Will a Law Summer Abroad Program Actually Help My Legal Career?
A law summer abroad program provides the opportunity for law students to gain firsthand experience in a wide range of legal fields, with a choice of programs in many different countries. Many students, however, worry that a study abroad program won’t really help their job prospects or legal careers.
Let’s take a look at several of the key career benefits a law study abroad program offers.
Provides a Unique Learning Experience
Working abroad means you will have to overcome communication barriers, navigate unfamiliar workplace cultures, and flourish outside your comfort zone. Misunderstandings and missteps will likely occur, but fortunately they’re all part of the learning experience. You’ll learn valuable lessons that you’ll be able to tap into throughout your legal career.
Shows That You Can Adapt and Are Flexible
Adaptability and flexibility are key traits that any lawyer should possess. Participating in a study abroad program will test your ability to adapt and develop flexible approaches to legal work. Perhaps even more importantly, it shows prospective employers that you have a strong desire to be adaptable and flexible.
Satisfies Graduation Requirements
You probably haven’t considered this; Externships abroad through SCU comply with the American Bar Association’s Standard 303 experiential learning component requirement. By successfully completing an externship abroad, you can satisfy this prerequisite to earning a law degree, moving you one step closer to your legal career.
Sets You Apart from Other Job Applicants
Participating in a law study abroad program does more than just provide firsthand experience with foreign laws and legal systems. It also provides a unique credential relevant to many legal fields.
Many of our students have told us that questions about their study abroad program and externship experiences are among the first ones they are asked in an interview. Talking about the experiences working abroad serves both as a conversation icebreaker and a great opportunity for a student to showcase knowledge, abilities, and interests.
Some students may worry that employers will discount their study abroad experience. If an employer is skeptical about the value of study abroad programs, perhaps consider whether that firm is one where you would like to work.
By staying in contact with your supervisor and other personnel at the foreign firm, NGO, or other externship sponsor you worked with, you’ll have a perfect reference for your first job – and future jobs. Your supervisor may even think of you whenever there’s an open position at the sponsor itself or whenever the supervisor hears of another job opening that’s right for you.
The Bottom Line: Leveraging Your Experience
Completing a law summer abroad program and externship will not only enable you to learn about different legal systems and cultures, it will also open up a variety of career options for you in international transactions, international litigation, and other legal fields.