5 things I learned in my summer internship. By: Lakshmi Swami
In my original draft, I was going to begin my blog post by saying “I was very fortunate to have been offered a paid internship my first year! I am currently working at a liability/workers compensation firm.” But soon I realized we never openly share on social media the negative aspects and things that bring us down. I want to briefly highlight that this win came from a pile of multiple losses. Maybe it’s the fear of being judged or looking weak when we share our failures? I think it’s so important to be open and honest with yourself. It’s okay to be vulnerable and it is okay to allow people to see that side of you. It doesn’t make you weak, incapable, or any negative connotations that are associated with being vulnerable. This is something I try to remind myself of as well. Prior to attending law school, I worked at a law firm. That did not come easily. I went through so many interviews, but it always ended with the same “we regret to inform you that...” Rejection hurts like no other. But the only thing that kept me going was the hope and the excitement of where I’d end up. I took those lessons from my previous job search as a reminder when I was applying to internships during my first year. This offer did not come overnight but it took a few weeks of obsessively applying to postings, speaking to various firms, and interviewing in hopes of landing an internship. I am truly fortunate to not only gain this experience from my internship but to be compensated (corny, I know), which is a blessing! I began working in March but I was very hesitant to accept the position because, at the end of the day, I wanted to make sure classes were a priority instead of making money. I was fortunate to have friends that were able to ground me when making this overwhelming decision and talked to me about the benefits of taking this opportunity. I’m thankful that my advisor was also able to help me make the final decision.
Sadly, my internship started and coronavirus thought it was time to take over. But there was no stopping me now. I have been interning remotely in the meantime and this is what I’ve learned so far.
The skills you learn in Legal Research and Writing (LRW) class are very important
While all your other classes teach you about the law, LRW teaches you how to put that into practice. I truly wish law school consisted more of this but that’s what internships are for!
You will become quick and efficient with legal research
It takes time for you to improve a skill, and the only way to do so is by practicing. From my first research project to now, I’ve learned how to navigate the nuances of searching for case law.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Your attorney would rather have you ask lots of questions instead of asking how to fix a mistake that could’ve been prevented. I typically write down questions on a notepad as I’m looking through a case. If I’m unable to find the answers within a reasonable time, I email the lawyer.
They offered you this job because you are capable of doing it. Believe that they saw something in you to hire you.
Like many people, I had a lot of self-doubt when I started my job. Sometimes we fail to see how much we are capable of doing, but that’s not to say that we know everything. Stay humble friends.
Any legal experience is good legal experience.
Whether you discover that this is exactly what you want to go into after law school or just the complete opposite, that is fine! Your internship will teach you many skills that can be used in any practice area.