If you are in law school and considering a career in criminal law as either a prosecutor or a defense lawyer, you will want to start the search early for criminal law student jobs. You will also want to learn how much is involved with being a criminal lawyer, or a state or federal prosecutor. Knowing how crime is adjudicated and how it goes through the legal process is an important part of your job, but it isn’t the only thing. When you want to work in criminal law as a profession, the way you reach that job is as important as the job itself fort any criminal lawyer or future state or federal prosecutor. The sooner you begin looking for criminal law student jobs, the better. But you want to be sure that you do it right. Use this guide and this tip list on how to score the internship if your dreams if you are looking for a profession in criminal law.
1. Learn the Layers of Criminal Law Ahead of Time
Some legal professions such as family law, real estate law, personal injury law, civil litigation, or tax law are fairly cut and dry attorney fields. Criminal law isn’t really the same. This is a dangerous area of law where judges and attorneys alike put their lives on the line for their state and country every day. You will want to lean the layers of criminal law ahead of time, before you decide how and what criminal law student jobs you will want to pursue.
You will also want to investigate both sides of this field, the prosecutor and the defense perspectives, when you are doing your research. You may even want to get criminal law student jobs back to back in each of these fields to test it for yourself. At the same time, the best attorneys in criminal law today have experience on both sides of the bench. Many prosecutors will retire from public defense to move towards criminal defense during their careers for their own reasons.
This is something that you may want to consider, while understanding you don’t have to make multiple decisions of your life all at once. There are many layers to criminal law that can help you to determine where you want to work. You may want to be a bail bond criminal lawyer, or a federal criminal defense attorney. DUI attorneys are also always in high demand, and you may want to specialize your law practice in something like that.
In criminal law, there are many different things you can do with your law degree. You don’t have to represent killers if you don’t want to. But, if you do, you want to know that ahead of time. Before you begin looking for criminal law student jobs, take some time to really think about what you want to do with your career.
If your dream is to be a federal attorney one day, for example, then looking for jobs in bail bonds may not be the most ideal task for you. You will want to hone your job search according to your own wishes. So in this example, you’ll want to clerk for judges or work in the state attorney office in your state or local community. You may also do well as a future federal attorney one day by starting your job search with criminal defense attorneys.
No matter what law job you end up with, you will need to understand both sides of the tables. That will help you to become the best lawyer you can be. You will know how the other side works when it comes time to preparing motions and arguments for your own days in court. Learn the different layers of criminal law during your search, and this will help you to hone in on the potential internships and student jobs that you can apply for.
2. Keep Internship Expectations Real
A lot of potential lawyers go into their internships thinking this is going to be their dream come true. It isn’t always going to be that way though. Keep your expectations realistic when you are looking for criminal law student jobs. You may need an internship in order to get credits to keep your law degree, in which case you will want to keep your salary expectations low, for example.
Know what is involved in your internship, and this will help you to hone your application accordingly. An internship is a typically unpaid or low-paid job for students where they work alongside professionals and learn the everyday structures of the job. You want to apply with firms and lawyers that have experience and are willing to put in the time to show you how the job works. Many lawyers will not.
You may not learn this for 20 years. Every lawyer gets paid by the hour, and they want to make as many billable hours as they can. Helping you learn where the coffee machine is will not do that for them. Some lawyers will not care and will want you there to learn and grow, but some will.
Keep your internship expectations real, and this will make the application process easier for you. Don’t be shy about putting your expectations out there when you are looking for criminal law student jobs. At the same time, being realistic about your expectations will show in your interviews, and can help you to land jobs. Most lawyers are very good at reading people, and you want to be able to shine with realistic expectations that can help you land the job and help people in the long run.
3. Fine Tune Your Interests Early
When you want to be a criminal lawyer, you want to fine-tune your interests early. This is a little bit different than understanding the layers of criminal law. There are so many different things to be interested in with law. You may begin searching for criminal law student jobs and wind up with something in a personal injury law firm or with a car accident lawyer instead.
