The job search in law school can be stressful. We all know that employers want to see that we had internships during our summers. If you haven’t found a job yet, don’t worry, because a lot of people can find jobs last minute. You just have to be persistent and put in a little work. I found my job for last summer at the end of the spring semester, and I had a great experience.
First, apply for a legal clinic here at USD right now. If you get into a clinic, you can have that as a fall back if you do not find an internship. The clinics give you the kind of practical work experience that you would get as an intern, including researching, writing, and client interviewing skills. USD has a number of clinics, including Civil Clinic, Entrepreneurship Clinic, and State Income Tax Clinic. I worked at the State Income Tax Clinic in the fall, representing clients before the California Franchise Tax Board and the Board of Equalization. I performed a lot of work that an attorney would normally do, and even filed a few briefs before the Board of Equalization. It was an excellent and enjoyable experience, and I would highly recommend working at a clinic, either during the summer or during the school year. Be aware, however, that some of the clinics have prerequisites, and some of them fill up quickly.
To apply, fill out the clinic application and submit your transcript and resume. You can learn more about the clinics on the MySandiego website:
Next, go onto Symplicity’s job board to apply for summer and fall jobs. There are still a lot of employers posting on Symplicity, as many employers’ legal work is not tied to the semester calendar and they are looking for summer help.
Also, be willing to look outside of San Diego, if possible. There are many wonderful jobs to be had outside of this city. I moved to Sacramento last summer for an internship. I loved my job, had a great experience, and made some great friends. Also, everyone wants to be in San Diego for summer, so the competition is heightened. Consider looking in your hometown or in markets like Washington D.C. or Los Angeles. Bigger cities like D.C. and L.A. have a lot more internship opportunities than San Diego.
Don’t limit yourself to just applying to law firms. Look at government agencies, non-profit organizations, and companies with legal departments, as they all can provide high quality legal training.
If you have not done so already, reach out to Career Services. Bring them your resume and tell them what you are interested in and where you will be this summer. They can give you a list of attorneys to contact and maybe some leads.
Next, look up City Attorneys’ offices, both locally and in other cities in which you would consider working. Just Google: “City Attorney [city name].” This is not a well-known resource, but there are often openings in smaller cities like El Cajon and Escondido, and they provide great experience for interns.
Let family, friends, and professors know that you are looking for work! Many jobs are found through referrals, so make use of any contacts you have in the legal field and otherwise. Additionally, start developing more contacts. After finals, go to networking events and use Symplicity or Martindale to look up USD alumni in the field of your choice. If you do not know the attorney yet, you can start by asking him or her to meet you for coffee or lunch so you can get some advice about a legal career. Attorneys love to mentor and help law students.
Also, think outside the box. What are you interested in? Where would you like to work? Go online and start looking. Find firms and organizations that you are interested in, and send them an email with your resume. Passion and enthusiasm can go a long way, and many organizations would welcome the free help.
If you had an interview recently that went well and you have not heard back, consider following up. Send the interviewer a polite email asking whether the position is filled. Sometimes attorneys get busy and do not make a decision right away, or things fall through and a position can open up. It always helps to keep in touch and show that you are interested and motivated. If the position is local, tell them that you would also be interested in working during the school year.
If all else fails, take a class or two over the summer, and focus on finding jobs for the school year. Remember that not everyone works during the school year, and you do not have law students coming from outside of San Diego to work, so there is less competition. You may be able to get a job at your ideal job for the fall or spring.
Last, but not least, remember to STUDY FOR FINALS. Take off the next few weeks and focus exclusively on your exams. Once you are done, take a few days off and then camp out at career services. Talk to the advisors there and have them help you look for jobs, look over your resume, and practice interviewing.
Good luck, and happy hunting!