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Law Internships for High School Students

December 7, 2023
6 min read


Reviewed by:

David Merson

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 12/7/23

It’s never too early to begin preparing for your career. If you’re a high school student hoping to become a lawyer, read on to learn more about the internships you can pursue to develop your legal skills.

During your undergrad, you’ll be expected to participate in diverse extracurriculars to hone your legal skills and boost your law school resume. But did you know you can begin preparing for law school well before your undergrad? 

While law schools won’t be concerned with your high school experiences or grades, joining a law internship during high school can still benefit you as an aspiring law student. These benefits and top law internships for high school students will be discussed further in this guide!

10 Law Internships for High Schoolers

There are several great internship options for high schoolers to choose from. For instance, you could pursue law firm internships, summer internships offered by law schools, or internship programs created by legal organizations. Along with internships, there are a ton of valuable pre-law summer programs out there. 

To give you a range of options to choose from, here are our top 10 law internships geared towards high school students.

Female Intern sitting with lawyers

Summer Law Intern Program

The justice department offers internships to students interested in learning more about the law. High school students are eligible for the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Summer Law Intern Program, which allows them to work with legal agencies and explore federal careers.

This is a paid position, and successful students may be eligible for permanent job placement in civil service after their internship, which can prove useful on your law school resume.

The NYU High School Law Institute (HSLI)

New York University is one of the T14 law schools. Employers highly regard it, and it is typically at the top of every aspiring law student’s list! NYU offers an internship program to teach students more about constitutional law, commercial law, and debate.

While the HSLI program is not an internship, it can still help you hone your legal skills. It involves free, year-long, in-person academic programming for eligible students on Saturdays from 10 AM to 1 PM. 

Current NYU law students teach these courses, and each class involves lively discussion, classroom activities, and homework assignments that can be tailored to each student’s interests. 

The Wake Forest University Summer Immersion Program

Wake Forest University’s Summer Immersion Program focuses on debate and public advocacy to aid students in their communication and argument-building skills. 

In this week-long program, students will discuss current events and learn skills such as legal reasoning, persuasion, and how to confidently and passionately advocate for themselves and others. 

The cost to participate in this program is $2,800. It takes place on the university campus, where students will be provided boarding and meals. After completing this program, students will receive a Wake Forest University Certificate of Completion.

The NYLF Law & CSI Program

Have you watched every true crime documentary on Netflix? Or, have you always had an interest in understanding the criminal mind? If you have, George Mason’s National Youth Leadership Forum’s (NYLF) Criminal Science Investigation Pathway Program may be the perfect internship for you! 

This six-day program gives students hands-on experience with evidence analysis through forensic simulations. You will also be able to discuss the latest high-tech applications used during criminal investigations with forensic scientists and distinguished faculty.

For students interested in the general Law Pathway instead, you’ll visit a courthouse where you’ll participate in a mock trial and receive an introduction to the law school path and curriculum. 

Regardless of the program you choose, you’ll have a chance to visit George Mason University to gain insight into the admissions process and experience their campus life. This program will cost $4,195, and you’ll be provided boarding at a nearby hotel and transportation to and from campus.

The ACLU High School Summer Internship

Summer law internships are popular because they don’t interfere with students’ busy schedules. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) offers high school students a six-week internship program working with a civil rights and liberties organization.

Students will learn the ins and outs of what it takes to be a social justice advocate and run a non-profit organization. This is a paid position; students will work in New York two days a week for 20 hours per week. They will be paid $15 an hour and can expect to perform the following duties:

  • Assisting with administrative tasks like filing, data entry, and organizing documents
  • Shadowing staff and participating in meetings
  • Assisting with event planning 
  • Conducting relevant research and creating reports
  • Participating in team projects
  • Participating in workshops to gain new skills

Students must apply using a resume and cover letter, sharing their reasons for applying to ACLU and demonstrating their commitment to social justice. 

Interns working in office

The California Innocence Project 

The California Innocence Project is a well-known non-profit organization that seeks to exonerate inmates, some of whom are on death row, who claim to be wrongfully convicted of crimes. Considering this organization reviews more than 2,000 cases annually, they require several volunteers to help them in their mission. 

High school students can apply for unpaid internships, where they’ll work anywhere from 15-35 hours per week. Students will have the unique opportunity to work on real criminal cases and learn more about how to gather evidence to create a persuasive argument.

These internships are limited and often highly competitive, so you must submit a strong application!

The National Student Leadership Conference Law & Advocacy Program

The National Student Leadership Conference holds a summer Law and Advocacy Program at Yale and Georgetown, two prominent law schools. During this program, students enter mock courtrooms, assume the role of a trial attorney, and fight for justice.

Students will be involved in the entire court process, including examining evidence, preparing witnesses, researching, building a case, and presenting an argument to the court. The main skills you’ll hone through this program include:

  • Conflict resolution
  • Negotiation
  • Public speaking
  • Intrapersonal communication
  • Research
  • persuasion

This nine-day program will cost $3,795 at the Georgetown campus and $3,895 at the Yale campus. This cost includes housing, on-campus meals, course materials, transportation for off-campus tours, and other activities.

The Nashville Bar Association High School Intern Program

Many state bar associations offer high school intern programs. The Nashville Bar Association is currently offering a Diversity Committee Summer Intern Program where students will be placed in law firms, corporate legal departments, and government law offices in the heart of the state.

