Importance of law firm internships in the life of a law student

By Akash Agarwal, Amity Law School, Noida.

Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.-William Shakespeare

As rightly pointed out by the legend of literature that with the power of knowledge, one can have access to the doors of heaven. It is not only he, who recognised the importance and value of knowledge in the world, but several brilliant minds have also focused on its vitality and proficiency that it possess within itself.

Every knowledge has two aspects viz. theoretical aspect and practical aspect and both are interdependent in such a way that unavailability of one makes the other an utter waste. In order to accomplish best in any walks of life, one must pursue both the aspects of knowledge. Since ancient times, the theoretical aspect has been very much prevalent in our society, but since past two decades, practical aspects are also gaining importance which has ultimately led to the phenomenal growth of internships in every field of life around every corner of the world. The Indian Education System has also diverted itself towards acquiring practical knowledge by way of internships. Therefore, the importance of internships is increasing day by day and law firm internships are also playing a vital role in this regime. It provides a way to apply theoretical knowledge of law into practical life and makes a person a complete professional. Having understood the importance of law firm internships, some colleges have made it mandatory for their students to go for internship under a law firm for a certain period of time. In the legal field, where a professional has to meet daily challenges,  find adequate solutions and at the same time uphold the integrity of rule of law, the importance of law firm internship enhances manifold. The present system of legal education in Indian Law Colleges doesn’t enable a law student to apply his knowledge in real life experiences, and therefore, students start interning with law firms from their very first year in college.

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The market for recruitment and internships in law firms has become very competitive and the recruiters also put focus on such internships in the resume while recruiting a candidate.

According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), nearly 50% of employers would like to see an internship on a student’s resume.

An internship can serve as a screening device for employers.  Again, according to a NACE survey, nearly 36% of employers hired employees from their own internship program.

Importance of law firm internships:

  1. It gives a student an opportunity to “audition” a job or a field before taking a permanent position.
  2. Students who complete internships may discover gaps in their practical knowledge which may affect their course selection in subsequent semesters.  They will have the opportunity to fill in the gaps before they graduate.
  3. The experience of obtaining the internship may itself be a part of the valued experience.  The student will need to write a cover letter and resume, complete an application, and interview for the position.
  4. A law firm internship looks good on a resume and employers are increasingly expecting to see such internship on a student’s resume.
  5. Legal recruiters like to hire students who have completed internships because it may increase job retention.  They know that interns have experienced the profession and the work world and “know what they are getting into.” 
  6. Students who complete prestigious law firm internships may receive higher salaries when they are hired.
  7. These internships may lead directly to a job offer.
  8. Many law firm internships are fun and great self-confidence builders.
  9. It develops professional abilities in a student.
  10. It makes a student aware of professional atmosphere.
  11. It enables a student to have an experience of client-counselling.
  12. It generates problem solving skills in a student.
  13. Law firm internships builds an entrepreneurial instinct in an intern.
  14. It enhances team spirit in an intern.

Conclusion:

It is necessary that students understand the importance of law firm internships and the role it plays in the legal field. However, completing a law firm internship is not a guarantee of a job but it gives an edge to a student over another. Students who complete internship experiences, or multiple internship experiences, may have an advantage when the time comes for the job search.  Employers recognize the advantage of an internship, but even more importantly, the experience and confidence a student gets from it is vital.

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