Legal internships provide an opportunity for students or recent graduates to gain work experience, refine their legal expertise, and provide valuable support to a law firm. A legal intern can assist attorneys in researching, writing, and helping with both incoming and existing cases.
Has your law firm thought about hiring a part-time or full-time legal intern? Here is how a legal intern can add value to your firm:
A New Perspective
Legal interns are only at your firm for a few months, so they are not accustomed to your firm’s website, advertisements, or other visual materials. A fresh pair of eyes may spot web design flaws or note improvements that can ultimately help your firm stay competitive in your field.
Find Traits of an Ideal Employee
When you are interviewing and hiring an intern, you know what your firm is looking for: Someone who is intelligent, adaptable, and willing to learn. But what about the qualities that are tough to judge in an interview, but are indispensable elements of a successful employee? An intern may be the total package on paper with a great resume, cover letter, and a high GPA – but what if he or she does not work well with others?
A “bad” intern hire can help your firm learn what kind of employee you might want to hire in the future. For example, you might notice that you will want to hire someone who is team-oriented and willing to work well with others if you have noticed that your current intern does not work well with others. Hiring an intern can allow you to find the different personalities that work well and do not work within your law firm. If an intern has a bad attitude, he or she will only be in your office for a few months and you will be able to be on the lookout for someone else who is a better fit.
Modern Technology/Social Media Skills
Most legal interns will be active on social media. With his or her's expertise, he or she will be able to improve your firm’s Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram pages. The intern will have the techniques and skills to help your firm engage with clients. An intern can even teach your current staff the latest social media trends, saving you from having to hire a pricey social media marketer just to reach your target audience.
The Ability to Give Advice in a Mentor/Mentee Relationship
The ability to teach the new generation of freshly-motivated students how to explore different legal fields is rewarding in itself. As an attorney, you will be able to tell the intern your own past mistakes and successes and give him or her valuable feedback which can further his/her future legal career.
Free Marketing for Your Firm
Attorneys have various marketing options to choose from. Depending how you treat your intern, he or she will be able to spread good or bad insight about your law firm to their social circles (for free!). In turn, the intern’s parents and friends may recommend your firm to others in need of legal help. The better you treat your intern through engaging and educational experiences, the greater likelihood your law firm will receive some free, word-of-mouth advertising.
A Potential New Hire
If you hire a legal intern who does an excellent job, and is eager to learn and trusting, you may have found a brand new attorney or legal assistant to hire full-time after the internship is complete. When working with a legal intern over the course of a few months, you will find out how they work under pressure, both with the team and on cases. In addition, your intern will already be knowledgeable about the history of your practice and know the people on your team. If you can see potential growth, your firm has just saved time in training a new full time hire, money in hiring efforts, and energy looking for a new full-time attorney or assistant.
If your firm has never had a legal intern or is thinking about hiring interns, consider taking the plunge. Working with a legal intern is beneficial not only for the intern’s personal experience, but also for the growth and profitability of your law firm.