Legal services is the tenth most popular field choice in our Student Internship Program. Each year, a few dozen students from poli sci, law, and other majors do short term internships in law. Placements can be anywhere from criminal law firms, to the Department of Justice. Here's an excerpt from a recent Internship Report. It can give you some idea of the typical legal services intern experience (fyi: this has been edited slightly to remove some names and other identifiers - it is legal services after all):
Please describe your daily internship duties.
So far: 1. Supporting the lawyers that come into the office and program. Sitting in on meetings and appointments and offering and required assistance. 2. Office type organizational work- photocopying, organizing papers, keeping files in order, organizing the desk 3. Reading any suggested law related materials for my own benefit 4. Helping clients if possible and if I am able to since I don't know much about the field yet. 5. Talking to various lawyers in our office
Please talk about some of the training and supervision you have received at your host company.
1. [My supervisors] are great mentors and they have already taught me a lot over my first week. This internship is pretty much "hands on" and I'm learning on the fly. I have realized that everyday in this field is different and it's hard to know what to expect. I have been provided with basic explanations, lots of great reading material (UBC LSLAP manual), and [my supervisors] have always been around to help me.
What is the most interesting part of your internship?
Meeting all the clients and learning about all their circumstances. The interesting part is seeing how the lawyers approach various situations and how they manage their limited time effectively. It's amazing to see the variety of scenarios people find themselves in, and being creative/finding practical solutions is an amazing part of this internship.
What is the most difficult part of your internship?
I think that the hardest part is not getting emotionally attached/upset about some of these cases. It's hard because most of our clients are less fortunate and are in very tough positions. I find it hard to see people suffering and so desperate for help.
Is there anything you feel that you should do to make your internship experience better?
I love it so far, everything is great! I'm having an amazing time and learning each day.