Perhaps one of the most common questions asked by aspiring paralegals is whether or not they should undergo a paralegal internship. While your situation and career goals may be unique, the answer to this question is a universally – yes. Internships provide unique on-the-job training that is paramount to cultivate an effective paralegal. There are several elements within a paralegal’s job that makes an internship so important.
When you’re in paralegal school, you’ll explore the various theoretical aspects of working as a paralegal as well as the legal industry as a whole. Such as legal terminology, research skills, communication skills and how you operate within the entire legal industry. However, until you’ve actually put this knowledge into action, you’re only seeing half the picture. When you have a paralegal internship, you literally begin to piece together your entire paralegal training, which allows you to then see the big picture.
Benefit #1 – Learning from Your Mistakes
Paralegal Certification Scoop offers some solid advice, stating that one of the most effective ways to sharpen your skills as a paralegal is to simply learn from your mistakes. When you engage in a paralegal internship program, you’re literally able to put into action what you’ve learned in school. Unfortunately, this also means learning from mistakes you’ll most likely make throughout the internship. You won’t get it right all of the time; however, you aren’t expected to. As an intern, your supervisors are prepared to witness you make wrong decisions and make mistakes throughout the course of the internship. However, this is the perfect place to do this. Through your mistakes, you’ll learn clarity and correction. Therefore, when you enter the workforce, you’ll be a well-rounded and fine-tuned paralegal capable of handling anything the job throws at you.
Benefit #2 – Working as a Team
When you’re in school, you’re primarily working solo. However, as a professional paralegal you’ll play an important role within a team environment. Therefore, you must learn how to operate and excel within the legal team. This is where your communication skills will be sharped. Paralegals are often required to work extremely long hours. Therefore, you must be able to learn how to maintain effective and clear communication – even when your brain and body are exhausted. Along with learning how to work as a team member, you’ll also be presented with a unique situation that’s only available to interns – networking. Once you’ve graduated your training program and are ready to hit the job market, the connections you’ve made during your internship could help lead to a job within the firm you interned at or within a similar law firm or office.