Tag: #GLI

Legal Assistants and Paralegals

When people talk about the most popular and important jobs in the legal world, many might say lawyers and lawmakers. However, legal assistants and paralegals are necessary for lawyers and lawmakers to do their jobs.  While the terms paralegals and legal assistants are often lumped together, the two roles can have very different qualifications and tasks to complete. If you are interested in a legal profession that does not require a law degree, and keeps you out of the spotlight while still doing important, steady, well-paid work, then a paralegal or legal assistant job might be for you!

 Paralegals are specifically qualified, with most having an associate’s degree or certification in paralegal studies.  Some law firms will hire paralegals with a bachelor’s degree in a humanities program and then train you to get a paralegal certification while on the job. Paralegals are hyper-focused on getting everything ready for trials: drafting legal documents, researching laws, interviewing clients and generally helping lawyers prepare.

Legal assistants are less specialized, and usually carry the blunt of the administrative work around the firm; they help schedule and keep track of appointments and meetings, and manage the financial work such as billing of clients. However, their work may also encompasses plenty of tasks accomplished by paralegals, such as conducting legal research and creating and proofreading documents. Legal assistants usually only need a high school diploma to be hired, however there are legal assistant certifications that improve one’s chances of being hired.

The job market for legal assistants and paralegals has gotten increasingly competitive, and if you are at Lawrence, you might already be qualified for at least one of these positions! To be a paralegal or legal assistant, you should be organized, with great writing and communication skills alongside a great deal of tech savviness. It is also important to note that paralegals and legal assistants can be anywhere: in government, in law firms, and in businesses.  Therefore, if that interests you, being a paralegal or legal assistant might just be the job for you!





Spencer R. Brown is a sophomore experiencing their first year at Lawrence University, with a major in Government. They work as a Marketing and Media Assistant in the Career Center and creates content for students in both Communication, Journalism & Written Arts (#CJW) and Government, Law & International Relations (#GLI) career communities. A writer and animator by trade, Spencer is fascinated in finding ways to make digesting information entertaining. Feel free to connect with them on LinkedIn here!

Community Organizing

Perhaps the most famous community organizer was our 44th President, Barrack Obama.  While most community organizers do not become President, they can make a big difference in their community – no matter the size.

Community organizing is a process where people who live in proximity to each other or share some common problem come together into an organization that acts in their shared self-interest.  Community organizers generally believe that significant change often involves conflict or social struggle in order to generate power for the powerless. The goal of community organizing is to create enough power for a community so that it will influence key decision-makers (e.g. elected officials) on a range of issues over time. This can get community-organizing groups a place at the table before important decisions are made.  Community organizing is different than activism in that it has a coherent strategy for making specific social change, whereas activists often engage in unorganized social protest without a specific plan for achieving their goal –  or, in some cases, even knowing what their goal is.

There is no direct career path to being a community organizer.  Having a bachelor’s degree from a humanities program is helpful so one has a deep and detailed understanding of issues and the ability to problem solve and critically analyze an issue from all perspectives.  Most community organizers are volunteers or interns with individual political campaigns, political parties or grassroots organizations first.  It does not take any specific job training to become a community organizer, just a passion for an issue or issues, a strong understanding of that issue and the ability to advocate and argue for your group’s position.  Strong organizational and communication skills are a must.  The ability to fundraise may also be helpful.  As long as people feel underserved or ignored, there will always be a need for community organizers.






The Colin Powell Leadership Program

In late 2022, the U.S. State Department launched the Colin Powell Leadership Program “to further advance the Department’s commitment and efforts to hire a workforce representative of all segments of society and in support of the department’s modernization agenda.”  The program provides opportunities to pursue careers at the Department of State.

Named after the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Secretary of State, this program provides paid fellowships to recent college graduates and paid internships to students who enrolled at accredited institutions of higher education.  Both paths may lead to full-time employment opportunities at the State Department and will develop future leaders through training, mentoring, and on-the-job experience.

To be eligible for the Colin Powell Leadership Internship Program, applicants must either be an enrolled or current student, on a part-time or full-time basis, pursuing their bachelor’s degree in a qualifying post-secondary educational program.  A cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 out of 4.0 is required.  The duration of the internship program will be determined by the participant’s anticipated graduation date and may not exceed four years from the initial appointment to the program.

Applicants for the Colin Powell Leadership Fellowship Program must have received a baccalaureate or graduate degree within the last two years with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 out of 4.0.  The fellowship program is a one-year paid developmental program.

 Visit https://careers.state.gov/interns-fellows/civil-service-fellowships/colin-powell-leadership-program/ for more information and to apply during the next open application period.

Put your language skills to use for the NSA!

