GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way,
1L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School
I was excited to be a legal intern, but I couldn’t block the thought that maybe I wouldn’t know enough to be useful.
Most summer jobs begin sometime in mid-May, mine however started at the beginning of the month so I’m already one week in.
When applying for summer jobs I cast a fairly small net. I knew I wanted to work in a field I was familiar with, so I stuck to personal injury, medical malpractice, housing, and anything human rights centered when sending applications. In the end I accepted a position as a housing discrimination and benefits intern at a public interest organization in Boston.
Before starting I had butterflies in my stomach; I was excited to be a legal intern, but I couldn’t block the thought that maybe I wouldn’t know enough to be useful. One week later and those butterflies are gone. Not only are the people at my job placement amazingly supportive, I was actually astounded by how much I’m capable of, and how much I enjoy the work! Thus far I’ve done everything from client intake interviews, to document production.
In terms of preparedness, my legal writing course came in handy when it was time to research a tricky loop hole and compile a memorandum on the subject, while believe it or not, civil procedure came into play during my introductory reading on benefits and appeals. And while I don’t know what the rest of the summer will throw my way, I do feel prepared to handle it, and so should you when you get to your 1L summer job!
Remember these three things and you will excel at whatever summer job you choose:
(1) you know more than you think you do, and for the times you don’t know, utilize your research skills to find out;
(2) your supervisor and essentially everyone at the office is there to support you, so don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or assistance, and;
(3) you’re only a 1L, they don’t expect perfection, but they do expect a positive attitude and strong work ethic.