Law internships for high school students offer opportunities for students to work with law firms and explore their career pursuits. To help you on your internship search, we discuss different kinds of high school law internships, including law summer high school internships, as well as additional courses for high school students.
Depending on the type of lawyer you want to be, you can select the internships for your area of focus and discover what it is like to be a lawyer. Internships can be paid or unpaid. With a paid internship, you can earn money while you learn. Unpaid internships often offer academic credit. Regardless, an internship will do wonders on college applications and boost your career in law.
Can High School Students Access Law Internships?
Yes, there are many internships for high school students, including positions in law and criminal justice. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, over 70 percent of interns receive a job offer after their internships. Some are paid, and some are unpaid. Sometimes high school students need a parent or guardian to sign some documentation during the application phase.
Are There Law Summer High School Internships?
Yes. There are many summer internship programs for high school students who are looking to study law in college and achieve future career goals. During a summer internship program, you can work at law offices or nonprofit organizations. By focusing on an internship during summer vacation, you acquire experience and hone your academic, interpersonal, and leadership skills.
Why Are Internships Important for High School Students?
- Professional Skills and Experience. Internships increase your experience and develop your professional skills, giving you an advantage over other students when applying to college or university. They also look good on a resume when applying for employment.
- Networking Opportunities. Working in an internship position at a law firm can yield multiple networking opportunities. These will be beneficial as you navigate your career pathway to become a qualified lawyer.
- Internships May Be Paid. Some internships are paid. While salaries may not be high, this is an opportunity for students to get paid to learn while acquiring experience. According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly wage for interns is $15.
Top 10 High School Law Internships Internships
California Innocence Project Internship
- Location: San Diego
- Length: Summer, fall, and spring
- Time Commitment: Monday to Friday, 15-35 hours per week
California Innocence Project is a nonprofit organization that works to reform the US criminal justice system and help those who have been wrongfully convicted of a crime get out of prison. The project also works to educate a new generation of lawyers to be advocates for reform. This is an unpaid internship that offers students of all levels to work in the California Innocence Project’s office and learn from experienced lawyers.
Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) Legal Internships
- Location: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
- Length: Nine weeks minimum, offered in Fall, Winter, and Spring
- Time Commitment: Full-time 35 hours per week, part-time two full days a week
CLF focuses on seven areas in clean energy and climate change. These are clean air and water, ocean conservations, strategic litigation, zero waste, community resilience and transport, and environmental justice.
Interns are paired with experienced attorneys and stand up for New Englanders in statehouses, courts, and other meetings to forge paths to environmental and economic prosperity for all in the region. They conduct rolling applications so you can apply all year long.
Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) Mock Trial Program
- Location: Los Angeles, Kalamazoo, Miami, online
- Length: September to May
- Time Commitment: Specific case-dependent times and dates
Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) is a moot court competition. This is a simulation of a criminal case where students act as lawyers, witnesses, court clerks, and bailiffs to gain analytical and communication abilities and skills. Over 2,500 high school and middle school students compete at the county level. They study hypothetical cases, conduct research, and receive guidance from attorneys.
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Government Accountability Office Student Volunteer Internship
- Location: Washington, DC
- Length: Flexible 640 hours
- Time Commitment: Flexible management-approved schedules, dependent on the intern’s schedule and availability
The Federal Government has a wide variety of internships available including the Internship Program, Recent Graduate Program, and Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program. Student Interns plan and complete assignments, collect and analyze information, prepare documents, and present information.
This student volunteer internship replaces the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Programs (STEP). Agencies can waive up to 320 hours of the required hours listed.
NYC Department of Youth and Community Internships
- Location: New York City
- Length: Six weeks during the summer
- Time Commitment: Six weeks full-time
The NYC Department of Youth and Community offers a wide variety of career development programs including paid internships. They have a list of learn and earn program partners and affiliated organizations, including some in law and education. It is a year-round program, but applications for summer internships must be submitted between September 1st and 30th.
Smithsonian Office of General Counsel Internship
- Location: Online
- Length: 10 weeks minimum
- Time Commitment: Full-time and part-time options
The Office of General Counsel (OGC) safeguards the Smithsonian institutions’ legal interests. Student interns work with 14 attorneys coving diverse topics like tax, employment discrimination, import and export, federal appropriations, intellectual property, and environmental law.
