Many law students make the mistake of waiting until after the Bar Exam to seek employment. Because the legal profession is over-saturated with attorneys, it is important to began your legal career search before you start your second year of law school.
I urge you to begin making a list of careers that interest you. If you do not have a general idea of what you would like to do once you graduate, at least start thinking about whether you would like to do private law or public interest law. List the pros and cons of each sector. Also, search for a list of public and private sector jobs that appeal to you.
Giving yourself a general idea of what you would like to do, while in law school, will put you at a great advantage. Many law students who attain jobs before they graduate either have great grades, attend top-tier law schools, or volunteered/interned while in school. My advice is geared to those in the third category.
Interning after your first year in law school is one of the most significant moves you can make for yourself while in law school, even if you have great grades. Ranking in the top 20% of your class is not always going to cut it. Law firms and governmental agencies love students that will work for free. Let’s face it, the economy is not doing so well and EVERYONE loves free work. With that said, these same firms and agencies usually hire their volunteers/interns because they have an idea of how the student will perform and that same students has essentially already been trained.
Some of the most invaluable advice you will hear throughout the entire time you are in law school is to NETWORK. I can not begin to tell you how important it is to network. If you are a very outgoing person, it will probably come easy to you. If you are an introvert, law school is the place to at least “fake it, until you make it.” Because of the recession, everyone is looking for employment, including graduates and experienced attorneys who were recently laid off. Employers could post open positions internet sites and receive an overwhelming amount of responses from job seekers, OR they can just as easily hire someone who made the right connections. Equally important: employers could just hire one of their interns (which goes back to how important it is to work for free sometimes).
So, the time has come and it is about to pass. The time to apply for summer associate positions (which are normally paid) is generally from August until October. The most prestigious governmental agencies usually place the deadlines for internships and Honors Programs in the Fall. Below is a small list of examples. There are many more internships, just Google them. Also, if you are interested in private law or working for a corporation, just go to the website; information about their summer associate positions/internships will generally be listed under the “careers” link.
Summer Internships with Large Corporations: