One of the tough things to do once you have the education you need, is to actually get your foot in the door to begin getting the experience desired. Because of the economy these days, many companies have cut back on positions, and tend to look to fill positions with people who have enough experience to jump right in and get moving in a position, and this may stop you from filling such a position. Here are some tips on getting some work experience at a time in your career where maybe it is not so easy to be given a chance.
Contract work is one way to acquire some experience without actually being hired as a full time employee by a company. Many law firms and legal departments for corporations see contract workers as a quick way to reduce litigation costs. Hiring workers for only specific projects and short-term issues is a way that can help them save funds, since contract workers tend to bill at a rate lower than an employee, and it is a way for you to get experience that can fill up your resume. While these positions can last anywhere from just a few days to actually a few years, they not only give you experience, but if you perform well, may be your ticket to landing a full time position in the company. Check your local legal staffing firms for possible openings in your area.
Part-time legal aid is another good way to acquire skills and get your foot in the door of a company. Many firms have positions that tend to have a high turnover rate, like data entry clerks, messengers, court filers, clerical staff and file clerks, and while they are not usually positions with high pay, they do assist with gaining the experience that can again be added to your resume.
Intern and externships are also available with many types of companies in their legal department and elsewhere. While they do not usually provide income, they do provide experience and in some cases may also provide school credits for you. These type of positions are not often publically advertised, but should be able to be found by working through your school career center, or by contacting local law and paralegal schools.
Volunteer work is another avenue to get you some of the experience you need. Many non-profit and public interest groups are always looking for assistance, and can provide you with an excellent path to acquire the much needed experience and hands-on skills you require. These types of organizations are in great need of assistance, and rarely do they just give you busy work. They work to change people’s lives, and they usually offer meaningful tasks that are beneficial to all parties involved.
Hopefully this has been a little bit beneficial in helping you to also think of other ways you may get the needed experience in this field. For those of you with prior experience in this area, please share any other ideas you have on this subject in order to help others.