Expectations of Legal Interns, Part Two
The California Desert Trial Academy’s (CDTA) unique educational platform focuses on students learning the soft skills in addition to the core substantive law. It also includes seeking mentorships and internships to further enhance legal studies with practical real-world experience.
Law students should have some advanced notice about an internship and the tasks to be undertaken but won’t know for certain until finally beginning the internship. Anything can, and will, happen. The purpose of an internship is to provide an insightful learning experience for young law students, in return for a little bit (a lot) of hard work.
If the amount of a law firm’s incomplete legal research awaiting an intern is not enough to keep an intern busy for the length of an internship, organizing the firm’s files and everything contained therein, should be more than sufficient. Pleadings, depositions, billing invoices, timesheets, and evidence files are just some of a law firm’s paper trail that an intern may be asked to organize. A case’s files may differ from lawyer to lawyer within a firm so it may be necessary to know more than one different system of organization.
Supervising attorneys are most appreciative of interns with good organizing skills, especially when their files are notably disorganized. This is a good opportunity for interns to use and develop these skills, which will provide valuable future benefits. An internship may be an especially good opportunity to learn what not to do.
In addition to organizing a firm’s vast paper trail, interns must be prepared to assume some administrative responsibilities and perform basic clerical tasks such as receiving clients on arrival, taking phone calls and messages, drafting emails and memorandums, and transcribing, scanning and photocopying documents (“makin’ copies”).
*Act as a courtroom assistant
Internships at personal injury and criminal defense law firms will likely provide the opportunities for interns to participate in actual litigation on some level. The chance not only to observe the workings of a real case but to participate and affect its outcome, even in some small way, is a rewarding experience that can fulfill one of a law student’s intermediary goals to becoming an attorney.
Assisting an attorney in a real case will be one of the highlights of any internship. A real courtroom provides a level of excitement and energy that a moot court exercise can only approach. Acting as a courtroom assistant and participating in a real case’s court proceedings, helps interns gain an in-depth understanding of formal court procedures and informal courtroom protocols.
Interns who assist attorneys with real cases involving real clients will likely be asked to prepare pleadings and other court documents related to the case. Also, an intern may get the opportunity to sit next to the attorney trying the case and witness trial proceedings firsthand.
Sample Legal Internship Ad
The candidate will be working with criminal defense and personal injury cases and will be responsible for assisting with cases, reviewing and preparing correspondence, preparing discovery, typing and modifying documents, preparing case folders, preparing trial binders, locating and interviewing witnesses, client intake and maintaining files. If candidate is interested in legal research and writing, such opportunities are also available. Additional administrative responsibilities will include answering phones, personal assistant work, requesting checks, contact with clients and health care providers, and running small office errands. Experience in criminal defense and/or personal injury law and bilingual is a plus.
Like traditional law schools, CDTA’s curriculum is designed to teach students the substantive law of core subject areas. Unlike traditional law schools, CDTA emphasizes training and developing students to be capable and competent advocates in any courtroom. The California Desert Trial Academy is a 21st Century law school that moves students toward a successful legal career on the first day of class. We believe that practical experience in tandem with legal knowledge is the best road to a successful, rewarding, and prosperous legal career. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.