn’t lock one down until far later. Opportunities will keep opening up, even through finals, so you do have more time than you think.
There Are Resources Available to Help
If you’re only looking for internship opportunities on Sage, you’re unnecessarily limiting your options. If you have any connections, from law school or otherwise, don’t be afraid to reach out and see if they can offer a helping hand. One of my friends got a 1L summer internship through a professor who knew a judge who was looking for someone to intern for the summer. You never know what connection might prove to be useful, so don’t leave any stones unturned!
Also, if you’re applying to a lot of opportunities but not getting any interviews, it’s time to head to Career Services. They can help you tailor your resume and cover letter to the internships you’re really interested in, in order to make you stand out from the crowd.
You Should Apply to Internships Consistently
It can be hard to justify doing just about anything other than school work during your 1L spring, but you may want to dedicate some real time to your internship search during the next weeks and months. I blocked off a few hours every weekend in the spring to apply to internships that were posted to Sage, PSJD.org, or even Indeed. By diligently looking for new postings at least once a week, I could be sure I wasn’t missing any deadlines. Dedicating a few hours to this task also allowed me ample time to customize my application materials to each job. Finally, knowing that I had this time marked off on the weekend helped me avoid being distracted by the internship search during the week when I was instead focused on class work. If you can keep up with this schedule, it’s really a win-win.
You Can Expand Your Horizons
You’ve probably heard this before, but your 1L internship is mostly about getting your feet wet and gaining some legal skills or insight that you can speak to when applying for 2L internships. Even if you know exactly what type of law you want to practice after graduating and you’re hoping you’ll find a 1L internship in that practice area, don’t be afraid to look elsewhere. No matter what you end up doing for the summer, you’re bound to gain really useful practical experience that will apply to any legal field down the line. You’ll also gain personal connections that can prove to be invaluable as you begin navigating your post-graduate career. You shouldn’t feel pressured to apply to internships that you’re patently uninspired by, but you should apply to anything you think could be interesting for ten weeks, even if it’s not exactly what you’ll want to do forever.
Tess Halpern is a second-year student and vice-president of the Impact blog. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.