Because experience is a vital component of the learning process and is necessary for preparation of the student for the paralegal field, the University of La Verne Legal Studies Department has instituted an Internship Program. This program is designed to provide the Paralegal student experience in a professional setting where the student can relate principles discussed in textbooks and classroom settings to real-life legal problems, in a legal environment, under responsible supervision.
Placements and Tasks
The paralegal intern should work in a legal setting, performing work which would normally be done by a paralegal. Most commonly, the setting would be a law firm, legal aid, a corporate legal department, or a governmental office. The work which should be assigned to the paralegal would be substantive legal work, work which an attorney normally performs (except appearance in court or handling of a deposition), and might include some of the following tasks:
- preparing pleadings;
- preparing discovery, responding to discovery;
- controlling and organizing documents, information;
- preparing trial notebooks;
- preparing motions; and
- contacting and responding to clients, witnesses, and/or courts.
See below for a more comprehensive list of tasks.
The paralegal intern is to work 90 hours during a semester. Those hours must be spread fairly evenly over ten to twelve weeks, so that the intern works six to ten hours per week, preferably on two days per week.
The Placement’s Responsibilities
The placement is to:
- Designate an individual who will supervise the student and communicate with the Internship Coordinator.
- When contacted by a student, determine if the student is appropriate for the placement, meet with the student and sign the Placement Agreement.
- Orient the student to the work environment and explain policies and appropriate employment behavior.
- Assign the student work appropriate for a Paralegal which will require knowledge of the law and of legal procedures. As much as possible within time limitations, allow the student to carry out assignments relating to one project or case over a period of time, and attempt to expose the student to various aspects of the legal environment as it exists in the agency.
- Provide information, support, direction, and constructive criticism for the intern on a regular basis.
- Communicate any problems, concerns or suggestions to the Internship Coordinator and respond to inquiries of the Coordinator.
- Complete the evaluation of the student which will be provided by the Coordinator.
- Students are to maintain time sheets and copies of work performed as long as confidentiality is protected. Placements need to verify those records.
The Internship Coordinator
The Internship Coordinator is Carolyn Bekhor, J.D., Chair, Department of Legal Studies. Her contact information is (909) 448-4410.
Tasks a Paralegal May Perform
The following is a list of various tasks that the paralegal intern may be qualified to handle under your supervision:
Law Office Management