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  • Writer's pictureEstelle Reardon

10 Legal Internships for High School Students in New York

Updated: Apr 15

Why do internships in high school?


Before we jump into a long list of legal internships for high school students in New York, it is important to understand why these opportunities could matter for your future. According to PRISM, a consultancy, 70% of students attending a US News top 50 University have completed at least one internship while in high school. These opportunities serve as a way to distinguish yourself in the admissions process by showing that you have gone out and verified your future goals through experience. Doing internships will help you enter college with a clearer idea of the professional environments you enjoy or don’t enjoy, which will make it easier for you to recruit into a job you love after graduation. Students who have done at least one internship in high school also typically have an easier time recruiting into college internships and pre-professional organizations such as finance or pre-law clubs.


How to Find Legal Internships for High School Students in New York


The best way to find legal internships for high school students in New York is through online search tools and lists. The StandOutSearch database provides the largest free resource that lists almost every internship program for the high school age group and allows you to search by interest area. MIT Admissions also provides a helpful list of High School Internships


However, official programs tend to be very competitive, so if you are serious about finding a summer internship in high school, you should also prepare a cold outreach strategy. You can read more about how to form a cold outreach strategy to find a high school internship at the end of this article. We also include email templates to make finding an internship or research position through cold outreach less daunting.


10 Legal Internships for High School Students in New York


Most of the legal internships for high school students in New York below have an acceptance rate of 20% or lower, given that there are many more high school students looking for internships relative to official programs that provide them. We recommend choosing at least five opportunities to apply to. If you see an opportunity that excites you, take a moment to write the deadline on your calendar!



  • Ages: 15-19

  • Location: Virtual 

  • Timeline: Summer, Spring, Fall, or Winter

  • Deadline: Various Deadlines


StandOut Connect is a program created thanks to investment from UChicago’s Polsky Center for Innovation that matches high school students with internships in their interest area. Students interview with potential mentors who are leaders and innovators within their area of interest until they are hired for a two-month internship. Many students then receive optional return offers to continue with their internship for as long as they would like.



  • Ages: 18

  • Location: NYC

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: March


Since 2005, the Temple of Understanding has implemented its commitment to the education of youth by hosting a Summer Student Internship Program. The student interns are given passes to enable them to attend open meetings of the United Nations Security Council, General Assembly, and various committees. This program launches their careers as global citizens who care about the humanitarian goals embraced by the UN. Students accepted into this program have the opportunity to meet with Missions and NGOs, pursue independent research, learn about different religions through visiting their houses of worship, participate in community volunteer work, and connect with other youth from countries across the world.



  • Ages: 14-18

  • Location: Brooklyn, NY

  • Timeline: Summer, Spring, Fall or Winter

  • Deadline: Various Deadlines


The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office offers high school, college and legal internships throughout the year. These highly competitive internships offer students a unique opportunity to be part of a district attorney’s office.  An intern’s duties may include assisting in investigations, attending trials, preparing and compiling documents and financial data, conducting and analyzing legal research, and supporting community outreach programs.



  • Ages: Juniors and Seniors (16-18)

  • Location: New York, NY

  • Timeline: Winter

  • Deadline: January


The Thurgood Marshall Summer Law Internship Program is an intensive program which places diverse NYC public high school students with legal employers for the summer, and provides them with additional programming before, during, and after the summer designed to help them prepare for a legal career.



  • Ages: 16 - 18

  • Location: NYC

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: January


Ladders for Leaders is a nationally recognized program that offers outstanding high school and college students the opportunity to participate in paid professional summer internships with leading corporations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies in New York City. By hiring Ladders for Leaders interns, employers are matched with job-ready applicants that have been vetted and trained. Students undergo a competitive application process, and receive 30 hours of pre-employment training.

 


  • Ages: 16 - 18

  • Location: NYC or Washington D.C.

  • Timeline: Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter

  • Deadline: Various Deadlines


Interns will work with staff to serve the constituents of New York’s 14th Congressional district. Our goal is to provide each intern with a meaningful experience that will enhance their understanding of Congress. Intern responsibilities may include: answering phones, sorting mail, researching legislation, attending briefings and hearings, assisting staff with public events, assisting with constituent casework, administrative work as assigned, and, additionally, interns will have the opportunity to specialize in either legislative or communications related assignments depending on their interests. Interns are able to work on either a part-time or full-time basis.



  • Ages: 16-18

  • Location: New York, NY

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: Summer 2024


Enroll in an intensive pre-college course, designed to challenge and engage high-achieving students in a supportive environment. Choose from over 70 courses in a dozen subject areas. Study alongside a cohort of like-minded students from all over the world. Experience college life while discovering one of the world's great cities. Attend college success events to prepare for the academic rigors of university life. Earn a Columbia University Certification of Participation and an instructor evaluation.



