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What are some good law internships for first year college students?

I have been looking for law internships, but they require letters of recommendation and I don't believe I have professors that will do that for me as this is my first year at my CUNY school.

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Mark’s Answer

An undergrad internship is difficult because you are unlikely to be in a position long enough to generate real experience. This is unorthodox advice, but I would focus on getting whatever internships will generate critical thinking, attention to detail, responsibility and show initiative. This can be in any field.

Undergrad internships are unlikely to lead to real experience because they are too short. In addition, law school students are competing for the same jobs.

If you can't get a job with direct experience in law, the next most important thing is generating a story that shows why you would be a good lawyer. This story can be started from any background. I am a lawyer, and I have friends who are lawyers who were chefs and personal trainers before law school. While this might be surprising, I think what these people did really successfully was work on the skills needed as a lawyer, and developed a story to show that. After all, your next step is applying to law school. One way you can set yourself apart is by having a great story for your personal statement. There will be endless candidates who had internships which on paper seem like "law" but in fact didn't generate any experience. If you can get a job that will allow you to show strong critical thinking, extreme attention to detail and most importantly alot of responsibility, that will go far in separating yourself from other candidates.
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Stefanie’s Answer

Hi -- great question! As Terri answered above, it can be difficult to secure actual legal jobs as an undergraduate, but you may have luck finding jobs in a law office/law environment. For example, in between college and law school, I was able to work as a paralegal in a county prosecutor's office (they also had an internship program), so some of those county offices might be worth looking into. I also worked for a bit of time with a temp agency and specifically looked for jobs in legal fields. I was able to get some experience in law firms doing paralegal work and reviewing documents and other tasks of that nature. Sometimes just working in the legal environment gets you great experience and also helps you start to figure out what type of law and what type of office environment (big firm, small firm, public office, etc.) you like best.

Good luck!!
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Terri’s Answer

Securing a legal internship as an undergraduate can be challenging. If you've pinpointed internships that require a recommendation letter, consider reaching out to a professor whose class you excelled in and actively participated. You might be pleasantly surprised to find they're willing to recommend you based on your class performance.

Moreover, don't limit yourself to traditional avenues of opportunity. While your career development office or online job boards are excellent starting points, don't shy away from thinking outside the box. Perhaps there's a family friend who's a lawyer and might be open to taking you on as a summer intern? Or consider reaching out to local law firms directly to inquire about potential internships.

As an undergraduate, you won’t be able to delve into legal research or assist in crafting legal documents, but the invaluable experience of immersing yourself in a legal environment can provide clarity on whether law school is the right path for you. Best of luck!
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