We asked Trainee Isobel Lorigan for advice she would give to interns applying for a legal internship without having a law degree. Isobel has a background in commerce and completed her internship in 2020. She is now completing her traineeship with us.
When I filled out my CAO form I was undecided about if I wanted to study law or business, I put both of them down and ended up being offered commerce in UCD. I enjoyed studying commerce and I was able to complete some law related modules over the three years. By the time I was graduating I knew that law was for me. I had found the law modules that I had completed more interesting than any the business modules so I decided then, that I wanted to pursue my legal career.
Applying to law firms
When I was completing applications to law firms, I thought that I would be at a disadvantage to others as I didn’t have an undergraduate degree in law, however this turned out to be the complete opposite. At this stage I had completed a post graduate degree in law but interviewers have always been more interested in discussing my commerce degree and what I had learned from it. I think coming from a different background to a legal one can make candidates stand out and is a topic that has been brought up in all of my interviews.
My internship with MHC
For my internship in the firm, I was in the real estate department. Here, my commerce degree wasn’t overly relevant. However, having completed rotations in the corporate and employment departments, my commerce degree has definitely been an advantage to me. In corporate I often had to look at financial statements and annual returns for companies, all of what I had to do studying accountancy modules. Similarly, in employment I reviewed contracts and policies which I had done in the human resource modules I had studied.
I would definitely advise anyone who is coming from a different background to law, but who wishes to get into law to apply for a legal internship. Have a think about what skills you have learned in your degree and how those skills could be used in a career in law. Doing this won’t just benefit you in your career, but is also a great way to prepare for your interview. If you are still in college, try to complete some law electives if possible. I found completing law modules while studying commerce gave me a flavour of what law is like and encouraged me pursue a career in law. Also, if you are coming from a business degree, I think it’s a great idea to think about completing an internship in a corporate firm as this would provide you with an opportunity to learn about law while also being able to use what you have learned in your degree.
Head over to our Graduate Hub for more information.