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Legal Studies Internships

Internships for legal studies majors in the BSPA degree should provide students with the opportunity to acquire, apply, and develop analytical tools and knowledge related to law and the policy process in a domestic, comparative, or international context. An internship might entail work with law at the local, state, or federal government levels, or in the private or nonprofit sectors. It may involve the legislative, administrative, executive, or judicial processes related to law. It may entail either civil or criminal law. The internship should expose students to the creation, development, implementation, application, or enforcement of statutes, regulations, guidelines, or case law in some substantive area of public policy.

Possible internship opportunities might involve one or more of the following experiences:

  • Policy research: Developing the background information or case necessary to inform the creation of public policy
  • Drafting: Translating policy information into guidelines, regulations, or legislative proposals
  • Advocacy: Observing the process of advocating for a particular policy choice, through lobbying or testimony at the local, state, or federal government level
  • Persuasion: Participating in meetings at which stakeholders work to develop consensus on a proposal or persuade others to support it
  • Legislation: Observing the process of making law in a local, state, or federal legislative body
  • Legislative Branch: Relating to constituents, meeting their concerns and needs, serving the public
  • Civic engagement:  Participating in activities designed to involve members of the public in the policy process, including preparation of public notices, outreach, publicity, public meetings and hearings, community organizing, and other formal and informal means of encouraging citizen voice
  • Implementation: Public notices of new rules, newsletters, informational meetings, working to obtain voluntary compliance with new policies, developing programs and plans with objectives and measures of compliance
  • Rulemaking: Creating detailed standards for implementing lawEnforcement: Investigations into violations of regulations or law, collecting information related to incidents or cases, relating information to legal requirements
  • Prosecution: Choosing cases for enforcement of law through administrative or criminal adjudication
  • Adjudication: Hearings, testimony, evidence, decision-making on a record
  • Appellate Review: Observing review of decisions by administrative or judicial review entities, such as appellate or supreme courts
  • Judicial Branch:  Researching, summarizing, communicating rules of law made through the adjudicatory process, observing court activities and administration, observing the operation of judicial chambers, clerking for a court
  • Executive Branch: Observing the political process, elections, campaigns, constituent relations
  • Private sector: Observing how parties outside government relate to the legal process, private law practice and the role of advocates, advising how to comply with law, representation of private parties, identifying impact of law and compliance on business, relation of law to economics
  • Nonprofit sector: Role of civil society in policy process, influence of voluntary sector on making and implementing law, role of nonprofit sector in carrying out public policy initiatives, relation of voluntary activity to public policy

Internships should also provide the student the opportunity to:

  • gain a better understanding of the players and stakeholders in the policy process, the roles of citizens, voluntary associations, nonprofits, community groups, and the private sector, and their respective opportunities for voice and influence
  • gain a better understanding of the relation of law to society, economics, psychology, and social science
  • gain a better understanding of the ways in which law influences human behavior and the way our system creates a rule of law
  • reflect critically about students' own relation to the legal system and ability to influence the law