Your options for getting legal work experience include volunteer service, internships, and apprenticeships. In many cases, you may find that it is easier to get legal work experience if you are enrolled in a law-related school program or have actually completed legal coursework. You may also be able to get legal work experience if you have a background in office administration or library science and can thus get a job working in a law office completing administrative tasks or providing law library services.
If you are interested in getting legal work experience but are not enrolled in an educational program, you may want to consider volunteering at a local legal aid clinic. These clinics provide crucial legal services to disadvantaged families and often rely on volunteer help. While you won't be paid for your work, you will be able to gain valuable legal work experience by donating your time to the organization. You may be able to list your volunteer work on a resume. This can assist you in getting paid employment in the future. In addition, through your volunteer work you will be able to network with legal professionals who may be able to assist you in finding paid employment.
Student internships are typically offered through a partnership between schools and employers. If you are enrolled in a pre-law or legal studies program, talk to your department secretary to find out how internships are coordinated at your school. An internship may be paid or unpaid and can provide you with a structured work opportunity that will give you valuable real-world legal work experience. In some cases, there can be a great deal of competition for legal internships, so it is a good idea to research your options thoroughly and allow yourself plenty of time to complete the application process.
In some cases, it is possible to get legal work experience through an apprenticeship. If you are interested in working as a legal assistant, secretary, or paralegal, you may be able to find an apprenticeship that will allow you to combine practical legal work experience with academic coursework. Apprenticeship programs may be sponsored by government agencies or professional organizations, and you can typically find out information about these programs by contacting a public employment agency in your area. Schools that teach courses in paralegal or office administration studies may also be able to provide you with information on apprenticeship opportunities.