COVID-19 has changed all of our lives in ways large and small. But what has not changed is the potential value of a summer legal internship. Your internship is an opportunity to:
- Perform at your consistent best for several weeks, while helping to solve problems
- Learn about areas of the law, legal processes, and the people with whom you work
- Grow as a person and a professional, while building your resume
Here are seven steps to maximize your summer internship:
- Know the Setup. Many employers are still adjusting to remote arrangements in both their work processes and lines of communication. Make yourself part of the solution by:
- Knowing how, when, and with whom you should communicate.
- Learning any unfamiliar technology or software that is critical to doing your job.
- Asking questions early. Tell your employer that you wish to contribute most effectively to their work, and ask questions that will give you the knowledge to be a contributor.
- Observe three Be’s.
- Be flexible. A remote internship arrangement is likely just as new to your supervisor as it is to you. Processes may change on the fly. Roll with it, and help solve problems.
- Be accessible. When you are expected to be “at your desk,” be there. Be accessible through remote communication channels. And show that you are a team player by offering to lend a hand or take an extra assignment.
- Be precise. Facetime with your supervisor may come seldomly, so speak through your work product. Write efficiently, and get to the point. Proofread everything from your quick-and-informal email replies to your legal writing assignments.
- Project Positivity. Resilience is (the good kind of) contagious. By rising to today’s challenging circumstances with a positive attitude and eagerness to solve problems, you will 1) impress your supervisors and 2) help people around you to stay well.
- Build relationships. You can still do this! Exercise courtesy and kindness with supervisors, coworkers, and staff. Discuss with your supervisor how you may add networking and “get to know you” experiences into your internship. You may even be able to organize these opportunities for interns, via videoconference. Regardless of COVID-19, we learn, grow, and achieve by building healthy professional relationships. It is worth the investment.
- Produce a writing sample. If it is within the scope of your job responsibilities, seize opportunities to produce a writing sample. Even confidential work product may be edited and repurposed as writing samples, with appropriate redactions and your supervisor’s permission.
- Request feedback. Make it known that your goal is to deliver the best work product possible. To that end, ask for constructive criticism on your assignments and overall performance.
- Express gratitude. Always thank people who help you get the job done, and notice especially when coworkers help you in small ways.
Your Summer 2020 internship will certainly be memorable.
Make those memories positive, and make the experience productive and fulfilling.