Description of Legal Internships


What exactly are legal internships? Legal internships, also known as law internships, are jobs for students in their final years of an undergraduate or graduate law degree. A legal intern typically supports the legal or research staff of a law firm in developing academic papers, research of legal key topics of both local and international relevance, drafting policy papers, and assisting in preparation of background research for grant proposals.

Examples of Legal Internships

  • Legal Counsel Internships – are for current law students who have strong legal research, writing and analysis skills. Successful legal counsel interns should have an interest in civil rights issues, labor and employment law, or public interest law. It is necessary to have experience with legal writing, such as membership on an academic journal.
  • Law Reform Commission Legal Internships provides opportunities for current law students to work alongside Commission members and legal staff. These legal internships are typically unpaid internships. It gives students a chance to increase their awareness of law reform issues while also allowing the Law Reform Commission (LRC) to benefit from the students research and writing skills. An added benefit is that the intern’s work can be credited in LRC publications. A law reform commission legal intern is supervised by a staff member, and undertakes research work determined by the needs of the LRC.
  • Project-based Legal Internships – involve a wide array of tasks like legal research, preparation of briefs to counsel, submissions to government and affidavits. This involves drafting of consent determinations and court documents. A project legal intern attends and records minutes of group and other meetings, and performs administrative tasks. The intern is also responsible for researching and preparing information for the organization’s website or preparing speeches and attending events at their host organization or other related events.
  • University Legal Internships – are for legal interns who will work with the University Solicitor’s Office which is responsible in the University’s aim to achieve its Strategic and Operational Plans, provide legal advice and services to the members of the executive, academic and administrative staff of legal matters that affect the University, and acts for staff named in any complaint in respect to work related matters.

Legal internships at other organizations could encompass a wider range of legal issues relating to social justice, policy development and indigenous affairs. Often times, legal internships are unpaid internships.  While legal internships are available during the school year, finding summer internships is more common.  Visit Inspiring Interns Information on Legal Internships for more info on legal internships.

Benefits of Legal Internships

The main benefit of doing legal internships is to gain hands-on experience in working with real legal cases. Legal internships will look great on your resume and law school applications. The intern will likely be teamed up with an experienced lawyer and have them as their mentor. This will allow the intern to ask questions and learn more about the industry. Not only that, the intern may be offered a job with the law firm upon graduation. If not, the lawyer can become a valuable professional reference for future jobs.