An externship is the placement of a student in a law office off-campus where the student studies law practice in action under the oversight of an on-site field supervisor and a law faculty member. Externship opportunities are available for all students that have completed their first two semesters and should enhance your educational experience through real lawyering opportunities in the field. The Law College provides academic credit to students studying law through a variety of externship placements in government, non-profit, legislative, executive, judicial, corporate, and for-profit entities where students engage in substantial legal work.
Students may initiate their own field placement or apply for an existing externship. New externships must be pre-approved by the Experiential Learning Committee. Students or employers proposing new externship opportunities fill out an externship proposal form and submit to the Director of Externships, Amanda Bynum, Esq. firstname.lastname@example.org, who will review and forward to the Experiential Learning Committee for approval. Students receive (1) credit for every 50 hours of legal work completed through an externship, up to a total of 6 credits in a single externship (a total of 10 credits of externship work while in law school).
Post February bar externships are available to both Feb bar takers and non-Feb bar 2L and 3Ls.
What externships are available?
The College of Law has a list of preapproved externships, including placements in government, non-profit, corporate and for-profit legal offices. Existing externships have the same faculty and field supervisors each semester. A list of preapproved externships that have been available in past semesters is available here.
Do I find my own placement or will I be placed?
Students often find their own placements through CareerCAT, through previous externships or employment, and other sources. We encourage students who are interested in the externship program to meet the Director of Externships to plan ahead as early as possible. Whether you find your own placement or are placed at a site, you will still need to go through the organization’s application process. If a student is unable to locate a qualifying placement on her/his own, the Director of Externships can place the student. Planning ahead will give you the benefit of more choices.
What if I want to do an externship at an organization not listed?
Students may initiate their own field placement by completing the externship proposal form. All externships must be preapproved by the faculty supervisor, field supervisor, and the Externship Committee. Students must fill out an externship proposal and submit to the Director of Externships who will review and forward to the Externship Committee for approval.
Are there externships available for February Bar takers?
Post-February bar externships are available to 3Ls and 2Ls Student-initiated externships must be approved in the same way as described above.
Are there any prerequisites?
Externships are available for all LLMs, 2Ls and 3Ls. Advanced Admission JD students can enroll in externship credits after they have completed their first year and must obtain CPT approval through ISS.
Can I get credit and/or pay?
A student who enrolls for externship credit must work a minimum of 50 hours in the field per unit enrolled. For example, a student who registers for 3 units must work at least 150 hours. Nothing precludes a student from working more than the required hours. Students may take up to 10 units of externship. In a single semester, students are capped at 6 units. Students seeking to take more than 6 units must obtain permission from the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. Students can receive pay and credit at some placements but corporate and for-profit placements must always comply with the FLSA and therefore can only use unpaid externs for pro bono work. For more information on FLSA, see Fact Sheet available online.
How do I apply/register?
Application processes vary by placement/agency. See externship descriptions for detailed information on how to apply. For any externship, students must have permission from the faculty and field supervisors and the Director of Externships before registering for LAW 693, the externship course.
What are the requirements for passing the externship?
At the start of the semester, the student and their field and faculty supervisors complete a “Learning Contract” that outlines the student’s duties and learning goals for the placement. Throughout the semester, students must engage in ongoing, contemporaneous, faculty-guided reflection which is usually accomplished through weekly journals and regular check-ins. All externships earn pass/fail credits. If you have completed your required hours and engaged in ongoing reflection throughout your placement, you should receive a passing grade. At the end of the semester, the student, faculty, and field supervisor all submit a final evaluation to the Director of Externships. The Director will submit grades to the registrar.
Can I start my externship without a learning contract?
Your credit hours only count once the externship has been approved and cannot be applied retroactively. ABA rules require that an externship is supervised by faculty and that students engage in ongoing contemporaneous reflection. Consequently, you cannot count any hours worked as externship hours prior to approval.
Letter to Field Supervisors
Externship Proposal Form (PDF)
Externship Proposal Form (WORD)
Learning Contract (WORD)
Learning Contract (PDF)
Mid-Term Self Assessment (WORD)
Mid-Term Self Assessment (PDF)
Student Evaluation Form (WORD
Student Evaluation Form (PDF)
Field Supervisor Evaluation (WORD)
Field Supervisor Evaluation (PDF)
Watch the CLE workshop for attorneys who supervise law students in externships and law school clinics Recorded Thursday, January 28, 2016.