Studying law is not for the faint of heart. The rigorous studies in law school and long working hours mean that lawyers, judges, and other careers in the legal field have their work cut out for them. Not to mention, depending on your area of law, the stakes and pressure can be extremely high. Nonetheless, the possibilities of understanding and shaping the sociopolitical frameworks of contemporary society attracts bright and compassionate minds! As a high school student, you may be wondering what you can do to get involved. Do you have what it takes to be a lawyer? There’s one reliable way to find out: gaining hands-on experience. Here are a few extracurricular activities in the legal field to get you started.
First, let’s note that it is difficult to find legal internships and programs for high school students. After all, it’s a busy system and many people’s lives depend on the outcomes of their cases! In fact, it’s often rather difficult to find good legal internships until you are at least enrolled in college as an undergraduate student. The good news is that you have a lot of time before you apply for law school to build up your exposure and experience. In the meantime, there are extracurricular activities in the legal field—and related to it—for you to explore.
Here are some tips from a current law student, sharing his personal experience and perspective on this subject.
What extracurricular activities in the legal field will help me stand out?
I’m currently a second-year (2L) law student at USC [the University of Southern California]. Because I couldn’t find any good legal internships in high school, I did the next best thing and worked in government and politics. I did Boy’s State in California and I interned for my Assemblymember at their district office. I think these programs really made me stand out when I applied for college and law school. Interning for your local elected officials is a great way to show your interest in the lawDan* from the Research Team
Where can I start finding extracurricular activities in the legal field?
So, we know that finding good internships in the legal field for high schoolers is going to be pretty sparse. Despite the challenges, there are ways to put your foot in the door and start building foundational skills.
- Firstly, it’s recommended to reach out to any local law firms and ask if they need any help around their nearby offices.
- Additionally, reach out to the local state representatives to inquire about internships at their district offices in your city. You can make a lot of good legal connections working in local government!
What does that mean for you?
Let’s break that down. First, consider reaching out to law firms in your city area. Most law firms don’t have organized internships for high school students, but smaller firms are always looking for volunteers. You can always start by (respectfully) emailing and calling the firms near you to see if they have any opportunities for you to get involved and help out with research or office needs.
For the second strategy, you’ll need to do some state-level research. Most state Assemblymembers offer internships and programs for high-school students. We would recommend reaching out to the Assemblymember and asking if they need any assistance in their local district office. Offer your services as an intern and provide them with your availability.
Looking for more?
Below is a short list of legal internships and programs for high schoolers! Consider picking up one or more of these extracurricular activities in the legal field to add to your college resume. Note that the majority of these internships or programs charge a tuition fee.
July 9-14, July 16-21, and July 23-28.
$3,045 – $3,245
Students will get hands-on, evidence analysis and courtroom forensic simulations. The legal track will allow students to visit a courthouse and observe proceedings and perform a mock trial. Students will visit George Mason University for a behind-the-scenes college experience. Students will also get a guided tour through the nation’s capital.
The National Student Leadership Conference offers a multitude of summer programs. The law & advocacy program offers the chance to work hand in hand with practicing attorneys as they examine the evidence, research the issues, and build their cases. Students will work on their public speaking by preparing opening and closing arguments, applying courtroom techniques, leading a jury trial, and learning about the law school process throughout the program.
High School students from across the state meet in the summer to get hands-on experience in politics and government. The students will run for office, hold elections, pass laws, and run the state as public servants. This program (separated into boys’ and girls’ editions) is offered for boys and girls in most states. Please note that eligible students must have completed their junior year of high school.
Here are a handful of other high school extracurricular activities in the legal field that are worth looking into as well! In no particular order:
- New York University’s High School Law Institute (HSLI)
- Expanding Horizons Institute (EHI)
- The DOI Pathways Program
- The California Innocence Project
- The DC Courts’ Passport to Work Program
- ACLU’s National Advocacy Institute
- Intensive Law & Trial at Stanford University
- US Senate’s Congressional Page Program
If none of these programs work out for you or aren’t in your budget, there are still ways you can be involved this summer. Taking classes, studying for your standardized exams, and perfecting your written and spoken communication skills will all pay dividends down the line. The most important thing for high school students to remember is to use their summer break and other free time wisely!
For more college advice and admissions coaching, reach out to Empowerly. Our tried-and-true method of encouraging and supporting students to be their best selves can help launch your best future. What are you waiting for?