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Do internships really matter?

Matthew524Matthew524 Member
edited July 2016 in Law School Admissions 651 karma
So I am in a very difficult position, I was just offered a position to work with a New York State Senator specifically with criminal justice policies and restorative justice. I have had 3 prior internships. One was with the Manhattan district attorney's office, another with a local county district attorney's office and one with the Bronx Defenders ( public attorneys). I am conflicted about whether or not I should accept the position because I really want to focus on the LSAT because I scored a 158 the first time and want above a 160 and already registered for the September LSAT and the internship requires 10 hours a week on top of my school work ( I am a senior in college). I was wondering would this internship help me at all during the admissions process even if I get a LOR from a New York State senator? Please help!


  • Matthew524Matthew524 Member
    651 karma
  • Matthew524Matthew524 Member
    651 karma
  • ay_fegetaboutitay_fegetaboutit Alum Member
    116 karma
    Internships are pretty much irrelevant. LSAT & GPA combined weight ~90% in terms of your admissions chances outside of Y/S & assuming you're not a URM. The only softs that significantly help are Rhodes, Olympian, etc.
  • David BusisDavid Busis Member Moderator
    7085 karma
    @Matthew524 I think @ay_fegetaboutit is slightly overstating the case, but only slightly. It sounds like you're pretty well covered in the internships department. Don't worry about missing an opportunity for an LOR from a senator—it's much more important to get letters from people who know you well.

    In short, your LSAT score is much more important, and you should forego the internship.
  • Matthew524Matthew524 Member
    651 karma
    @david.busis @ay_fegetaboutit thank you for your input and I will decline the internship. Thanks again!
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    Good decision. And for anyone else reading this, the above mentioned sifts are not the only ones that matter, they are just in the top tier of uniqueness. Almost all internships are in the bottom tier as they are a dime a dozen for the most part. There are a huge variety of softs in between those extremes that each serve as a feather on the scale, their precise weight being different for every school and for every particular experience.
  • AlejandroAlejandro Member Inactive ⭐
    2424 karma
    That's what I like to hear. Now give the LSAT your all!
  • Matthew524Matthew524 Member
    651 karma
    Thanks @Alejandro I felt bad declining because the senator seemed so happy when he offered me the position, but my LSAT and future are more important
  • SprinklesSprinkles Alum Member
    11542 karma
    I felt bad declining because the senator seemed so happy when he offered me the position
    Lol @Matthew524 he'll get over it
  • MrSamIamMrSamIam Inactive ⭐
    2086 karma
    If there is even a slight chance that taking on that internship would potentially drop your score by even a single point, don't take it. You have plenty of internships under your belt as it is.
  • Matthew524Matthew524 Member
    651 karma
    I respectfully declined the internship in the late afternoon. Needless to say he was disappointed, but on the bright side I get more time to do logic games!
  • jessicaljjessicalj Alum Member
    172 karma
    On a related note - do you think some work experience (e.g., one internship during undergrad) prior to applying is important? Work is definitely cutting into my LSAT studying - both in terms of there being only so many hours a day and in being mentally / physically exhausting. Really only seeking validation at this point.
  • Matthew524Matthew524 Member
    edited July 2016 651 karma
    I think one internship with some law field wouldn't hurt your chances but I think it kind of looks good but I think focusing on your LSAT is probably way more important. @jessicalj
  • runiggyrunruniggyrun Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    2481 karma
    @jessicalj I think it very much depends on your target schools. For most of the schools numbers are going to be more important than pretty much anything else (of course truly exceptional applicants will sometimes outperform their numbers, but for the most part your numbers matter the most). For the very elite schools, where they have a wealth of high scoring applicants to choose from, soft factors matter more. Work experience is one of those factors, and some schools seem to favor people who have it. I've only really looked at MyLSN/TLS numbers for HLS, but it seems that people with work experience got in with somewhat lower numbers than K-JDs (this is on average, I'm sure there are plenty of exceptions).
    Now, I'm not sure if an internship would count a lot in terms of work experience, but it would show the AdCom that you can do and are interested in something other than studying (then again, maybe you are doing a lot more outside of school and internship, and this is a moot point).
  • jessicaljjessicalj Alum Member
    172 karma
    @runiggyrun Thank you for the detailed response. My understanding from speaking with students / practicing lawyers has been that top candidates will have both the numbers and soft factors. Meaningful work experience prior to law school seems to positively affect how future employers perceive you, and thus indirectly, the degree to which the AdCom believe you will succeed.

    Even so... LSAT / GPA is pretty much all that schools seem to care about (as mentioned multiple times in this thread), which leaves me in an incongruous position.
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