Are you trying to decide what to do this summer that will make your law school application stand out? Consider these ideas:
1. Intern at a district attorney’s or public defender’s office. Usually, these organizations don’t have the resources to pay interns, but you can approach them individually and ask if they would be willing to let you come in a few days a week to observe lawyers. Even if there’s no official program or internship, it doesn’t hurt to ask. It’s a great way to get exposure to the court system.
2. Take a job that you are passionate about. Have you always considered being a journalist or filmmaker? Try getting a job that fascinates you. Law schools look for people with initiative who are willing to try new things.
3. Travel with purpose. Have you always wanted to see Peru? Consider traveling with a volunteer group where you will gain experience and spend time in an international location.
4. Volunteer, but make it count. Law schools look for people who care about people. Look for a volunteer position where you will have contact with a wide diversity of people – crisis center counseling or children’s advocacy. Explore positions where you can take on a sustained and meaningful role to show dedication and follow-through.
5. Be a leader. Accept responsibility when it’s offered to you. Look for ways that you can improve the organization you volunteer with either by improving a current system or filling a gap. Law schools look for people who are resourceful and take ownership of their work. Don’t wait for people to come to you – give them something that they need.
The conclusion is that there’s no one job you should pursue for law school. Certainly, a law-related internship or job will enhance your application, but you can also look for a part-time job or volunteer opportunity during the school year.
Jessica Pishko graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School and received an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She spent two years guiding students through the medical school application process at Columbia’s PostBacc Program and teaches writing at all levels.