This paid, seven-week internship gives students direct access to the legal field and the opportunity to network to gain legal mentors. Nashville aims to hire only the best and brightest students for these positions, so you must demonstrate academic excellence on your resume. 

International Internships in Law and Humans Rights

The final law internship for high school students is best for students interested in traveling and gaining global perspectives on law. Several international volunteer groups allow students to participate in law or human rights programs across the globe. 

Intern Abroad HQ is a trusted organization that offers diverse international internships for students hoping to develop their cultural intelligence and expand their network. If you’re interested in pursuing a particular area of law, these internships can allow you to gain direct hands-on experience!

Here are the global internships they currently offer high school students:

  • Human rights and legal advocacy in Arusha, Tanzania 
  • Human rights and NGO support in Rabat, Morocco
  • Human rights law in Cape Town, Africa
  • Law and governance in London, England
  • Legal practice (deals with laws involving business, family, immigration, domestic violence, asylum, court litigation, and more) in New York
  • Legal practice (covers a range of fields) in Valencia, Spain
  • NGO support in Valencia, Spain
  • Women’s Rights and Education in Rabat, Morocco

For students wishing to stay home but still participate in global organizations, Intern Abroad HQ also offers remote internships: 

  • Environmental law hosted out of Greece
  • Human rights and anti-racism hosted out of Israel
  • Human rights and NGO support hosted out of Italy
  • LGBT and minor rights hosted out of Morocco
  • Legal advocacy and rights education hosted out of Tanzania
  • Legal practice (in an area of your interest) hosting out of Spain and New York
  • Legal support for human rights advocacy hosted out of Tanzania
  • NGO human rights hosted out of Morocco
  • Refugee and migrant rights hosted out of Morocco

Students can choose how long they want to participate in these internships, from as little as two weeks to six months. The cost to attend these programs depends on the location and your duration of stay.

The Benefits of Law Internships for High School Students

Now that we’ve explored some of the best law internships, you may wonder if you should actually pursue one. To aid you in your decision, consider the following benefits of these internships.

Can Help Confirm Your Passion

For one, an internship can help confirm your decision to attend law school! Considering law school is a huge investment, both time-wise and money-wise, it’s essential you feel confident in your career choice. Your internship experience can help you gain perspective and insight into what it takes to be an attorney.

This is far better and more proactive than the alternative of only gaining legal experience in college and switching majors or in law school when you would have already spent thousands on your application and first-year tuition costs!

Can Help You Get Into College

Colleges will expect you to have a range of extracurriculars. A legal internship can help you stand out amongst other students, especially if the program is hosted by one of your top choices! 

Suppose you’re unsure of which colleges to apply to. In that case, many summer law programs hosted by colleges involve campus tours and admission discussion panels to tell you more about their school and all it can offer, which can help you create your list of top colleges.

Can Prove Your Dedication to the Field

Most law school resumes will only ask you to list your post-secondary experiences. However, you can still discuss your high school legal internship in your interview or personal statement. Doing so can prove your long-existing dedication to the field! 

Law schools also want to ensure you have a realistic understanding of how rigorous legal careers are. Participating in mock trials, being inside courtrooms, and working alongside distinguished lawyers, proves you’ve experienced some of this rigor and are still motivated to join the field. 

FAQs: Law Internships for High Schoolers

If you still have questions about law internships for high school students, check out these frequently asked questions.

1. What Internships Are Best for Law School?

While you can only discuss your high school law internship experience through your personal statement or interview, the best internship for law school will depend on your career goals. 

Choose an internship that aligns with your interests and eventual aspirations. For instance, to become a criminal lawyer, you may want to volunteer with the California Innocence Project because of its mission and prestige. 

On the other hand, if your dream law school offers an internship, you may want to participate to prove your dedication to the school and interest in its education.

2. What Are the Best Internships for Pre-Law Students?

High school students should consider participating in college internships to understand their post-secondary options better. Each college that offers law programs for high school students will also provide students with tours and more information on the admissions process, which can help them decide which school is right for them. 

3. Do Internships Matter for Law School?

Law schools will not ask you to share any of your extracurricular experience from high school directly. They are mainly concerned with your college experience, so you should pursue other relevant extracurriculars during your post-secondary studies.

However, you can still use your high school internship experience in other parts of your application to prove your interest in and passion for law. You can use this experience to back up claims about how long you’ve wanted to become a lawyer and how motivated you are to become one.

4. Is a Law Internship Hard?

Law internships will be challenging because they’re meant to give you a realistic glimpse of what it takes to be a lawyer! You can expect to conduct research, assist in writing motions, participate in mock trials, and create persuasive arguments in most positions.

5. How Do I Choose a Law Internship?

Consider your interests and goals when choosing a law internship. For instance, if you’re hoping to participate in a summer law internship for several weeks rather than just a few days, consider joining a paid internship like the one offered by the DOJ or ACLU. 

Suppose you have travel aspirations and also want to gain legal experience. In that case, your best bet will be to participate in an international internship offered by Intern Abroad HQ or a similar organization.

Ensure you also consider your budget. Seminar-based programs, such as those offered by universities, will cost several thousand to complete, whereas other programs will pay you to intern with them.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for your legal career early on has many benefits! It will confirm your passion for law and help you throughout college and law school. Consider getting your feet wet and gaining valuable law experience by joining any exceptional internships in this guide!

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