Law + Government

Serve the Public Good

icon of justice scales for careers in law + government

Are you driven to defend or change our laws? You’re not alone.

The numbers don’t lie when it comes to the amount of people who work in areas of Law + Government. Over 22 million people, or 16.7% of the U.S. workforce, work in federal, state, and local governments, over 1.3 million lawyers practice within the United States, and close to 300,000 individuals work as paralegals or legal assistants. 

With so many people working together to build society at its core, opportunities are prime for Gauchos looking to make a difference. Careers in Law + Government share some similarities and a few key differences--learn how you can join the movement of public servants and prepare yourself for a successful future.



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Gain Experience: Legal Practice

For complete information on internships, student jobs, research opportunities, extracurriculars, and more, review our starter tips to Gain Experience in all careers as well as the specialized tips on this page.


Law schools do not require legal experience in order to apply, however, we highly suggest seeking a variety of legal experiences to verify that the field is right for you. Experience is gained in a variety of contexts, including pipeline programs, shadowing, informational interviews, internships, part-time jobs, and volunteering. Additionally, narrowing down your legal interests as an undergraduate student will allow you to further enhance those experiences in law school. ​


We recommend exposing yourself to as many legal experiences as you need; this way you can determine which environment, field, and legal role is the best fit for you. 

Types of Experience

You may want to participate in a formal legal experience, either through an internship, part-time, or full-time position in Santa Barbara, or near your home. Be aware that many legal internships are meant for current law students. In addition to searching online, here are a few tips to consider:

  • Utilize a combination of keywords such as law/legal, intern/internship, assistant, clerk, receptionist, and paralegal
  • Contact an office that you are interested in and inquire whether they are offering any internships. If they have never hired an intern before, consider creating your own internship with them
  • Reach out to the local courts, including the public defender’s and district attorney’s office, to see if they are offering any positions, including volunteer opportunities

In addition, click below to explore other ways to pursue relevant experience. These, as well as experiences such as UCEAP and the Capitol Internship Program will enhance your undergraduate degree in addition to your candidacy for law school. Remember, law schools are looking for individuals who maintain a strong GPA wile being involved in activities they are passionate about, such as research, athletics, community service, and leadership.

There is valuable experience in connecting with professionals through GauchoNetwork and LinkedIn, or by attending panels and mixers coordinated by Career Services and UCSB Pre-Law Advising. Connecting with UCSB alumni in the legal field, or local attorneys, will allow you to conduct an informational interview and provide an opportunity shadow for a few hours, a day, or even a week.

Find campus organizations through Shoreline (search for "legal" or "trial") that allow you to surround yourself with like-minded people, share experiences, and learn more about the field. Many of the pre-law organizations have quarterly LSAT preparation and networking events.

Working on campus can help you develop the leadership, communication, and time management skills that law schools are seeking. Although many positions can help you achieve these skills, there are law-oriented experiences on-campus to consider, such as UCSB Legal Resource Center and A.S. Office of the Student Advocate.

Pipeline programs were created to promote diversity within the field of law. Although each program may vary in content, most provide a look into the legal field, assistance with the law school application process, access to LSAT preparation, and mentorship opportunities.

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