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Live the Dream: Turn Your Legal Internship Into a Job Offer

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on July 01, 2016 6:57 AM

Congratulations, you've managed to secure yourself a summer internship position at a firm and you're certainly relieved by your good fortune. But already, you're letting yourself fantasize: "Can I work here as a lawyer?"

Yes, you can, but there's a fair bit of luck involved, too. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to boost your luck and increase your chances of getting an offer.

Make a Good Impression

You've already been hired for the summer, so you've already gotten on their good side. Now you need to stay there. Come in on time, don't make stupid remarks, and look professional. At most law firms, everyone down to the paralegals look pretty well-dressed and comport themselves with a certain minimum level of professionalism. This is even true in hyper-casual Silicon Valley.

Perform

You've been hired to do a job, now do it. Sometimes a firm will hire a summer intern to perform a particular job. If that's the case, then you have no choice but to stick with that job for the remainder of your stay there. We hate to pressure you, but your eventual chances of getting an offer hinge on your performing very well in your task as they might have hired you because you were the best qualified for this one task. Once it's done, you have to make them want to keep you.

Don't Screw Up Majorly

Screw up at a law firm and you're out. Unless you're a partner. This is an accepted reality of law firm culture. Associates are expendable -- especially when there's a line of other eager applicants behind you. Check your work twice. And then again.

Schmooze

People hate to get reminded of this, but schmoozing is one of the most reliable ways of forming political capital with people who matter. The problem is that others are trying to do exactly the same thing. And for some reason, those who have the most influence in a larger firm seem to be completely unaware of being handled. Wield your political blade wisely as it could come back and bite you.

Pass the Bar

This one is obvious. You may have had to take the bar during your summer internship and you won't hear the results until after the internship is done. Nothing kills an offer like news that you didn't pass the bar, so we wish you the best of luck. But you can still maintain good relationships with attorneys in the firm who will help you out when future opportunities arise. Maintain a positive attitude and go at it again.

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