The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
This entry is in response to a much appreciated reader comment on my December 19, 2008 posting, “Locating a Paralegal Internship”. The second part of the question is, “I just started a 3-year paralegal program this past fall, and my school will be setting us up in law firms in our last year. Should I jump ahead and look for internships for the summer?”
The simple answer is “Yes, start looking for any job which will give you legal experience prior to graduation as soon as you can.” Even if a student is financially able to attend school without working, experience working in the legal field makes a huge difference to potential employers. If the student does not actually need a salary, then she may have more flexibility locating unpaid paralegal internships.
I understand that many students do need to work full or part-time while in school, and that with no prior experience, it may be difficult to find a job working for lawyers. Even working in a different field which provides highly marketable transferable skills, such as the medical, banking, insurance or real estate fields, is better than having little to no relevant work experience. Some paralegal jobs may even require experience in a different field.
Serious paralegal students who are working in “dead-end” jobs which do little to enhance their administrative, computer or analytical skills should consider seeking work which will help them build their resumes and appeal to future employers, even if they cannot locate a job in a traditional law firm or corporate legal department.