As a student, we are told of all the reasons interning in an office is valuable. We know interns have the chance apply theories learned in class to actual scenarios, meet and gain professional contacts, and start to decide if a particular office or culture is a good fit for them. We don’t often hear why having an intern is valuable. Believe me (for those reading this out there interning) you are very valuable!
First, interns bring energy. From the legal assistants to the veteran attorneys, almost everyone is excited to meet the new interns. One thing that is weird about professional work is the longevity. As a student, I haven’t been in the same building for more than four years since elementary school. As an attorney, I have been in the same building for seven years and in the same office for four of those years. While some people will come and go, I’ve worked with the same people most of the time. Interns bring a new energy and life to the office every summer that is a much needed energy boost.
Second, interns make the supervisor smarter. When we get interns we have to teach them the process of how things are done. Before an intern can do work, they need to understand what they are doing, why they are doing it, how it needs to be done, and have a review process to ensure accuracy. Sometimes, a practitioner can do something so many times it becomes second nature. It is helpful for me to re-think the process for doing things and having interns learn and question procedures allows for that process review.
Finally, interns can create a great work product. This summer, my interns and I have created a research proposal, worked with a group of domestic violence treatment practitioners to create a best practices assessment draft, written over five legal motions, completed four jury trials, and worked for two boards. That is a lot of work and I am positive that my interns and their diligence was a significant factor in being successful in completing those projects.
Interning is great, but remember that the practitioners are very grateful that the interns are around. If you are an intern and your supervisor takes you out to lunch; eat light, save them money, and enjoy your meal. You’ve earned it.