Summer Law Internship – 7 Tips to Succeed

1. Act Natural

The summer internship is a way for the law firm to see how you fit into the atmosphere and lifestyle of the firm. Of course, its an opportunity for you to learn something and for the firm to get some (cheap) labor, but at the end of the day, both parties are looking at establishing a long term relationship. That is: a job.

So act natural, relaxed. You might very well end up working at your summer internship firm after college, so acting ‘forced’  and ‘business like’ would go against you in the long term. Not only will it give a false impression to the law firm of your personality and attitude which could hurt both you and the firm in the long term, it will also seem very conspicuous. Remember that lawyers are used to catching lies and deception in court cases every day, so more often than not, they’ll catch it if you fake that extra politeness and that crisp business like manner.

Of course, acting natural doesn’t mean that you can come to work in shorts and that ironic t-shirt you bought at spring break in your sophomore year. Stay cool, relaxed, and most importantly, be comfortable in your own skin.

2. Do Turn Up For Work
Most summer internships don’t have strenuous hours – 9 to 5, or 10 to 6 mostly. More often than not, you’ll find that there’s not too much to do around the summer internship, and chances are, you’ll cut out early, or worse, not show up for work at all if there’s nothing to do.

Refrain.

As an intern, you’re expected to be punctual, to show up everyday, and to generally go around asking questions and taking off any extra work from overworked lawyers. Sure, on Fridays the senior lawyers might go out in the early afternoon for a round of golf, but that doesn’t mean you can take the day off too for an early evening out with your buddies. Be punctual to the second, if you’re really keen to bag a job offer at the end of the internship, even if its just for the sake of keeping up appearances.

3. Be Flexible
As an law firm intern, you’re expected to tackle any responsibility thrown your weight. The firm, if its looking at you as a serious candidate for a job offer, would like to know if you can be flexible with your responsibilities. There might come a time during your summer law internship that you’ll be asked to deal with an area beyond your interest: say, environment law, even though all you planned to do the entire summer was bankruptcy, especially in case of an emergency when other lawyers cannot be peeled away from their work.

Not only will this test your mettle as a lawyer, but also open up your own interests and make you into a better lawyer at the end of the day.

4. Create a Portfolio
By the end of your summer internship, you should aim to have produced a nice portfolio of written material: research papers, memos, etc. Oral memos, while great and practical, don’t leave behind any tangible that could be passed around by your assigning attorney as recommendation.

If projects that require written work don’t come your way, then go out and seek them. Talk to your assigning attorney, tell him that you would like to take the responsibility of any project that requires written work. Be proactive and you should have a set of written material that can be great as recommendations.

5. Maintain Quality
A major characteristic of summer law interns is that the quality of their work has a lot of inconsistency: if they’re assigned to a senior lawyer with a lot of sway around the firm, the quality of the work shoots up; if they’re assigned to a junior associate who’s just fresh out of law school, interns usually put a lot less effort in the work, bringing down the quality.

Just because the work is for a junior associate doesn’t mean that its any less important. Remember that anything and everything that you produce can be used in a case or a transaction, so aim to maintain the quality of your work no matter who you’re working for. You’ll score major brownie points for work ethic if you do so.

6. Ask
If you don’t know how to deal with that situation that cropped up at the office yesterday, or the correct protocol to handle that social dilemma at the last meeting, or if you’re unsure of the deadline of that project that’s due next week, ask.

Find the appropriate person, and ask them – anything, and everything. No one at the law firm would mind a summer intern asking questions: its the expected thing to do. If you’re not sure, for instance, if you’ll make the deadline for a project, ask you’re assigned attorney if it is flexible at all. Remember that asking is always way better than presuming. And by doing so, you’ll only learn skills that’ll make you a better lawyer and a better asset to the firm.

7. Behave
This one ought to be self-explanatory, and in fact, shouldn’t be a tip (or a reminder, if you may) at all. You are working in a professional environment. It is expected that you will behave with professional courtesy with everyone you encounter, from the secretary to the janitor.

Unfortunately, most law interns tend to leave their polite behavior at the doorstep when they’re dealing with junior associates or under-secretaries or even the janitors. These people, howsoever lowly they might be on the law firm pay scale, matter, and your rude behavior will be found out by the seniors sooner or later.