At this point in your life, it may not matter where you get your work. An internship will give you invaluable experience. You may even learn in a personal injury firm that you would prefer that over a criminal defense job. Alternatively, you may develop an even keener interest in criminal law if you wind up with a different field that is outside your interests and scope.
Fine-tune your interests early in the application process, and you will have an easier time finding a job that will match your needs. Many lawyers have a broad range of interests and do not fine-tune those interests until they have been in the field for a few years or a decade or so. You don’t have to know exactly what you want here. You just need to generalize your own search such that if you do not want to work in a real estate law firm, you don’t apply to those jobs to begin with.
4. Match Your Goals to Your Qualifications on Your Application
No matter what job you are applying for after law school, or any educational experience, the way you apply will matter. Once you have done the research to understand internships and understand what you personally want, you can begin the excitement of the application process. Here you want to write your application as if you were a potential lawyer.
Remember that you want to be hired here. Define your goals clearly and match them to the qualifications that you are bringing to the table when you apply for this job. Your short-term goals are to complete the class you need the internship for and to finish law school, and this is implied in the application. For this step in the application process, tell the law firm something they don’t already know and expect about you.
When you are highlighting your qualifications, you can’t be fake here. Go back to your term papers and essays and find the compliments that your teachers and research assistants have given you. Include those on your list of qualifications when you are looking for criminal law student jobs. Find concrete ways that measure those skills and qualifications and include those in your application.
5. Take Your Time Preparing the Applications
The legal world happens to be a small one in every community. Lawyers on both sides of the aisles will come to know each other very well over the course of their careers if they stay in that community. Take your time preparing your applications because you never know when you will become a pillar of that community that comes to know these people well. Every internship in law school has the potential to become a permanent fixture in your life, so you want to put an extraordinary amount of time into ensuring your applications will land you the precise internship that you want.
While there are some applications that you can skim over, you want to highlight yourself and your desire to help people as much as possible during the application process. Before you begin your applications for criminal law student jobs, make sure that you know exactly what is involved in the application process. This is not a job application where you can skip steps and hope that nobody will notice. Make a list of every single point on the application process, and take the time to tend to every item on that list meticulously.
Function as a future employee without being too arrogant during this process. If this is a dream internship, remember that this is the only time you have to make that first impression. Do not let a spelling error, a grammatical typo or an inaccuracy miss this for you. Go over your application requirements, and every word on your application closely.
By now, in your legal experience, you may even have some legal people in your social or academic network who can help you. Ask someone to review your application for any issues that they may see that would prevent you from landing the ideal internship. Choose someone from a different field so that you can get an idea of how lawyers will look at that application in the meantime. Then, customize your application with those suggestions, and after that review it.
6. Practice and Be On Time for the Interview
In the legal world, everything is deadline-oriented and time-oriented. You will have to be in court, particularly in criminal defense or criminal law, a lot. You have to be on time. You want to find a way to showcase this as a skill for potential internships.
While it may be true that some students might get criminal law student jobs despite not being on time, there aren’t going to be very many of those jobs around. This is the time in your academic career when you want to rise above the surrounding competition. Be on time. Being early is even better, but on time is the benchmark and expectation in the legal field.
The next step will be to have the interview. If you have applied on time, you’ve landed an interview and are about to make an even better impression. You will want to practice ahead of time for this interview. This is not an interview that you can fake.
Again, you’ll want to utilize existing connections in the legal world that can help you here. You may want to ask for help here from one of your law professors or a fellow student who may be a senior to you in law school. Find an expert that can help you to practice and prepare for this interview. Being a good lawyer is all about being prepared, and your practice and preparation will show when it comes time to land the job.
When you are trying out for criminal law student jobs, be prepared through every step of the application process. Follow up with the firms after your interviews. Be a lawyer from beginning to end to land the job of your dreams.