If you want to put your language skills to use and serve your country, perhaps the National Security Agency (NSA) is for you!  The NSA works closely with the rest of the Intelligence Community to protect the United States from foreign threats and adversaries. NSA has both offensive and defensive missions. The offense collects, analyzes, and reports intelligence information derived from foreign signals to assist United States policymakers and military commanders in making well-informed decisions that protect U.S. security. The defense prevents adversaries from gaining access to sensitive or classified national security information. The NSA also protects and defends U.S. government IT systems against cyber threats.

Foreign language proficiency is vital to NSA’s mission.  NSA language analysts are at the front line of national defense. They analyze foreign communications to uncover potential threats. They are the first to determine the relevance of collected intelligence, and they put the intelligence into context for our nation’s leaders.

There are a few different opportunities for Lawrence students and new graduates to get experience with the NSA. 

In the NSA Summer Language Program Internship, you will spend 12 weeks working as a language analyst at NSA.  Proficiency in Chinese, Russian, and Farsi, are in high demand, but other languages will be considered.  The application period is usually from September 1 through October 31 each year. 

In the NSA Cooperative Education Program (Co-Op) for Language, students will alternate semesters between college and working at NSA as a language analyst.  Students can apply for the Co-Op Program starting halfway through their year or during their sophomore year.  Application period is open from September 1 to October 31 and from February 1 to March 31 each year and is for Chinese and Russian students.  

Finally, the Language Analysis Development Program (LADP) is a full-time development program for new-hires and involves rotational tours in a variety of offices, coursework to build foundational knowledge, and quality mentoring. The Language Development Program builds linguistic knowledge for entry-level language analysts and train them in analytic skills and the latest technologies available to the Intelligence Community. Participants will work on a wide range of subjects and learn techniques used to evaluate foreign communications. Combined with geopolitical and cultural expertise, they will use these skills to understand both overtly stated meaning and subtly implied intent as they translate and transcribe foreign communications and report critical information to U.S. government customers.  The LADP application is posted every other month.  It is recommended that students apply 9-12 months prior to graduation.  

For more information on these programs and to apply, visit https://www.intelligencecareers.gov/nsa

The US Government Accountability Office

The federal government is full agencies that go by well-known acronyms, like the FBI, CIA and DOD.  However, have you heard of the GOA?  GOA stands for the Government Accountability Office.  While not a sexy name, the GAO is an important part of the federal government.  As part of the legislative branch, the “GAO provides Congress, the heads of executive agencies, and the public with timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can be used to improve government and save taxpayers billions of dollars.”  Their work is done at the request of congressional committees or subcommittees or is required by public law.  The Government Accountability Office is commonly known as the “congressional watchdog”.  When significant amounts of taxpayer money are found to be wasted or inappropriately spent, often the GAO is the first agency to notice.

For students looking for government internships, the GAO should be considered.  For the last two years, the GAO has ranked number one in the Partnership for Public Service’s Best Places to Work rankings among mid-size federal agencies.

In addition to internships, the GAO offers a Professional Development Program for recent graduates that focuses on developing entry-level staff knowledge, skills, and abilities to meet GAO’s mission through work experiences, training, and ongoing coaching and feedback throughout a two-year program. Staff are generally rotated among GAO’s mission teams or placed in staff offices. 

David Trimble from the Lawrence class of 1982 (Philosophy) currently works at the GAO and says working for the GAO is “in many ways it is the perfect fit for anyone that appreciates a liberal arts education.”

For more information, click here for details on GAO internships and here for more about the GAO Professional Development Program.

Internships and Fellowships with the U.S. State Department

For the many Lawrence students interested in our growing International Relations program, getting field experience is a very helpful complement to what is being taught in the classroom. If one is seeking that experience in Government, the U.S. State Department is the place to look.

The Department of State has numerous options available to students looking for hands-on experience in the world of international affairs. But the wide array of options can be dizzying to look through and understand. Luckily, the State Department recently added a page to their web site that groups all of their fellowships and internships in one place.

The State Department Internships/Fellowships page is divided into three sections.

The Programs section provides brief overviews of how the internship process works and a summary of the Pathways Program and Foreign Service Fellowships. The more robust Internships section is for current college students and provides a great deal of detail on the Pathways, Department of State, Foreign Service and Virtual Federal Service internships. The Fellowships section is for graduates and some current students and provides details on long-running programs like the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program, Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Graduate Fellowship Program, the William D. Clarke, Sr. Diplomatic Security Fellowship as well as newer programs like the Colin Powell Leadership Program.

Details on both internships and fellowships include descriptions of the positions/programs, eligibility requirements, compensation and benefit information, the application timeline, deadlines and more.

Be sure to bookmark the U.S. Department of State Internships / Fellowships webpage and refer back to it when looking for field experience in International Relations!