Interning in a Local Law Office

This document is based on the experience of UNLV student, Lauren Collins, whose recent internship was quite typical. While she talks about “you” and what “you” can expect, please remember that your experience may not be just like hers. Here are some of hers:

The Initial Meeting with a Client

During this portion of the internship, you learn how attorneys decide which cases they take and not take. There is an interview with the clients and documents are signed. You will sit in on these. You will also gather information from the clients and enter/create both a virtual and paper filing.

The Filing Process

This is where you learn the basics of the firm. All clients have files created on them to keep track of their status. Knowing how to do this is valuable because as the research and legal writing begins, you will want to know how to access these files and read the information properly.

During this stage, you will also be communicating with other law firms and paralegals to help gather all the pertinent information needed for the lawsuit.

Legal Writing

In this portion of your internship, your attorneys or the paralegals in the office will help you draft letters to insurance companies, clients, other firms, and businesses. This is taken very seriously and it is very interesting.

  • You learn legal verbiage – Very useful for any career field people choose.
  • You will learn how complaints are drafted. These are the actual documents being used to file a lawsuit. By the time you complete your internship, you may even be able to draft a complaint, summons, arbitration brief, and interrogatories.
  • Arbitration or Mediation Procedures – To settle a case without having to go to trial.

Litigation

Litigation is when a case actually goes to court for trial. You may get a chance to attend.

  • Here, you will work very closely with the attorneys and they mentor you through the process. You will see the daily tasks they complete as they prepare for trial.
  • You will meet with clients to help the attorneys prepare them for depositions.
  • You will attend depositions, which is where the counsel asks the parties in the lawsuit questions pertaining to the case. These are sometimes filled with excitement and tense emotions. You will learn a lot about professionalism between opposing attorneys and the etiquette of the legal world.

Some Thoughts About Your Application to Law School

The internship experience can also be a most positive component of your eventual application to law school, and if all goes well, it could earn you a very valuable letter of recommendation from your attorney.