A well-organised internship with a big legal company can be of great benefit to both the business and graduate alike. Although taking up an internship may at first seem like unpaid labour, impress your sponsor and it could just be your route to a permanent position.
Here are five key points to be considered by degree final year students at Mont Rose College who are considering searching for an internship.
1. Agree a plan
Agreeing a plan is really important if the intern and employer are to get maximum returns from the experience. After a welcome/orientation session and a desk allocation, the intern should sit down with their temporary line manager and go through their objectives and expectations for the internship. A structured program can then be drawn up and both parties copied in. Make sure that regular progress meetings are included to ensure that your plan is still on track.
2. Management and supervision
If your internship is to provide a useful experience, it must be managed. You must have supervision and guidance if learning is to happen and there should be a point where both parties can ask whether the whole internship idea is working for them.
The whole point of an internship is to learn new skills, develop commercial awareness and industry understanding to make you more employable within your chosen area of legal specialism.
Variety is really important in effective learning and it’s important that standard tasks are broken up by wider, more challenging projects that you can work on whilst under supervision of experienced solicitors or fee earners.
4. Formalise the learning
You should leave your internship placement with a whole plethora of valuable experience that will help you in your career development and give you every chance of getting an opening into your chosen legal specialism. It’s important that you leave your placement with some evidence of what you’ve learned. This could be in the form of a detailed evaluation of a project you’ve worked on or a comprehensive letter of recommendation from a senior legal executive or solicitor.
5. Exit interview
At the end of the internship, the business should conduct a proper exit interview, including a career review, introductions to other organisations, and detailed end of placement feedback.
This process applies to both parties. The employer can also find out what worked and how to make future internships better. What interns lack in experience, they more than make up for in enthusiasm, intelligence and fresh eyes and this can be hugely useful to employers who are prepared to listen to them, so don’t be afraid to have your say.
An internship could be your first step on the road to a successful legal career. For more information on how to go about securing an internship, have a chat with your experienced tutors at Mont Rose College.