The Effect Of The COVID-19 Pandemic On Summer Internships
Presently, in the spring of 2020, many law students are experiencing unprecedented obstacles and challenges as they attempt to complete their legal educations. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, law students nationwide are dealing with canceled bar exams, postponed internships, and changing extracurricular programs. While most law schools are increasing the amount of online support, the CDTA, through its Student Portal, already has in place a comprehensive supplement to its unique educational platform. This offers CDTA students the ability to already take full advantage of the benefits provided by distance learning.
Employers across the United States have reduced their internship programs as the coronavirus pandemic slashes into the profits of their businesses. Any plans for upcoming internships or clerkships have become more complicated as law students all over the country try to figure out their next course of action. Some students had already signed offer letters only to have these offers revoked.
These cuts could affect the career trajectories of recent law school graduates who rely on internships to gain experience, introduce themselves to prospective employers, and financially support themselves through the summer. It is no secret that getting an internship, especially more than one, substantially helps graduates find employment.
Further, the cutbacks come when law students must deal with the transition of their spring semester classes from the classroom to online, the cancellation of commencement and extracurriculars, and the burden of searching for employment in a job market seriously affected by mass layoffs. An unprecedented 16.8 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits over the three-week period extending from March into April.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak that has killed thousands of Americans and forced the closing of nonessential businesses and enact stay-at-home orders, few industries (consumer goods and chemical, mechanical, and industrial engineering) have posted more internship roles than they did last year according to LinkedIn. The number of new internship roles posted on LinkedIn’s job boards is down approximately 60% since March 1.
Not only are their fewer internship opportunities, but Gen Z workers are also nearly three times as likely to have been laid off from their current jobs because of the coronavirus than older Americans, according to a study by Harris Polls. Like older millennials who entered the workforce during the last great recession and had their careers seriously affected, it appears the same may happen to Gen-Z workers and COVID-19.
As law firms transition to working remotely, they will be considering the following questions based upon the assumption that there will be little or no social contact between interns and employees:
- How will interns be trained?
- How will interns receive virtual work assignments?
- How will interns adapt to remotely working at the firm?
- How will interns socially bond with the firm’s attorneys?
These are the questions being asked currently for the incoming summer class. Prospective interns must also consider these questions and adapt as necessary. Having, at least, two or three backup plans is an excellent course of action.
If an internship program is canceled, please make an appointment with a CDTA advisor immediately to formulate a backup plan. If students are flexible, it is possible to successfully find a summer internship. However, as the current circumstances are unprecedented, patience is virtuous and the ability to remain open-minded and consider options that may not normally be considered may make the difference in obtaining an internship.
If you are interested in becoming an exceptional legal advocate, consider the benefits of the California Desert Trial Academy. As a member of CDTA’s growing family, you’ll receive access to our student and alumni attorneys, who freely and openly share their legal experiences, career advice, and academic tips. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.