PUBLISHED:August 07, 2023

1L summer offers students inside look at legal practice, pro bono experience


'My 1L Summer Experience' series captures student voices sharing details from their exciting and informative internships and associate positions.

This summer, the Admissions Office caught up with rising 2Ls for details on their internship or summer associate positions and to learn how the students utilized the resources at Duke Law to find opportunities that matched their interests and aspirations.

For most 1Ls, the search for a summer position starts at the Career and Professional Development Center (CPDC), Office of Public Interest and Pro Bono (PIPB), or Office of International Studies. Students are equipped with a number of tools, including insights on where 2Ls and 3Ls worked for their 1L summer, as well as opportunities for networking with Duke Law alums, receiving individualized career counseling, and honing resume and interviewing skills.

“We hope students might use their 1L summer to discover a practice area that interests them or even rule out something they were previously considering,” said CPDC Assistant Dean Jennifer Caplan said. “Some may try out a new geographic location. The overall hope is that they develop relationships with attorneys and start building a network, improve communication skills, practice attention to detail, and find a mentor.”

Students can typically look for opportunities that include big law firms, public interest organizations, government agencies, judicial chambers and companies, both in the U.S. and abroad. They may get exposure to practice areas including intellectual property, M&A, tax law, labor and employment, sports law, asset management, and private equity, as well as public defense, immigrant rights, environmental, criminal prosecution and many others.

Students interested in pursuing a summer position in an unpaid government or public interest internship or judicial internship may qualify for assistance from the Duke Law Public Interest Summer Internship Grants. The funding is guaranteed to any student who meets the necessary requirements and first-year students must complete at least 15 pro bono hours during the academic year to receive funding.

"Summer funding opens so many meaningful and rewarding internship openings to students," said Stella Boswell, associate dean of public interest and pro bono. "Each summer we have students providing critical civil or criminal law legal services to individual clients, public interest nonprofits, and government entities of all levels. The Law School would not be able to fund these opportunities without the generosity of alumni."

“My internship experience has deepened my resolve to work in federal prosecution, as I have been able to effectively pursue my interests in criminal law, litigation, and public service,” said Hamza Chaudhry ’25, who interned at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division in D.C.

“None of this would have been possible without the guidance of my career counselor Meg Lorenzen, who helped me find an opportunity that fit my academic and professional backgrounds.”

Read on for reflections from students who were highlighted in Duke Law Admissions’ ‘My 1L Summer Experience’ series posted to its Instagram page in July.