  • Ages: 14-18

  • Location: New York, NY

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: Summer (not established yet)


The New York University High School Law Institute (“HSLI”) is a student-run organization that serves talented and motivated high school students throughout New York City. Alongside our sister program at Columbia Law School, we offer free, yearlong academic programming in constitutional law, criminal law, and speech and debate on Saturdays from 10 AM to 1 PM.



  • Ages: 16-17

  • Location: New York, NY

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: June


The NYU Collegiate Seminar Program offers high school juniors the opportunity to experience college-level classes at a top-tier research university. Selected students will participate in one or more two-hour seminar-style classes taught by leading NYU faculty in a variety of academic subjects.



  • Ages: 15-17

  • Location: New York, NY

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: January


The Telluride Association Summer Seminar (TASS) is a free, six-week summer educational experience for high school sophomores and juniors. TASS prepares and inspires promising young students to lead and serve through transformative educational experiences rooted in critical thinking and democratic community. Telluride Association covers all program costs for every student, including tuition, books, room and board, field trips, and facilities fees.


Cold Outreach Strategy for High School Internships 


If the opportunities listed above don’t turn out to be a fit, the next step to finding legal internships for high school students in New York is to launch a cold outreach strategy. This may seem intimidating at first, but the guide below should make it much more simple. As an added note, please exercise caution when reaching out to professionals you don’t know. It is always safest to interview or meet virtually. 


How to Find Companies to Reach Out to for a High School Internship 


Use LinkedIn to find small companies where you can help with skills such as social media, coding, content/grant writing, or graphic design. Smaller companies that need more hands on deck will be the most likely to hire high-school-aged students. Try to find personal connections with the professionals you reach out to, such as being from the same state originally or liking the same sports team. 


How to Find Professors to Reach Out to for a High School Research Position 


You can use online university staff directories to find professors to reach out to for research positions. Note that if you are looking for a remote research position with a professor, you should be aware that these opportunities tend to be harder to come by. Professors typically have high school students help with more manual laboratory tasks such as washing beakers or running equipment and usually do not have very much use for interns at a high school education level within a remote setting. The exception is if you are doing computational research, which generally requires introductory knowledge of Python or R to parse large datasets. You should be able to learn Python or R on your own for free within a few months using resources such as Coursera’s R Programming Course or Python for Everybody.


How to Structure and Send Outreach Emails 


For a successful cold-outreach strategy, aim to send at least 50 emails to potential internship providers. Be sure to include a link to your resume, which should be no more than one page while you are in high school. UChicago provides a helpful free resume template and guide. We recommend including your resume as a Google Drive link because including it as a PDF will sometimes negatively impact the deliverability of your email. However, be sure to check that the sharing settings on the document allow anyone with the link to view its contents. It can also be a good idea to include work samples in your resume, such as the link to a website you designed, a social media account you manage, or your GitHub profile. 


Email Template for Finding a High School Internship 


If you are unsure how to structure your outreach emails to potential internship providers, here are some basic templates you can customize to your needs. 


Template for Finding an Internship


Subject: Student Reaching Out


Dear Mr./Ms.____,


I hope you are having a great day! My name is [your name], and I am a rising [grade] at [your school]. I read about your company on LinkedIn and found the concept quite interesting. For context, [briefly state how the company relates to your interests or experience]. 

I was wondering if you might be looking for interns. I know I would have a great deal to learn from working with you, and I would love to contribute in any way I can. I have included my resume here. Thanks so much!


Sincerely, 


[Your name]


Template for Finding a Research Position


Subject: Student Reaching Out


Dear Professor/Dr. ____,


I hope you are having a great day! My name is [your name], and I am a rising [grade] at [your school]. I recently read your paper on [restate the abstract] in [name of publication] and was quite intrigued by [part you found interesting]. I was wondering if I might be able to intern for you over this summer. [Elaborate on your relevant skills and experience and why you are passionate about the field]. 

I have included my resume here. Thanks so much! 


Sincerely,


[Your name]



Legal Internships for High School Students in New York
Legal Internships for High School Students in New York


Conclusion


Whether you are applying to established programs or launching a cold outreach strategy, the name of the game when looking for a legal high school internship or research position is perseverance. These opportunities can be extremely difficult to secure, but most high school students find it worth it in the end to get a head start on building their careers. If you found this article helpful, don’t forget to save it for later or share it with a friend. Good luck on your internship search journey! 





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