“I haven’t decided upon a profession after graduation. I am still considering the following…”
If this scenario continues with a list of the countless possibilities somebody has after proudly putting his or her Post Graduate Diploma in Law up on the wall, then it is high time you wrote your CV and started applying for internships before you no longer are a student.
Because I am going to tell you more about 5 advantages of an internship.
The following lines are not meant to present the undisputed truth, because neither is this a lecture nor am I entitled to offer you one. Instead, I decided to write about my experience regarding my past internships and if manage to provide some of my readers with food for thought, then my mission will be accomplished.
So, exactly as I promised, I will reveal five important aspects, when it comes to internships, which, in my humble opinion, are a combination of pragmatism and personal development.
The best way to find a profession that suits you is to try it
Also noticeable in the intro, the main reason why I praise the idea of an internship is the “backstage” perspective of the legal professions that it provides. What is more, an internship is the safest way to try a job without a long term agreement, knowing that you can stop practising it at the end of your internship period without any negative consequences (considering you disliked the activities you performed).
Another bonus is the “dose of reality” which wakes you up once you start your internship. To be more specific, we tend to create images of the legal professions which might be distorted due to the movies, documentaries and series which depict scenes and fragments of other legal systems and most of the times it is the anglo-saxon law they choose.
Even if there might still be similarities, the shock comes from the different aspects which sharply separate the real world from what students think of the legal professions. Should they discover this only after graduating, that will certainly add to the confusion of one looking for the perfect job.
We finally put all the theory into practice
While we are students we are trained to become masters of law, but theoretical law. Even if the importance of the hypothetical problems we have to solve during our studies is not to be ignored, once we graduate, these problems will become real, they will no longer respect the patterns we are used to spot, they will arrive in an uncontrolled manner and, finally, they will no longer have the sole purpose of testing our knowledge.
During an internship, you can develop a “hands on” approach for such problems and this will help you accelerate through the basics after you have decided what profession to choose.
However, if you are lacking the needed theoretical skills you will not be able to gain the advantage of the practical approach, because you need a solid base in order to start building.
Apart from good grades, experience matters too
I will refer to this utilitarian advantage as “the employer’s perspective”.
I cannot stress enough the importance of a proactive attitude towards learning and accumulating information, regardless of subject or area. It is already common knowledge that good grades represent the key of success. Due to this never-ending competition between students trying to obtain the best grades, always with the quest of outsmarting their colleagues, we tend to forget about friendships and common sense, which is nothing but the opposite of a healthy mentality. However, this is not the main topic of the article.
At the end of the day, there is a rebuttable presumption: having good grades proves you studied!; having bad grades…well…
Now is the time you can prove this presumption wrong, because obtaining a bad grade on your worst day can affect the way you are evaluated during a job interview. You are more than your grades if you let the experience do the talking, but if the only criteria the interviewers can take into account are represented by your grades…well…
In this area human interaction is unavoidable. It is true that the intensity depends on the specific profession, but it is a fact that interpersonal skills are required whatever you choose to practise. The more people you meet, the more your opportunities will arise and I am not only talking about those related to work.
Let’s imagine a scenario in which you meet your mentor who will guide you and assist you while you evolve as a jurist just because you decided to apply for an internship. Even if you reach the conclusion (after completing an internship) that a specific job is not really your cup of tea, being able to create connections between legal professionals and yourself may lead to outstanding business projects while cooperating from different areas.
New opportunities at every step
It may be the library of the law firm, full of manuals and law magazines you have access to, or the formatting skills you develop while preparing the requested documents, or maybe the public speaking and debate workshops that can push you outside your comfort zone. Regardless of the feature you choose to highlight, the conclusion is that investing time in an internship always pays off!
This article would not have been written if I had not been given this opportunity during my internship, so why not try it? Maybe you will also discover your passion for writing, maybe you want to help prepare the documents that are to be used in court, or maybe you will realise how fascinating intellectual property is. Who knows?
These are just a few aspects which, in my opinion, reveal the importance of internships. Now, even if you just want “the summer practice certificate” required by the Faculty of Law, or you have decided it is time you made a name for yourself and you want to impress, you have to follow the same steps.
So good luck with your next internship!
Legal Intern – R&R Partners Bucharest
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