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How strict are law firms and other legal institutions with their age or education requirements for their internships?

Most places I want to intern at either have educational or age requirements that I do not meet as a high schooler, restricting my chance of getting an internship. I plan to major in political science when I go to college and would love some exposure to the legal and governmental world by having an internship. #law #internships #political-science #intern

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Subject: Career question for you

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Ollie’s Answer

I know a few lawyers.


Bigger law firms often have organized internship programs. They're sharply focused on people in college or law school. As a firm, that's how they do internships.


If you're interested in working specifically in a law firm while in high school, it would be wise to find a particular lawyer (a particular member of a law firm) who's willing to take you on as an intern and work with you.


What are the choices? Work with a partner or senior associate lawyer at a big "downtown" firm.
Find a local firm, or maybe a local solo lawyer, and talk your way into an internship with them.
Find a legal clinic or legal aid group, and talk your way into an internship with them.


In the last case, you might try going to a local courthouse where they handle matters like landlord-tenant disputes. Often there will be a representative from a legal aid group there offering advice to people, in the hallway area outside the courtroom handling that stuff. You could speak to that person (when they're not too busy!) and ask about working as an intern.


You might call your local state legislator and ask about internships. The same might go for your municipal mayor, city councilor, or police department. Those sorts of internships have an extra benefit: you'll make some influential friends and allies if you do well.


In every case, if you talk to somebody and they can't offer an internship, ask if they know anybody who might have an opening.


Good luck with the internship and your career!

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Kim’s Answer

Hi Leticia!


I am light-years away from New Jersey, but let me give it the ol' Texas Try.


If you have already developed some strong skills that can be put to use during an internship, such as filing, for example, AND have a solid/impressive academic record, I think you could stand a chance.
I think a small firm would be more likely to take you than a corporate firm, but you would want to show that you would be doing more than simply "shadowing" their staff, as shadowing could be perceived as "getting in the way" or "slowing them down." I think you would need to be at least 18 though. Select the firms for the type of law they practice, and explain why you are interested in that type of law in your letter.


Also something I have noticed here, and this is just generally speaking, but certain lawyers tend to be more family-focused than others. Choose those who include family pictures on their websites, or talk in their bio about spending time with their families. They are more likely to understand the importance of what you are trying to accomplish, I think!


Best of luck!
Kim

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