You worked hard all through college to get high marks, took the hard classes, toiled through the unpaid summer jobs, studied and aced the LSAT (okay, fine, you did well enough). And now, you have worked your tail off for two full years at law school. All for what? To be told by every single law firm, judge, and organization in town (and out of town) that they “decided to go in a different direction.” So, now you’re stuck wonder what to do if you don’t get an internship as a 2L. Well, fear not! Because there are more opportunities available, and there are ways to make that last law school summer a great experience that will help you get the job you actually want in the future.
What to Do If You Don’t Get an Internship As a 2L
Here’s the deal. Now that class is out of session, you need to put the pedal to the metal. You won’t have homework or test preparation holding you back, so you should really be able to go for it. Practically speaking, here’s what that looks like in terms of what to do if you don’t get an internship as a 2L at first.
As a law school student for two full years so far, you’ve got ample resources in your little corner of the world. Your law school professors, for one. Get in touch with all of them, especially the ones with which you have a closer relationship, and pick their brains. See if they know of any firms or justices or organizations that are still looking. If they don’t and you feel particularly fond of this professor (or, better, you feel that they are fond of you and your work during the school year), ask them if they would be willing to let you be their research assistant.
This might sound like a copout or a short cut, but I assure you that it is not. Several law professors use their summer vacations as a time in which to pen their casebooks and go through comprehensive research for said books (or just for the knowledge). Law School Toolbox says, “RA’s are a very popular position for law students, and they’re usually paid. So take advantage of this opportunity that may already be right under your nose.”
Another approach is to use a different part of your particular relational network, outside of law school. Remember all those undergrad teachers that helped you and encouraged you to go to law school? Shoot them an email and ask them the same questions you just asked your law profs. If you happen to have a relationship with any law firms or other legal professionals in your hometown, reach out to them if you haven’t already.
Networking doesn’t stop there, though. Barbri writes that there are organized networking events for younger attorneys that are new to the profession as well as law school students like yourself. Sign up for all of them. Print out those resumes and give them to everyone that might be of any help to you at all. Email them to everyone you meet (within reason). You never know who you’ll run into that just so happens to have a legal professional connection with a job or internship opening. There’s a solid chance that you’ll wish you had done this much sooner.
Two final options exist. That’s right. If none of the above worked for you and you are still wondering what to do if you don’t get an internship as a 2L, try this pair of last-ditch efforts.
If you haven’t already gone to career services at your school (shame on you, first of all), then meet with them immediately. They should have plenty of resources for you. They might even be aware of immediate openings if firms in the area have lost any of their current hires. And finally, you can always see if someone will let you do “shadow” work. In other words, an unpaid position where you essentially follow a judge or attorney around as they do their job, which is still great insight.
This last option might not be as glamorous as some of your peers’ internships for big firms and judges, but it is technically summer work and, importantly, it is legal in nature. As the old adage goes, beggars can’t be choosers. Hopefully, you won’t find yourself in this position, but it is far better than nothing — especially during those law firm interviews when you’re asked what you did the previous summer. If you at least shadowed someone, you’ll have a much more palatable answer. So, get out there, work through each of these options of what to do if you don’t get an internship as a 2L off the bat, and get yourself a summer gig.
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