Student interns perform case law research, prepare legal memoranda, review agreements, survey state law, and study legislative research history. These practices enhance professional skills which students can later apply in their career fields.
Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies Programs – Legal Studies: the US Supreme Court Docket
- Location: Online
- Length: June 20 to July 01, 2022
- Time Commitment: Monday to Friday, live classes for two hours between 8am and 11am PDT
Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies programs are available online for various subject areas, including Legal Studies: The US Supreme Court Docket. This program focuses on one currently unresolved case from 2021 to 2022 docket of the United States Supreme Court.
It includes researching party briefs, amicus briefs, and the joint appendix of facts, digging into both the factual and legal background. Students engage in out-of-class assignments such as reading, group work, and pre-recorded online lectures.
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The State University of New York Law Student Internships
- Location: Albany, New York
- Length: Summer Program, eight to 10 weeks
- Time Commitment: Part-time, 29 hours per week
The State University of New York Law Student Internship provides eligible students hands-on experience in legal research, writing, and drafting memos and legal papers. They also have additional programs. These include analysis of pending legislation, research and assistance in arbitrations, and State Division of Human Rights proceedings.
Thurgood Marshall Summer Law Internship Program
- Location: New York City
- Length: Six to eight weeks, usually between May and August
- Time Commitment: Full-time from Monday to Friday, 35 to 40 hours per week
Thurgood Marshall Summer Law Internship Program provides intensive training to NYC public high school students in eight-week paid internships. There is additional training before, during, and after the sessions to help prepare them for a legal career. Typical duties include assisting paralegals, record keeping, filing library and back-office, staff assistance, data entry, and document and exhibit organization.
The United States Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York Student Internship
- Location: Brooklyn, Central Islip, and New York City
- Length: Schedules are flexible, determined by students and supervisors
- Time Commitment: Flexible hours
The Eastern District of New York serves the Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, Richmond, and Kings counties. There are two legal-oriented internships, the Paralegal-Legal Studies-Student Internship and the Library Legal Information and Resource Center Student Internship. Rolling applications happen all year long, depending on the positions available.
Law Classes for High School Students
If you think only college students can take law classes, you are mistaken. For high school students considering law school, there is a range of classes you can take. These will help you fast-track your professional development and reach future career goals.
- New York University High School Law Institute (HSLI). This is a year-long academic program in constitutional law, criminal law, speech, and debate. This is a weekend course you will need to attend in New York. Classes are on Saturdays from 10am to 1pm.
- An Introduction to American Law by Coursera. This is a seven-week beginner course with 12 hours of coursework. For this online course, enrollment is free, and for a fee, you can obtain certification. You will learn about tort law, contract law, and property law.
- A Law Student’s Toolkit by Coursera. This three-week course requires 16 hours of work to complete. It is an online course with certification upon completion. You will learn about law terminology, law concepts, and core skills that lawyers and legal academics use for composing arguments.
- Introduction to Moral and Political Philosophy by Harvard University. This is a free beginner online course that will take approximately 12 weeks, with three to six hours of work per week. You will learn about political philosophy, social justice, criminal justice, and current issues like affirmative action. You can pay for certification.
- Privacy Law and Data Protection by Coursera. This intermediate online course is free and self-paced with approximately 12 hours of coursework. It covers methods for protecting privacy, including the Fair Information Principles, laws and regulations in data protection, privacy obligations, and strategies in managing compliance. Students receive a certificate upon completion.
Should You Do an Internship in High School?
Yes, if you want to become a lawyer, you should do an internship in high school. These educational programs provide opportunities for high school students to increase their academic skills, professional skills, and job experience. You can learn about the average day in the life of a lawyer and decide whether or not you want to pursue a career in the legal field.
According to Statista, in 2020, almost 18 percent of high school students aged between 16 and 19 held a job. Getting a high school internship is an opportunity to get paid while you learn and may secure full-time employment in the future.
Law Internships for High School Students FAQ
An internship is a supervised structured learning and working experience for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students.
Law internships happen during summer break, throughout the school year, or during specific dates and periods. The schedule will depend on the program.
Yes. Different sources indicate that internships increase the chances of employment. Statista shows that for those who attend an unpaid internship, employment chances increase by at least 31 percent and the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) survey shows that 70 percent of interns received job offers from employers.
Yes, according to Statista, attending an internship can significantly enhance your skills. High school internship programs will build both professional and life skills.
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