There are a plethora of non-profit organizations, as well as for profit organizations, that have legal departments or utilize in-house attorneys. It’s not surprising that many of them don’t have structured summer associate programs. However, that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t love a little extra assistance over the summer.
Find an organization that champions a cause that you care about. Contact the organization and offer your assistance. Explain your connection to the organization and let them know that you would love to work with or have exposure to the attorney or legal department if at all possible.
Be reasonable. Understand that working for an organization will often mean working on a variety of tasks, including those that are not law related. In other words, assume that there is not a task or assignment that is not in your “job description”. But if you’ve chosen an organization that you believe in, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal to get involved in the non-legal assignments as well.
Finally, be sure to take the interview process as seriously as an interview with a large firm. Just because it’s an organization and you are volunteering doesn’t mean they are willing to hire just anybody. You must still represent yourself as being a motivated and competent law student.