Legal Internships

Legal internships are very important to the job search. Employers want a paralegal who is educated and has previous experience. This can be difficult for those who decided on the paralegal career in school. A great way to gain experience is through legal internships. Although, the paralegal intern will have to perform menial tasks and will most likely not be paid, the internship will provide invaluable lessons and skills.

Education is important, but reading and studying can only provide a student with so much. Actual hands-on work and experiences in a legal office or law firm can give students the final bits of knowledge necessary to propel them into a great career.

Fortunately, many paralegal educational programs also include a paralegal internship section, where the paralegal must complete at a minimum one legal internship to obtain the degree. Many paralegal students choose to complete multiple legal internships, gaining experience and exploring the environments of different types of paralegals throughout the field. Having multiple internships can help students determine the career path they want to choose once they complete their paralegal studies.

The American Bar Association (ABA) actually requires accredited schools to include a paralegal internship in the curriculum. This is to help the students apply what they are learning to actual situations before they are thrust into the job market. Students follow a curriculum and obtain answers to many questions that arise during the shadowing of employed paralegals and attorneys.

Throughout the internship, paralegal students not only gain valuable knowledge but also valuable professional contacts. If a paralegal excels during his or her internship, there is the potential for a job offer or recommendations to other firms. Law firms and companies are often eager to give internships, as it is an opportunity for the firm to save time, money, and resources.

Some paralegal internships are actually paid, although these are rare. Typically, compensation for a paralegal internship is a stipend, or minimum wage up to an hourly rate of $12. Internships do earn school credit, though, which advances the paralegal student to graduation and closer to obtaining a career.

As ABA-accredited schools require the paralegal internships as part of the curriculum, those who attend schools that are not ABA-accredited should also strive to complete a paralegal internship. The paralegal internship could be the deciding factor between two graduates with almost the same credentials. Experience, such as the internship, is always an asset in the legal field.

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