I received a voicemail or email offering me a summer internship. How should I respond?
First, respond to the employer quickly via the same communication method they used. Convey your enthusiasm and continued interest in the position, and thank them for the opportunity.
- If you are comfortable accepting the offer, do so and ask what next steps you must complete (there is always paperwork) and when you should start.
- If you are not comfortable accepting on the spot (especially if this position is not your first choice and you are waiting to hear back from other employers), then you may say that you appreciate the offer and you are interested, but will need some time to consider it. If they do not suggest a time frame for your decision, you should ask when they expect your response.
How much time generally is provided to consider an offer?
It depends, and the allowable time varies considerably by employer. When extending an offer, small law firms, government agencies and public interest organizations may request that you accept or decline the offer within 24 or 48 hours, or may give you a week or more. Large law firms generally request an answer within two weeks, but under the NALP Guidelines, may leave offers open for 28 days for 2L summer employment or to 3Ls for post-graduate employment depending on the circumstances. If you are waiting to hear from another employer, you may want to request additional time to consider your options. The employer may or may not grant such a request, so you should be prepared to move forward if your request is not granted.
What should I do if I receive a job offer but am waiting on the results of another interview? In deciding whether to accept an offer, how can I find out whether I am under serious consideration by another employer?
First, acknowledge the offer immediately and express appreciation for the opportunity. Ask when the employer needs an answer from you. Please consult with your career advisor at this point. Before making a final decision, students often want to weigh all of their viable options. If you already interviewed or have an interview scheduled with your preferred employer, you may wish to contact that employer to inquire about your status in the consideration process. You should explain that you have received an offer from another employer, and let your preferred employer know that they would be your first choice, but you must respond to the offer in hand by a certain date. This conversation may spur your preferred employer into action, or you may learn that you have to make a decision on the offer you have received without additional information from your preferred employer.
What if the employer wants an answer before I will hear back from my preferred employer?
You will have to decide whether to take a risk and decline an offer prior to receiving one from another employer.
May I continue to apply or interview for jobs after I have accepted an offer?
No. Once you have accepted an offer for a summer or post-graduate position, you should not continue to apply or interview for employment that conflicts with your commitment. If you are committed for only half of the summer, be transparent about your availability with potential employers in your applications and interviews so as not to create a conflict.
Once I accept an offer, how should I handle other interviews already scheduled?
Once you accept an offer of employment, you should call to cancel all other scheduled interviews for employment that will conflict with your accepted employment. Interviewing when you cannot, or do not wish to, accept employment jeopardizes your reputation, wastes the employer’s time, and decreases other students’ interview opportunities. Once you accept an offer from an employer, even for an unpaid internship, it is inappropriate and against school policy to continue to search for other employment or renege on your acceptance.
What should I say to decline an offer?
You should communicate with the employer in the same mode (phone or email) as the offer was made. Simply state that you appreciate the opportunity but after careful consideration you have decided to accept an offer from another employer. You may want to indicate that you hope to stay in contact with the employer, and even offer to volunteer during the academic year or work over school breaks. Be prepared to tell the employer you are declining which offer you have accepted.
After receiving an offer from a judge for a clerkship or judicial internship, may I ask for an extension of time to consider the offer or continue interviewing with other judges?
No. Federal judges and many state court judges are offended if you do not accept an offer immediately. Unlike other legal employers, judges will not let you hold their offer while you wait for a better one. Some judges make offers at the time of the interview, or within a day or two, so you should be prepared to accept the judge’s offer on the spot. If you do not withdraw your application shortly after an interview, the judge will assume your willingness to accept the position if offered. Once you accept the position, contact all the judges with whom you have outstanding applications to withdraw yourself from consideration, and withdraw any pending applications in OSCAR. It is an expected courtesy, and since you may appear in front of that judge one day, you will want to be on good terms.