How to Get an Internship As a Paralegal

Wed, Feb 8, 2012

Internship Information

If your dream is to one day become a highly successful paralegal and you have already taken the first step by going to law school, the you are probably aware that the next step is to gain work experience. There is no better way to garner experience than by acquiring an internship as a paralegal, but you may be wondering how to do that in such a highly competitive field.

Your school may provide direct resources to internship programs or you may even see a few advertisements from law firms looking for interns, but both of those options are far and few between, so you must get creative with your search.

Cold calling law firms might not get you anywhere since well respected establishments have numerous gatekeepers before you can reach anyone who could have a say in hiring you.

You will need to develop a well-crafted cover letter and resume, listing your unique experiences that separate you from other candidates. Other candidates also likely have high grade point averages and commendations, so what can you bring to the table that no one else can? Those characteristics need to be listed on a highly marketable portfolio for when preparation meets opportunity.

You can submit that portfolio to hiring managers and partners of law firms, but just as easily as they come in to offices, they are just as easily thrown into one big non-deciphering pile. That is why untraditional routes of opportunity exploration should be done.

It is easy to look good on paper, so instead of showcasing your resume and cover letter in just that way, try creating a video resume in addition to the traditional paper format. A DVD package certainly stands out in a stack of paperwork. Plus, you will be able to put a face to the name. Taking that one step further, go where lawyers go.

Do your research on a law firm. Find out where partners and employees of the firm congregate after work and take the opportunity to introduce yourself. People tend to let their guard down in more casual environments, like over drinks and appetizers. People are more apt to be helpful if they see you in a human environment.

Another idea is to join professional paralegal organizations, which are conducive for networking. Often times organizations provide resources on a website and newsletter about possible job opportunities, in addition to throwing the occasional networking mixer.

One thing you should stress to potential employers is that you are willing to work for free. Given the tough economic times our country finds itself in, law firms are always looking for a way to keep their costs down. You will be gaining much needed experience, which looks good on a resume, and you will give yourself an advantage over other candidates who expect to be paid.

Whether you have a degree from one of the many online masters programs in criminal justice or accreditation from an Ivy League school, the previous tips will help you land that internship as a paralegal and set you down the path to becoming a highly successful paralegal.

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