Many students split their summers, often between a law firm job and a public service position, and occasionally between two jobs within public service.
Negotiating a Split Summer
- Wait until you have received a job offer before you broach the subject of split summers with a potential employer
- If you have already committed half the summer to another organization, you should be upfront about your commitments in your cover letter or other communications with employers
- Remember the downside of splitting: it will be harder to get a sense of the work and to forge strong relationships in half a summer than if you had spent a full summer with the employer
- For more information about negotiating split summers, visit OPIA’s FAQ page
Split Summer Logistics
- Be aware that although many nonprofits and government agencies allow splits, not all of them do
- Find out whether an organization has a minimum number of required weeks by checking the organization’s website or talking to former interns
- Some law firms have shortened their summer programs; you may find that you can fit in an internship with a nonprofit or government agency after your law firm commitment, without asking the firm for a split
- Research the firms with strong public interest and pro bono programs; they may allow you to spend part of your time at a public interest job while on their payrolls
- Be sure to review the ins and outs of SPIF eligibility, when considering finances and split summers
- Keep in mind that the timing of your internships can make all the difference in your experience (i.e. Capitol Hill has very little work during the month of August)
- Consider whether splitting between two public sector employers makes sense for you; for example, if you find that you do not have enough time to try out everything you want to, even if you use all available term-time opportunities, then it does make sense to split a summer
Alternatives to Splitting Your Summer
Use clinics, volunteer opportunities and journal work/research assistantships (the latter to see if you are intellectually interested in particular subjects) to supplement your summer experiences; keep in mind that you can also seek practical experience during your two upper-level winter terms.