On the matter of manners, do remember to extend them to your fellow summer law interns. You’re not in competition with them for the job; most law firms will extend job offers to almost all interns. Being polite to them (and the junior associates and the secretaries and the janitors) will only help you forge friendships should you decide to take up the job offer and return after law school.

Finding Jobs in Law Enforcement

Jobs in law enforcement are as diverse as employment as a civilian, with many opportunities for interesting clerical work, jobs in the courtroom or a daily adventure with boots on the ground. The type of person who makes a good candidate for a law enforcement career is one who is dedicated to public service and can work under a military styled chain of command.

Employment for police officers, courtroom bailiffs, probation and parole officers are generally the traditional route to take for a law enforcement career, however, there are a few paths off the beaten track that offer competitive pay and retirement benefits while providing a much needed public service.

Fish and Wildlife law enforcement jobs serve and protect the fisheries industry, plant life and defends wildlife from poachers or abuse. This job entails surveillance tactics, detaining and arresting suspects and the preparation of court documents for trial.

The U.S. Marshal’s office offers a wide variety of duties in the courthouse and out in the field. Employment as a federal TSA air marshal is in demand since September 11, 2001, with ground positions at the airports and in-flight security seats with the airlines.

A career with the federal U.S. Park Ranger division is an outdoor position serving as park police to keep the campgrounds safe and respond to public emergencies. The park rangers conduct their own investigations and have powers of arrest like any other peace officer.

Other exciting and rewarding careers within the law enforcement field include DEA Agent, CIA, FBI, special forces such as SWAT and K-9 units, postal inspector, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, and work with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives team.

The minimum qualifications for a career in law enforcement will vary according to city, county and federal agencies. However, a candidate should be clear of a felony conviction, be a U.S. citizen or legal resident and be in top physical condition to participate in the officer training academies.

In addition, a high school diploma or GED is required, with special consideration given to applicants who hold an Associates degree or higher in a related field. A degree in Criminal Justice, English and computer orientated fields are an excellent launch pad for a career in law enforcement and will enable the new cadet to quickly move up the ranks for promotion. The application for local and federal police agency jobs may take up to one year depending on scheduling for the written examination dates and general hiring policies and procedures.

Once training is completed, there are a wide variety of Jobs In Law Enforcement, allowing for great job security.

Juggling Many Offers

Oh, if we could all be so lucky. We can all attest to have juggled many interviews, but how many of us have found ourselves in the not entirely unpleasant task of juggling many offers after those interviews? While this scenario wasn’t likely in the past few years due to the economy, many stories have been heard of late that tell of lawyers suddenly having to decide between two and sometimes more than two job offers from different law firms. What’s a lucky soul to do? It sounds like a dream come true (we all have that human weakness of wanting to be “wanted”…even in our careers), it can also be a bit of a burden. After the excitement wears off, you’re still left with having to make a decision…and a phone call decline another’s offer, which is never pleasant.

Don’t be surprised; Just sleep on it. Well, sleep on it if you can afford to wait twenty-four hours, that is. You owe it to yourself to give both offers a lot of thought and consideration. Not only that, but you also have a smaller obligation to the offering firms. They want you as part of their legal team for a reason and it’s a courtesy to consider their positions, as well. Another point is that sometimes, the right answer isn’t always the obvious answer. One firm may offer a more generous benefits package, but what kind of position are they in terms of profits and new clients? It could be the other firm, while not as generous in its initial offerings, may have incredible plans in store for whoever chooses to accept their offer. This, of course, could lead to far more than what’s initially placed on the table.

Ask yourself which firm, if either, you could see yourself at ten years from now. Which firm has better odds of you making partner in specified time period? Which firm treats its clients better and what kind of clients does each firm attract? All of these questions, plus many more, must be considered if you’re to make the best decision for you and your family. It’s not about only the short-term, but long-term goals that you’ve set for yourself. Each offering law firm may have its strong points, but there’s so much more that goes into it.

Finally, sometimes it comes down to what just feels like a better fit. You might think you want that office on the fortieth floor, but your legal job satisfaction may lie in that small one story building with two partners who are more interested in what’s best for their clients. They could have made their big money years ago and are now focused on other things. That’s not to say that your salary expectations wouldn’t be considered, it’s just that there are other things that are balanced with the bottom line.