Law School

Prepping for Your Summer Internship

As many of you celebrate the end of the semester, take a sigh of relief to be done with finals, one thing you may also be looking forward to is starting your summer internship!

My 1L summer internship was a complete fluke and yet it changed the entire trajectory of my legal career. It opened doors to new opportunities and helped reignite my passion for law and justice after a somewhat turbulent 1L year.

I hope that whatever you’re doing this summer, you love it and it adds to your professional development.

Thankfully there is not much to do but wait for the internship to start, but, if you’re like me and starting one of your first “professional” jobs or your first legal job, in general, it could help to do a little prep work ahead of time just to make sure you make the most of your summer.

I’ve shared before some things to do to make your internship successful. But that is things you do once you’re there.

Before you even set foot for your first day here are three things I recommend:

One. Get a feel for the culture. You have the gift of social media at your fingertips. Do a little bit of light “stalking” to see what the feel is like. What are some major cases they’ve been working on and promoting? What does the dress code look like? Are there alumni from your school there that you can eventually connect with? Going in not completely blank will help you feel a little more assured. You’ll have the appropriate attire, you’ll know what their specialities are, and who to (eventually) reach out to for coffee to learn about their career track (trust me, lawyers love helping interns from their law school). Don’t go overboard—but feel like you have a sense of how formal the place is and how they make their mark in the legal community.

Two. Prep your materials. Figure out your wardrobe as soon as you can. I know this sounds bizzare, but the law is still small c conservative. Lots of firms are still using formal business attire and it’s definitely expected in court. Or maybe you’re at a start up that’s totally Zuckerberg’ing it and a suit would make you the odd one out. Whatever the case, have some pieces ready for the first few weeks so that people arent distracted by a thought that you don’t belong just because of your clothing. In addition to clothes, if you’re in person, bring a notebook and pen. I know, I know, you take notes on your phone or laptop. That is your perogative, but recognize that you are working with people likely older than you. Established professionals who may also be stuck in their ways who view people on their phones as distracted. Who think notes on paper is the way to go. Why not earn that easy goodwill capital by handwriting notes, at least at the beginning?

Three. Use discernment. Be really careful as you lead up to the day and when you first start about posting information about the internship on social media. I know it’s totally normal (and fun) to show days in the life, etc, but be careful—know your firm’s social media policies first AND the court’s. Some courts are particularly strict about photography (don’t get me started) and you don’t want to commit a faux pas before you even really got started.

Ok, see all that is pretty easy! I know for those with lots of internships under their belt, this may seem overboard. But for those who feel like office settings are foreign, it doesn’t hurt to plan and prepare. Good luck this summer!