Externships

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University of Arizona Law students who have secured judicial clerkships
Student externs work in law firms, corporations, non-profit and government offices as well as judicial chambers through our externship program.

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.

Arizona Law 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. 

You may initiate your 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 director of externships Amanda Bynum, abynum@email.arizona.edu, who will review and forward to the Experiential Learning Committee for approval.

Students receive (1) credit for every 50 hours of work in the field, up to a total of 6 credits in a single semester and a total of 10 credits of externship while in law school. All students participating in the externship program are required to attend a classroom component and engage in ongoing reflection through directed journaling assignments.

Post February bar externships are available to both Feb bar takers and non-Feb bar 2L and 3Ls. 

Externship Q & A for Students

Externs are placed in a variety of government agencies, non-profit offices, compliance and corporate counsel offices as well as private law firms throughout the State of Arizona and the world. Students are welcome to meet with the Director of Externships to develop new opportunities. 

Past externship placements have included:

  • ACLU of Arizona
  • Attorney General’s Office
  • Arizona Center for Disability Law
  • Arizona Corporation Commission
  • ASUA Legal Services
  • Arizona State Legislature
  • Pio Decimo Tax Clinic
  • Catholic Community Services Immigration Clinic
  • City of Tucson Public Defender
  • Culp & Kelly
  • Florence Immigration and Refuge Rights Project
  • Federal Public Defender Trial & Habeas Unit
  • Goldwater Institute
  • Governor’s Office
  • Department of Homeland Security / ICE
  • Intel
  • Airforce JAG
  • Keep Tucson Together
  • NatLaw Center
  • Step up to Justice
  • Supreme Court of the Navajo Nation
  • Office Children’s Counsel
  • Pascua Yaqui Tribal Court
  • Pascua Yaqui Public Defender
  • Pima County Public Defender
  • Raytheon
  • Rusing & Lopez
  • Southern Arizona Legal Aid
  • Tohono O’Odam Public Defender
  • University of Arizona Athletics Compliance Office
  • University of Arizona Global Initiatives
  • United States Attorney’s Office
  • Zanes Law

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 may be able to place the student. Planning ahead will give you the benefit of more choices.

Students may initiate their own field placement by completing the externship proposal form. All externships must be pre-approved by the director of externships, the field supervisor and the Experiential Learning Committee. Students must fill out an externship proposal and submit to the director of externships, who will review and forward to the Experiential Learning Committee for approval. 

Post-February bar externships are available to 3Ls and 2Ls Student-initiated externships must be approved in the same way as described above. 

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. All international students must obtain CPT approval from ISS prior to beginning work. 

Students can receive both pay and credit for externship hours. Employers are responsible for complying with all laws relating to employment and unpaid work.

For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Labor's web page outlining internship programs under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Application processes vary by placement/agency. Some postings are available on CareerCAT. Students interested in externship opportunities not posted on CareerCAT should speak with the director of externships. 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.

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 will attend an externship class and engage in reflective practice by way of directed journaling prompts.

All externships earn pass/fail credits. If you have completed your required hours, attended class, 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.

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. 

Yes! Contact the Director of Externships to discuss whether we can work out an arrangement with an out of town organization.

Resources and Forms

Externship Descriptions (PDF)
Supervision Manual 2018 (PDF)
Externship Proposal Form 
Learning Contract 2018
Mid-Term Self Assessment 2018
Student Evaluation Form
Field Supervisor Evaluation Form
Fair Labor Standards Act Information

Watch the CLE workshop for attorneys who supervise law students in externships and law school clinics
Recorded Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016

Judicial Externships

Judicial externships provide students the opportunity to work and interact with judges and their staff in chambers. In so doing, students gain insight into the legal system, develop their legal skills and professional behavior, and demonstrate their ability to work with a supervisor and demonstrate self-direction.

Students are placed in the Federal District Court, the United States Bankruptcy Court, the Arizona Court of Appeals Division Two, and the Pima County Superior Court, including the civil, criminal, family, and juvenile benches. Other opportunities may be arranged as well on an individual basis. 

