GUEST BLOG Katie R. Day,
Quinnipiac University School of Law, J.D. Candidate 2018
I’ve loved a lot of the experiences I’ve had in law school from interesting electives to engaging club events.
However, my favorite experience has been my internships. I was fortunate enough to be able to do a handful of placements throughout my time in law school and I found them to be invaluable. For those of you who are considering internships, I wanted to share some tips for making the most out of each opportunity.
Know your limits
First of all, I want to acknowledge how challenging it can be to accept an unpaid internship. I worked part-time in law school and had rent, utilities, etc. that needed to be paid each month. It was certainly a budgeting struggle for me to be an unpaid intern, but the experience was worth the struggle. However, it’s important to know what you can and can’t handle. Be honest with yourself about the amount of time you’ll be able to commit and your other obligations. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
When I applied for my first internship I had just finished the first semester of my 1L year. I was certainly not the most qualified candidate, but I applied anyways, and I got the position. Don’t shy away from applying because you aren’t familiar with the type of law or don’t have the experience you think you need. You have more skills than you think and employers are happy to teach what’s missing.
Be open to new opportunities
An internship I thought I would love ended up being my least favorite, and one that I was on the fence about helped point me down a new career path. If an internship sounds remotely interesting, take a deeper look. Internships are a great way to try out different areas of law and see what you like and what you don’t like. You may be surprised!
Unfortunately, not all internships are awesome, but they are all learning experiences. You may learn how to stand up for yourself or how not to be a supervisor when you are an attorney. Either way, you get something out of the internship that you can bring to your next internship and your future job. And if you’re not happy, think about why. If it’s something you think could be fixed, approach your supervisor or talk to a mentor.
I get it. Especially at your first internship, you’re nervous. You don’t want to say something wrong or come off the wrong way. It’s okay–everyone makes mistakes and your supervisors know that (they were interns once too). Don’t shy away from asking questions and sharing your opinion.