10 Law Internships for High School Students
If you’re hoping to enter a career in law, you may be looking for ways to pad your resume in high school. There are many summer activities you can do as a hopeful future lawyer, including a law internship. Law internships are a great way to get exposure to law careers and see if they are right for you. The experience is also helpful to add to your college applications to demonstrate your interest and prove your commitment to the legal profession.
In this post, we will cover some great law internships for high school students.
10 Law Internships for High School Students
The U.S. Department of the Interior offers a paid internship for students from the high school to graduate level. Different hiring agencies within the DOI offer either part-time or full-time internships which are related to the intern’s academic field of study or desired career.
This program will grant interns an inside look into public and environmental policy, and even offers the chance to eventually convert interns (if certain criteria are met) to a permanent job position or a temporary position for one to four years.
For those interested in criminal law or post-conviction law, apply for The California Innocence Project Legal Internship. This program requires interns to work in person in their San Diego office. There are three different sessions (summer, fall, and spring) and you apply for the specific session you’d like to attend. The program has flexible hours, but prefers interns to work 15 to 35 hours a week (as a high school student, this time commitment might only be feasible during the summer session).
High school students in grades 9-12 can attend the NSLC’s nine-day program to get a taste of what it is like to be a lawyer (this is more of an introductory program than an internship). The program is offered various weeks from June to early August at American University and Georgetown University in Washington DC. Throughout the nine days, students are able to simulate a criminal trial, visit a law school, and meet with trial, jury, forensic and legal experts.
Though this program has a hefty tuition, if you’re passionate about a career in law, the hands-on experience in a mock courtroom with practicing attorneys can be an invaluable addition to your resume. Also, you can always find external scholarships to help cover the cost.
The District of Columbia Courts invites D.C. high school students to partake in their Passport to Work Youth Employment Services Program, which is a paid internship designed to expose students to the inner-workings of a career in law. The program consists of seminars to teach high schoolers the skills necessary to be a successful lawyer, like communication and time management. While students’ tasks may be more clerical, working in a legal environment allows them to observe the legislative process firsthand.
To see the available internships, click on “internships” in the left-hand corner.
If you’re interested in law as it relates to politics and elected officials, reaching out to local government officials is a great way to cultivate relationships with local government and see how you can enact change at the community level.
For instance, the Alameda County District Attorney offers a Justice Academy, which consists of a six month program for local high school students aged 16 and up. The academy involves attending interactive seminars twice a month and working in a professional setting. This internship will allow students to work under those who influence the policies which affect them on a daily basis.
Interning under government officials is a great way to get first-hand law experience from those who are currently involved in public policy. You should reach out to people in government positions that reflect areas that you’re interested in or politicians whose platforms and policies intrigue you.
For example, Congresswoman Lucy McBath offers full-time and part-time internships in Washington, D.C. during Fall, Spring, and Summer. Interns will get an inside look into how a congressional office operates by attending hearings and briefs, researching and drafting written materials, and answering calls from constituents. Interns are given stipends and will work virtually until further notice is given.
The National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF) offers students a program with a focus in either legal or criminal science investigation careers. The Law program allows high schoolers to observe proceedings and participate in a mock trial at a local courthouse. Also, law school professionals will help demystify the law school trajectory and introduce students to the various career paths in law. This is another opportunity that is more of an introductory program than an internship.
NYU encourages high school students to attend free classes taught on Saturdays from 10 am to 1 pm by NYU Law and undergraduate students. The program is currently operating remotely during the Fall 2021 semester due to COVID-19, but might return to an in-person learning environment for future sessions.
Topics of study include constitutional law, criminal law, and moot court. Classes are discussion-based and are structured to reflect student interests. Also, the institute includes a College Day and Graduation. The College Day consists of a family workshop which introduces students to the college process. The Graduation involves a mock trial and moot court competitions with students from Columbia’s program and ends with a formal ceremony. This opportunity is not an internship, but is a program that will still help students learn more about the field.
Another great place to look for law internships is at your state’s bar association. Many regions or counties also have bar associations that could offer internships to local high schoolers. Internships at bar associations can grant you an inside look at what lawyers and legal professionals do in their typical work day.
Particularly, North Dakota’s State Bar Association has a Mock Trial Program for high schoolers. In this program, students are introduced to the American legal system and learn about the trial process while developing valuable critical thinking and reasoning skills. The program prepares students to compete in the National High School Mock Trial Championship, a competition which gathers students across the United States (and even some international teams) to conduct mock trials.
For high school students who attend a Title I school and whose parents have not attended college, the Constitutional Rights Foundation has created the Expanding Horizons Institute. Along with preparing students for college via SAT prep and college admissions advice, this program provides civic engagement and exposure to professional career paths. You should take advantage of these types of internships, as they will offer invaluable networking opportunities and can help guide you towards a career in law.
How Much Do Internships Impact Your College Chances?
You probably know that all extracurriculars don’t carry the same weight in the admissions process. Despite being similar categorically, the ones listed in this blog post have varying levels of commitment and prestige, and will be viewed differently by admissions officers based on several factors.
But even with that knowledge, choosing and prioritizing your extracurriculars can be a convoluted process. Admissions officers break these activities into a four-tier system, which has several subcategories from A-L. The more impressive and rare the extracurricular, the higher the tier; a law internship would likely fall under Tier 3 or potentially Tier 2 if it is extremely selective or prestigious.
By using our free chancing engine, you can get a better sense of where your extracurriculars rank and how to boost your current involvement up a few tiers. You can also view your personalized chances of admission based on your profile and get tips for improving your chances.