Sally Kane writing for About.com has outlined ways to get legal experience during your law studies, or while you are looking for a permanent position upon graduation.
Internships, externships and clinics are a wonderful way to get your feet wet in the legal profession and this experiential learning necessity is much touted by Coastal and the Career Services Department alike. Volunteer positions, both during and after law school, are also great ways to obtain quality experience and the non-profits, public interest organizations and legal aid offices would appreciate the help with tasks that really make a difference in the lives of people and the community. While still in school, extracurricular activities like moot court, writing competitions, writing clinics and more hone your skills that may help you get your foot in the door of legal employers. The more experience you gain during law school can only better prepare you for your practice in the future.
Part-time legal jobs, like file clerks, court filers, data entry clerks and the like may allow you to work in the legal field, or in a particular firm you like until they will consider you for an associate position, if, for example, you are waiting for bar results, or they don’t have an opening. Temping is another method where you may be placed in short-term assignments through a legal staffing agency. Temping is a great way, also, to explore a particular firm and vice versa. Some firms hire temporary employees to recruit permanent staff by testing them out on a trial basis, so keep that option in mind.
Contract jobs are becoming more plentiful in this market as law firms seek ways to reduce costs. In a contract job, you are not considered an “employee” of the firm, but are an independent contractor hired to work on a contract basis. Sometimes, these positions may work as a stepping stone to full-time permanent employment with the firm.