Internship for Law Students
At Various Places
Author: Crenzia Rubina Pereira, V.M. Salgaocar college of Law, Miramar GOA
SUB THEME: INTERNSHIP AT LAW FIRM
Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.-William Shakespeare
As rightly pointed out by the legend of literature that with the power of knowledge, one can have access to the doors of heaven. It is not only he, who recognized the importance and value of knowledge in the world, but several brilliant minds have also focused on its vitality and proficiency that it possess within itself. Every knowledge has two aspects viz. theoretical aspect and practical aspect and both are interdependent in such a way that unavailability of one makes the other an utter waste. In order to accomplish best in any walks of life, one must pursue both the aspects of knowledge.
Since ancient times, the theoretical aspect has been very much prevalent in our society, but since past two decades, practical aspects are also gaining importance which has ultimately led to the phenomenal growth of internships in every field of life around every corner of the world. The Indian Education System has also diverted itself towards acquiring practical knowledge by way of internships.
Therefore, the importance of internships is increasing day by day and law firm internships are also playing a vital role in this regime. One of the best ways to stand out among your peers is through demonstrated practical ability. As a law school graduate, you will be highly marketable if you can “hit the ground running.” You can fit this description by acquiring as many practical legal skills as possible during school.
By far, participating in a legal internship (externship, clinic, clerkship, etc.) is the most efficient way to gain these skills. However, the extent to which you acquire skills during an internship can vary dramatically. Depending on your workload there could be a lot or a very little amount of time to pick up practical legal skills. To make the most out of your internship, be sure to meet your workplace demands, but also remain focused on investing in your own learning at the same time.
To do this, it is imperative that you understand the science of experiential learning – the process of acquiring new skills through practical experiences. Experiential learning opportunities will be all around you during your internship. Take advantage. The best way to do that is to know the top three types of practical legal skills, these include:
- Analytical Skills: Knowledge of substantive law and legal procedure, identifying issues, eliminating unrealistic outcomes, evaluating exposure, hedging and minimizing risk, assimilating information from multiple sources, designing strategies for resolution, motivating and coordinating action from multiple parties, interpreting behavior or sets of facts.
- Research and Writing Skills: Conducting legal research, using legal research software, writing memoranda, letters, emails, articles, summaries of meetings or events, drafting contracts and other documents used in practice, editing/revising documents and citing to legal authority.
- Communication Skills: Oral communication, public speaking, client counseling, keen listening skills and issue-spotting, status reporting, developing themes and strategically arranging facts, persuasive writing, negotiating, investigating, relationship-building, client pitches, and marketing.
All practical legal skills are rooted in “tacit knowledge” – the type of knowledge that is difficult to transfer by writing down or verbalizing it. That is why you must experience the practice of law in order to acquire the skills.
Your goal should be to gain tacit knowledge in order to build your practical skill set. To do this, attorneys need to transfer their tacit knowledge to you and the most effective way to do this is through extensive personal contact, regular interaction and trust. In other words, tacit knowledge is transferred through practice.
This is why a legal internship is perhaps one of the only ways to truly acquire practical legal skills during law school. You cannot absorb these skills from a book; they must be transferred from attorneys to you through experience.
The Indian Education System has also diverted itself towards acquiring practical knowledge by way of internships. Therefore, the importance of internships is increasing day by day and law firm internships are also playing a vital role in this regime. It provides a way to apply theoretical knowledge of law into practical life and makes a person a complete professional. Having understood the importance of law firm internships, some colleges have made it mandatory for their students to go for internship under a law firm for a certain period of time. In the legal field, where a professional has to meet daily challenges, find adequate solutions and at the same time uphold the integrity of rule of law, the importance of law firm Internship enhances manifold. Even more importantly, students should take these temporary openings seriously and perform as if the positions were permanent. Why? Because some day they could be.
Here are few benefits mentioned where we get it through the internship as a STUDENT
Determine a Direction
Internships provide first-hand experience in the legal profession and a close look at the day-to-day responsibilities that come with being an attorney. Ideally, students will have the opportunity to speak with lawyers and pick their brains. Students can freely ask questions and pay attention to how they work.
Another benefit from having an internship is gaining insight into what type of law a student would want to—or not want to—pursue after graduation from law school. Someone might think about becoming a criminal defense attorney, but then intern for a corporate law firm and realize that is what they would prefer to practice instead.
A Better Understanding of the Law
While law school teaches you the fundamental substantive law you need to know to “think like a lawyer,” the key is learning how to apply those concepts and principles learned in the classroom to situations in the real world. An internship offers students that opportunity but it will also benefit them when they’re studying for the bar exam.
It’s one thing to read about civil procedure in a textbook or even talk about it in class, but it’s completely different when a student is involved with a case from beginning to end in and has to put that procedure into practice. The result is a better understanding of the law.
An internship at a law firm can definitely come in handy when it’s time to take the bar exam. Instead of grasping for words when having to write those six essays and desperately trying to remember what their textbooks said, students can reflect on their experience and put it into words. The same goes for when they start their legal career.
Completing a law firm internship makes law school graduates more marketable to employers. They want to see that they’ve done more than just go to class and earn passing grades. Internships exemplify their dedication to learning as much as possible about the law, not just in the classroom, but in the real world.
Introduction to Professionalism
Whether your internship places you in a courtroom, in front of clients, or has you behind a desk in an office, you’ll see how lawyers conduct themselves. Seeing how lawyers treat their clients, support staff, their fellow attorneys, court personnel, and judges will help prepare you for similar interactions when you interview and go on to begin your career. Simply knowing how to behave in a professional setting will help ensure that you never stand out for the wrong reasons.
Employers look for workers with experience, so the best way for legal students to prepare for their future is to take advantage of internship opportunities while they are still in school. Legal internships can teach students valuable skills that can work for them by boosting their résumé and helping them to become the best candidate for the job.
One of the unique features of legal education is that it provides multiple prospects to its disciples. Unlike traditional concept of law being only litigation oriented today lawyers have ample of opportunities ahead of them.
You’re a recent college graduate with a killer cover letter, a stellar grade point average and glowing recommendations.
But if one important item is missing from your résumé i.e. Internship, good luck trying to get at any position in the Law Career.
Let me conclude with a saying of ARISTOTLE “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”
A SIMPLE DIAGRAM TO UNDERSTAND MORE ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF INTERNSHIP FOR THE LAW STUDENTS!
This Article was prepared or accomplished by Crenzia Rubina Pereira, V.M. Salgaocar college of Law, Miramar GOA in her personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the LawOF.in
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