Enrollment requires registering for Law 693-002 and providing professors with a resume and completed placement form upon request (generally after registration and before the start of the semester). Students may register for 1-4 credits; 2 credits is standard during the school year, but more or less is allowed upon consultation with the professor. No particular set of academic achievements is required, but students are encouraged to be enrolled in or have taken Evidence, and completion of Advanced Legal Writing and Research is helpful. 

Students will be held to a high standard of professionalism in their interaction with chambers, including meeting all time commitments and completing assigned work projects. Schedules and assignments are coordinated with chambers, and although chambers are generally flexible with student schedules, adherence to the agreed-upon schedule and work is expected. Students must comply with the code of judicial conduct for the court to which they are assigned. Background checks and, in some cases, drug testing are required in some courts.

Academic-year judicial externships are taught by Part-time Professor of Practice Lisa Howell. Contact Professor Howell with questions at any time at lisavhowell@email.arizona.edu. Summer judicial externships are taught by Professor of Practice Shannon Trebbe.

Fellowships

The Minority Writing Program is a collaborative program among: The Arizona Minority Bar Association and the State Bar of Arizona Committee on Minorities and Women in the Law.

Purpose of the Program
The program provides an opportunity for talented minority law students to participate in clerkships at private law firms. The Minority Writing Program provides second-year law students with practical clerking experience in private law firms in Pima County, Arizona. This experience both enhances the student’s writing skills and exposes them to the private firm environment.

The Arizona Minority Bar Association chairs this collaborative effort to provide a liaison between the students involved in the clerking program and the firms providing real life assignments.

Eligibility
Second-year minority law students at The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law are eligible to apply for the Minority Writing Program.

Interviews
During the fall semester each year, private firms that will participate in the program interview interested students. The firms make offers to the students, and the students are matched with a firm.

Length of Clerkship
After the student clerk is selected, the firm notifies the student of a start date in January. The student will clerk at the firm for 10 hours per week and not more than 20 hours per week for the entire spring semester (12 weeks).

Scholarship
Once the law firm has selected a student and the student accepts the offer, the law firm will designate a $5,000 scholarship in the student’s name at The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. The scholarship requires that the student participate in the Minority Writing Program for the entire semester.

Program Requirements
The student will clerk for the assigned firm for 12 weeks and work on projects assigned by mentor attorneys. These projects will be reviewed and feedback given to the student to improve legal writing skills.

Offers of Employment
Students are aware that there is no job offer attached to this program at the end of the semester. The program is designed to develop better writing skills and to expose the students to private firm clerkships. If a firm is impressed with the student and wants to offer a summer clerking position or other opportunities to the student, that is entirely up to the firm.

Further Interest
If you are interested in learning more about the Minority Writing Program, or have questions, please contact: Willie Jordan-Curtis, assistant dean for student affairs and clinical professor of law, at 520-621-8602 or jordancu@email.arizona.edu.

Offered in the spring semester, legislative attorneys select several second- and third-year law students as legal externs. 

The work consists predominantly of legal research and writing, with an opportunity to learn about the legislative process. Positions are available in both the Senate and the House of Representatives with the non-partisan Rules Committee legal staff and the Republican and Democratic legal staff, and with the Legislative Council. 

Students receive up to six externship hours and a cash stipend to cover out-of-pocket costs associated with the externship.

Interested students should contact Amanda Bynum at abynum@email.arizona.edu for more information.

Administered by Assistant Dean Willie Jordan-Curtis in conjunction with the prosecution clinic, the fellowship is a year-long opportunity for students serious about criminal prosecution. 

Students receive 10 credits over the course of the year while working at four prosecuting agencies. Students also receive a $10,000 stipend. 

Interested students should contact Amanda Bynum at abynum@email.arizona.edu for more information.

Externship Info for Employers

Employers — visit our externship hiring page for details on how to hire through our flexible externship program and find a student who meets your specific needs.

Key Contact

Amanda Bynum
Director of Externships and Bar Success & Part-Time Professor of Practice
abynum@email.arizona.edu
520-621-4212