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Internships

An internship is a short-term learning experience in a professional setting related to your field of study or career interest. It is an opportunity to integrate relevant classroom knowledge with meaningful practical work. Internships help students gain work experience in a law-related organization, office, or government agency (national, state, or local; legislative, executive, or judicial) that provides a public service.

Internships provide opportunities to explore a possible career path, to develop and refine relevant skills in a professional environment and broaden your professional contacts. Successful internships can often lead to letters of recommendations or potential job offers and can be showcased on your resume. 

Searching for Opportunities

The Legal Studies Internship Coordinator is Professor Alan Gaitenby.  Please email gaitenby@umass.edu to schedule an appointment and learn about typical opportunities available for Legal Studies students.

Finding an internship will take time and research. This page includes supports and resources to help you with your search. The OPPORTUNITIES section lists a variety of legal, UMass, and other programs you can explore. 

Handshake
Handshake is an online platform for college students to explore opportunities and apply to internships and jobs. Your Handshake profile lets you present a full picture of your background and experience to employers. It is never too early to explore Handshake.

  1. Log in and set up profile.
  2. Search for opportunities in Handshake.
  3. Regularly check: Legal Studies – Featured Jobs + Internships
  4. Questions? Make an appointment with a peer intern or career advisor in the SBS Pathways Center.​

USA Jobs 
USAJobs is the United States government's free web-based job board for civil service job opportunities with federal agencies. 

Research and Networking
Some organizations and agencies may have internships posted on their websites. Feel free to research online and apply directly. You may also approach an organization of interest and see if you can arrange an internship with them independently; it does not need to be an established program. It can also be useful to talk family members, neighbors, and friends. They may know of an opportunity in an organization. 

Connect UMass
Connect UMass is a platform that connects current students with alumni for conversations about careers, mentoring, and professional development. Connect UMass makes it easy for students to log on, set up a profile, and network with alumni who are happy to help you out!

Making Yourself a Strong Applicant

There are several steps to making yourself a strong applicant for any internship.  Be sure your cover letter and resume are strong, and you have received feedback on them before applying for an internship.

SOCBEHAV 250 - SBS College to Careers class
This one-credit seminar is designed to help you develop career materials, practice professional skills, and prepare for internships, graduate schools, and jobs. Offered in fall & spring semesters.

SBS Pathways Center Advisors
SBS Peer Interns & Career Advisors can support you in creating your resume and cover letter. The Pathways Center is located on the first floor of Thompson Hall. 

Considering Academic Credit

Some students choose to receive credit for their internship; however, it is not necessary or required. To earn Legal Studies internship credit, an academic project must be arranged with a Legal Studies faculty member. The student will enroll in LEGAL 298 and the number of credits is determined by the number of hours committed to the internship (see chart below).

If taken Fall 2023 or later, a combination of three Legal Studies internship credits may be applied to your major. A credited internship that is outside the major will not be applied to your Legal Studies major.

To be eligible for a credited internship, students must have completed 45 credits and have a GPA of 2.0 or higher. You will want to begin planning at least one semester in advance. To discuss setting up a credited internship, please email gaitenby@umass.edu to schedule an appointment to meet with Professor Alan Gaitenby, Legal Studies Internship Coordinator.  

Watch this video to learn about Registering Your Internship for Credit in Handshake.

Internship credits: 40 hrs. = 1 credit 

CREDITS HOURS/WEEK HOURS/SEMESTER
3 9 120
6 17.5 240
9 25.5 360
12 34.5 480
14 40 560

 

OPPORTUNITIES 

Judicial Internship Program
The Judicial Internship Program is an opportunity to spend time observing and discussing court proceedings with Judge Judd Carhart and other Superior Court judges who hear cases in Springfield, Northampton, and Greenfield. The prerequisite is Judge Carhart’s course, Due Process in Criminal Trial (Legal 391U). After you have completed this course, you may apply for the internship. Judge Carhart makes the final selection of students; preference is given to Legal Studies majors.  Find application instructions here.

Student Legal Service Office Internship
The Student Legal Services Office (SLSO) is a student-funded law office providing legal assistance to fee-paying UMass Amherst students and student groups. For the internship, undergraduate legal assistants are selected from applicants each fall and spring semester. They work up to 34.5 hours per week and receive 12 academic credits for their work. Each legal assistant works under the direct supervision  of a professional staff member and the SLSO attorneys, and has a range of responsibilities.

For more information:  https://www.umass.edu/slso/internship 

Other Law-Related Internships
Legal Studies students have done internships at local agencies which are part of the state criminal justice system. These include the Department of Youth Services, the District Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Program, the Hampshire County Jail, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, the Mayor’s Office on Consumer Protection, the YWCA SafePlan, Safe Passages, the Eastern Hampshire County District Court. Information about these internships, including the name of the contact person, contact Professor Alan Gaitenby, Legal Studies Internship Coordinator.

SBS in DC 
SBS in DC is a full-semester program that is offered in both the fall and spring semesters and connects SBS majors with UMass alumni working in Washington DC. Students need to apply and get accepted into the program. Program participants live together as a cohort in DC and are matched with host internship sites. Students will earn 12-15 credits for the semester, the majority of which will be internship credits, but will also include a 300-level course. Students will also engage in professional development and have networking opportunities with UMass Alumni and professionals in their fields of interest.

  • You will receive 3 credits of LEGAL 298 internship credit that can apply to the Law-Related Liberal Arts (LRLA) requirement of the major. 
  • Additional internship credits will come in as UMASS 298
  • The 300-level class may be approved to the major depending on content.

For more information: https://sbspathways.umass.edu/channels/sbs-in-dc/

The Washington Center 
The Washington Center (TWC) provides opportunities for students to gain experience, skills, and networking connections, while living and interning in the nation’s capital, all while earning academic credit. Their Academic Internship program includes 3 components: a supervised internship, career readiness programming and an academic course. The program runs semester-long or during the summer. 

Some of this work will come in as LEGAL 298 and some UMASS 298.

For more information: https://twc.edu/find-program

SBS in Boston
The SBS in Boston program provides the opportunity for SBS majors to spend a semester living and interning in the greater Boston area while earning credit toward their degree. Internship opportunities, including mentorship by UMass Amherst alumni, provide experiences across a variety of fields. Students in the cohort live in the dorms on the Mount Ida Campus, participate in a professional development class every Friday, and receive a full semester's worth of credits (financial aid will apply).

SBS in Boston internships have included the Massachusetts State Appeals Court, the Office of Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Office of the Governor of the State of Massachusetts, WGBH, State Street Corporation, and The Castle Group. 

For more information: https://sbspathways.umass.edu/channels/sbs-in-boston-boston/

SBS Shadows
Spend a day at the office with an alum over winter break!  Learn about the work they do, their company or organization, and how they got from UMass to where they are now. This is a great opportunity to get exposure to the real world of work, to learn from alums who have been where you are, and to get insight into the different options and pathways that lie ahead for you.

For more information: https://sbspathways.umass.edu/channels/sbs-shadows/