Law Students: Networking with Law Firms to Find a Great Internship
For most law students, networking with law firms is the best way to find a great internship. In large cities and small towns, the legal community is close knit and many times, it is who you know, not what you know. The more people you meet with, the better your chances of building your professional network, and finding a great intern position. Networking is best started with one’s own friends and acquaintances. You can gradually branch out to network with your friends’ friends, colleagues, and members of the legal profession, as well as others in the business community that can further your efforts.
Do not be shy about contracting people of the legal profession who are not known to you. Concentrate on lawyers who are active in your field of interest. Make a list of potential law firms and seek appointments to set up interviews. You can make it clear that you are not looking for a job or internship, but seeking their advice and suggestions on your common field of interest. In the process of meeting them, if they do have an opening for an intern, they may consider you. However, your primary concern at this time is to increase your networking. Think of it as personal marketing that will serve you well your entire career.
Preparing for Internship
Prior to networking with fellow professionals and law firms, ensure that you have your resume ready. An internship resume must be informative, proactive and engaging. Have it written by a professional to ensure you stand out from the crowd amongst all other intern applicants. Emphasize your area of interest and why you want to intern for a certain law firm. Your resume should emphasize your experience (including volunteer work, community service and clerking positions while in school) that are relevant to your field of interest, your commitment to the law and must express your passion for your chosen career field.
Your resume should be well written to create a good impression, and should be accompanied by an excellent cover letter.
Depending on the law firm you are applying to for your internship, you may be required to submit a number of documents with your job application, such as:
• A covering letter stating the reasons for applying
• A detailed resume
• A sample of written legal work (take care that it does not breach client confidentiality)
• Two written references
• Copies of university and other degrees, and/or diplomas
• A list of specialized courses taken
If you have applied to a foreign law firm for your internship program, you will require submitting copies of your passport, as well. Make sure that your internship application is submitted as per the law firm’s requirements.