Law School

Summer Series: Making the Most Out of Your Summer Internship

Our Summer Series continues! This series highlights different Latina students and law grads as they embark in their summer jobs and/or bar prep all across the country. We hope to provide a variety of work experiences, options for a healthy work-life balance, and general motivation through different guest contributors to help you to take charge of your summer and professional goals!  Today we hear from Mena, a rising 2L  who gives us some tips she’s picked up as a new judicial clerk:


Hello, my name is Philomena (Mena for short) and I am a rising 2L at Arizona Summit in the heart of Downtown Phoenix.  I am blessed to say that I am the first in my family to pursue a professional degree.  While growing up, my family was very supportive of my growing interest in becoming an attorney.  They always wanted more for me than what they had for themselves.  After finishing my first year, I can honestly tell you that it has been the most exhilarating time of my life and I am thankful for the constant support I receive from my loved ones.  So make time for the important people in your life, they are your biggest fans and will provide that breath of fresh air you will definitely need.

I am currently interning with a judge at the Court of Appeals, and I was placed through an ABA program called JIOP.  For those of you entering your 1L or 2L year, I highly encourage you to look into the program.  It is a great opportunity and is designed to help those with diverse backgrounds.

Either way, if you landed an internship/externship for the summer, that in itself is an accomplishment!  So, CONGRATULATIONS!  I am going to provide some tips that I hope will help you get through your summer internship/externship



A lot of the times, your internship/externship will have a set schedule for you but, sometimes you will be able to create your own schedule based on your mentor’s needs.  Regardless, stick to that schedule.  Also, make sure you have your mentor’s contact information saved in your phone just in case something comes up and you have to deviate from that schedule.  It is always good to let them know or simply remind them if you will be arriving late or not coming in at all.



At my current internship, we always have a few projects going on at the same time and each of them have different deadlines.  Manage your time well so it is easier to meet those deadlines.  I, personally, swear by a planner.  I am someone that needs to set reminders or write tasks down in a list and then subsequently cross them off.  So, if you are anything like me, buy a cheap planner or use your phone to make sure you are on top of your tasks.  It can get overwhelming and hectic, but I feel that some organization is better than absolutely none.  So whatever helps you keep track of your time, DO IT!



When I attended my law school’s orientation last fall, the speakers told us that networking will continually be a big part of lives; and it is.  So if you are someone who’s shy, now is the opportune time to break out of your shell.  Your internship/externship is a way to meet new people.  You are not only creating a professional relationship with your mentor, but with other people in the profession too.  The legal community is a small world.  Someone often knows someone who just happens to know someone else.  Take advantage of those connections, and make some new connections yourself.  Get out there and introduce yourself!  Whether you are walking down the hall or standing in an elevator, strike up a conversation; it will go a long way.  Another tip, look into the network opportunities that your internship/externship site may offer, or even opportunities your state bar offers.  Also, b e on the lookout for e-mails your school may send out advertising networking opportunities.  Most of the time, networking events are discounted or even FREE for law school students.  



New environments can be scary.  However, if your mentor did not believe in your potential, they wouldn’t have hired you.  With that being said, don’t be afraid to speak up.  The judge I am interning for has weekly meetings to go over the cases we have for the week.  During these meetings, she will ask, “What do you think?”  I have to admit, at first I felt that I was out of my league.  I didn’t want to say anything wrong because let’s face it, I just finished my first year of law school and don’t have the years of experience she has.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who has felt that way.  But you know what? It’s okay.  The best way to overcome that fear is to realize that your mentor was in your position, and they are human just like you.  They’ll appreciate your input and the questions you have.  They realize you’re learning and gaining experience.  Besides, that is the purpose of internships/externships.


One of the most important tips I have is: HAVE FUN!  My passion for this profession has grown because in the midst of working, I’m having fun with it.  My hope is that your passion continues to grow too because you’re learning a lot and having fun while doing it (:

I hope this little tip list helps, even if it is just a tad.  Continue to enjoy your summer and get the most out of your internships/externships!  I wish you nothing but the best in all your future endeavors!

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