Internships are single-handedly one of the best ways for law students to get practical legal experience, to start building their networks, to get a sense of practice area interests, and to set themselves up for future success in the legal field. What people often forget is that internships, in particular in-house internships, also provide employers with several benefits that go beyond simply getting more work done. This first article in our two-part series highlights the significant benefits hiring organizations gain by investing in an internship program.
Expose Law Students to the Company and In-House Practice
By their nature, internships allow employers to identify—and possibly court—high-caliber talent at the outset of a student’s legal career. Internship programs serve as a recruiting tool to help reduce the drain on internal recruiters by cultivating a pipeline of former interns to fill future openings. Also, because law school curricula typically focus on litigation practices, and because law firm positions are most common upon graduation, law students are often unfamiliar with what it means or what it takes to be an in-house lawyer. In-house internships can expose students to the operations of in-house legal departments, potential areas of practice within different organizations, and the various career paths of the organization’s practicing (or formerly practicing) lawyers. Once a student has this understanding and experience, it may increase the likelihood that the student will want to pursue an in-house role—and perhaps an in-house role at the same organization—later in his, her, or their career. Additionally, employers seeing quality work from interns may share those same sentiments, keeping the interns in mind for future openings and expanding their potential talent pools. Finally, well-run internships often leave interns with a sense of pride in their work and a strong connection to the organization. These, now former, interns can become great “culture carriers” for the organization, further promoting it to future interns or full-time candidates.