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Still looking for a legal internship this summer? Don't despair, there's still time!

There's still time to find a short work experience placement or internship with a legal firm that doesn't run formal vacation schemes.

e.g. London

What is an internship? 

An internship is a period of work experience offered by an employer for a fixed period of time (full-time or part-time). It is just another term for work experience, but usually with more in-depth tasks. 

An internship is usually an opportunity for a relatively inexperienced worker to pick up professional skills, add experience to their CV, form professional networks, and learn about an industry, while an employer can gain access to new talent and fresh ideas. 

Internships and work experience are a great way to gain skills and make contacts, especially as you think about life after graduation. 

Look locally and nationally

You may have left it late to find internships for this summer but don't worry. Not all firms offer formal vacation schemes or indeed have closed for applications. Research firms in your local area that do not run formal vacation schemes but may still be open to a short term summer placement. Look at the main legal careers portals for late deadline summer internships. Always send a well-written CV and cover letter. There will always be something available to help you to develop your legal work experience.

Think about what you want to achieve

Think about your goals and try to define your specific targets and identify job-related skills you aim to acquire during your internship. This could involve developing leadership, critical thinking, or legal knowledge. Whatever your choice, this will help you track your competencies. 

Try not to make money your priority 

Many interns focus more on the monetary aspect of internships than the educational opportunities. While compensation is important, prioritise experiences that offer valuable skill development to boost your career prospects. The law regarding the payment of interns changes from country to country. Still, it’s always a good idea to talk with the company you are doing an internship with on payment and reimbursement of expenses or check if you might be earning the national minimum wage.  

Some companies view internships as trials for permanent jobs. However, it’s important to be aware that some companies will use internships as a means to find free labour instead of as a chance to identify, nurture and attract talent. 

Try not to say yes to everything

Interns often take on more than they can handle, leading to burnout and underperformance. Recognise your strengths and limitations, and only commit to select internships. A SWOT analysis can help identify opportunities and weaknesses of internships. Once in the company, hands-on experience will offer invaluable insights into the practical aspects of law and embrace each task you're assigned. 

Be careful with your social media

While many organisations use chat groups and communication channels, avoid overusing them with unprofessional emojis or messages. Similarly, refrain from oversharing work details on personal social media. Maintain professionalism at all times.

Be strategic

Internships are an opportunity to evaluate a company’s culture, values, and principles. If these align with your own, work diligently to potentially secure a permanent position. Organisations often prefer hiring successful interns.

Keep a positive mental attitude

Internships can be demanding and unpredictable. Maintain a positive attitude, be adaptable, and stay open to learning new things. Embrace unexpected challenges and be willing to unlearn and relearn as necessary.