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Internship Program

Overview

ABA Requirements

  • Students perform "substantive legal work" (paralegal or attorney level work); and
  • Students work in an area that is considered "new learning" for the student.

Who qualifies for internships and what are the requirements?

  • Required course for the bachelor's degree in Paralegal Studies and strongly recommended for both the associate's degree and Certificate.
  • May take between 3 and 15 credits of internship. For each 3 credits students of internship, must complete 120 hours of work at the internship site and attend 2 one hour in-class sessions. Students can perform more than one internship experience. Students may also arrange an internship at their current job (as long as it constitutes "new learning").
  • Must have at least 60 college credits and have taken the following required courses: Introduction to the Legal System, Legal Research and Writing I, Ethics and Professional Responsibility for Paralegals, and the course in the content area in which they wish to do their internship.

Many of our Certificate students recognize the need for work experience on their resumes. They view internships as a way to strengthen their resumes and complement their current background.

Aside from completing the required number of hours at the internship site and in the classroom, students must also complete a number of assignments to be submitted to the Internship Supervisor. The following are some of the requirements:

  • Keep a daily journal in Excel of their internship assignments to ensure that they are being given substantive legal work. This is structured similar to a time sheet and is submitted regularly to the Internship Supervisor.
  • Create a resume and cover letter responding to a paralegal position posted on CareerBridge. This allows students to highlight their internship work experience and prepares them for their job search.
  • Create a portfolio to be used when job searching. The portfolio can include the student's final cover letter and resume, letters of recommendation, examples of work product from the site, and examples of writing samples from some of the Paralegal Studies courses.
  • Complete a paper outlining the relationship between their legal courses and the skills that they developed in the internship. The purpose of this assignment is to show evidence of transfer of learning.
  • Attend two class sessions where the internship students come together to share their various internship experiences and to discuss issues they have encountered.
  • Attend a site visit with their internship site supervisor and the Internship Supervisor halfway through the internship hours.

What are the steps for students considering an internship?

  • Complete an internship application (including a current resume).
  • Meet with the Internship Supervisor to discuss areas of interest (type of law, legal setting, past career experience, etc.) and schedule of hours they are available.
  • Interview at potential internship site.
  • Develop syllabus and assignment list with Internship Supervisor.
  • For more information on the Internship Program, contact Sharron Dillon, Internship Supervisor, at sdillon@hartford.edu.

Examples of students' comments showing transfer of learning

"The Real Estate Transactions course was especially helpful. By doing the hands-on work to prepare closing packages or bank, broker, and payoff packages, all the pieces really came together."

"Estate Administration was very helpful for understanding the specifics about the validity of wills, witnessing wills, and the probate process."

"In Technology in Law we learned about different software products. When I overheard someone discussing Trial Director, I knew what they were talking about, whereas another, newly hired, paralegal didn't."

"I read through pleadings, answers, interrogatory answers, medical reports, weather reports and statements. I had read some personal injury cases in my Intro to Law course and in my Civil Litigation course, so I was familiar with the language of the complaint. I also had my eye on the two-year statute of limitations for these cases. When it came time for me to draft answers, I had to refer to the CT Practice Book for the guidelines. I knew how to use this book and where to go for the answers in Civil Litigation."

"Although I did not particularly enjoy writing case briefs in Legal Research & Writing class, I am glad I had learned how to write them. Being able to summarize the important facts relevant to a case is an indispensable skill."

"The courses I took in Paralegal Studies showed me how to conform the skills I already had to the specific logic, procedures and ethics of the practice of law."

Examples of students' comments on what they gained from the internship experience

"I was glad to be able to reinforce the knowledge I gained in the classroom with actually producing work in my internship. I know that I have only scratched the surface as a paralegal intern. However, I feel that the more exposure I get to different types of cases, the more knowledge and confidence I gain in performing as a paralegal."

"One of the most important things that I received from this experience was the confidence to go back into the work force. Having been out of the job market for awhile, I was concerned about venturing back, not only into the workplace but into a new career."

"I was initially interested in real estate only but since I've now been exposed to other areas, like estate administration, I would like to find a position that encompasses that as well."

"The completion of this internship gave me a greater understanding on agencies and researching their respective regulations; but more importantly, this internship exposed me to an interesting area of the law that would not have occurred to me had I not participated in this internship."

"The course work and exercises I have been engaged in from my classes were invaluable to applying the principles to the hands on work I did at the internship site. It was important for them to have an individual who could understand local and state rules, be able to understand pre-litigation discrimination case management, and understanding the Americans with Disability Act compliance and their internal case management system. The foundations I have received from my courses had made the transition and learning ability I received from the internship all that more invaluable to transfer to a new employer."

"The internship option in the Paralegal Studies program is excellent in that it enables a student to put into practice the theory she's learned in class. It's also a great way to build confidence and make connections in the legal world. I'm very glad that I chose this option as an elective and would encourage all students to do so as a way to finalize their Paralegal Studies experience."