Interning at a Personal Injury Law Firm: Etiquette Rules to Follow

Legal internships provide a valuable opportunity for networking and can be a significant resume booster. But in order to maximize the benefits of this opportunity, it’s important to act with professionalism at all times.

If you’ve secured an internship at a personal injury firm, keep these etiquette rules in mind.

Make Punctuality a Priority

Punctuality is crucial in the legal field. Courthouses run on tight schedules. Judges have many cases to hear. There is no room for tardiness.

Showing up late to a courtroom proceeding could cost the personal injury lawyer the opportunity to challenge the case or a motion. The attorney could also be fined, or the trial may be pushed to a later date. Make it a point to be early.

Punctuality is still important even if you are not in litigation. Being on time or early demonstrates your professionalism and dedication.

Don’t Take Constructive Criticism Personally

It’s natural to take criticism personally, but in the workplace, constructive criticism is an opportunity for growth and learning. There will be times when clients or managing partners have harsh things to say. You will receive negative feedback from time to time, and you will make mistakes.

It’s all a part of the learning process. It’s important to remain calm, cool and collected when faced with these situations. Allowing your emotions and anger to get the best of you will make you appear immature and unprofessional.

Even when criticisms are not pointed directly at you, you can use this opportunity to learn how to handle unpleasant situations.

Remain Professional in Office Communications and Events

Even as an intern, you should ensure that all office communications are professional and formal. Do not use abbreviations or short-hand when typing up emails or in written communication with anyone in the office.

Always address emails with a greeting as well as a signature. It’s better to sound overly formal than to sound immature or disrespectful.

Maintain this same attitude during office events. Attending social events will give you the chance to learn more about office culture, but it’s important to maintain professionalism. Use appropriate language, avoid drinking too much alcohol, and treat everyone with respect.

Respect and Manners Go a Long Way

Respect and manners will always get you further than rudeness and ego. Be polite and kind to everyone you encounter. You’re going to make mistakes as an intern, but those mistakes will be viewed more favorably if you’re known as a respectful and polite person.

Other employees will also be more likely to help if you're friendly and personable.

A bad attitude, on the other hand, can close the door to many opportunities – even if you graduated at the top of your class.

Send Thank You Notes

Send a “thank you” email or note whenever you receive help from someone in the office. It may seem like a simple gesture, but letting others know that you appreciate their help and opportunities is important.

At the end of your internship, send your supervisor a formal thank you note. Avoid sending gifts, as this can raise ethical questions. But you can’t go wrong with sending a handwritten card.


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