Phoenix Externship Program Expands Valley Opportunities for University of Arizona Law Students

Feb. 12, 2020

University of Arizona Law has long had close ties to Phoenix, thanks to the city’s proximity to Tucson, strong alumni presence, base for student recruitment, and location for employer interview programs. Now, some 2L and 3L students are studying and working in Phoenix full time for the spring semester through the new Phoenix Externship Program. 

Students in the Phoenix Externship Program spend three days a week working in an externship placement and two days in small-group classes with University of Arizona Law faculty and special guest instructors from the Phoenix area, such as Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick,  Deputy General Counsel to Governor Doug Ducey, Nicole Ong Colyer, and Arizona Attorney General’s Office Chief of Staff, Joe Kanefield.

“As an Arizona native, I plan on practicing in the Phoenix area after graduation, and this program has allowed me to network and plant roots in the Phoenix legal community,” says 2L Rafaella Safarian, who is externing with the law firm of Osborn Maledon through the Diversity Legal Writing Program. 

The externship placements include judicial chambers, government agencies, non-profit offices, corporations and private law firms. 

“We work one-on-one with students to help them secure legal experience and mentorships in precisely the areas of law that interest them,” says Ellen Bublick, Dan B. Dobbs Professor of Law and faculty director of the Phoenix Externship Program. For example, a student with a background in neuroscience and genetics is working at Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), and a student who wanted to experience a clerkship before going into corporate practice is externing for a justice at the Arizona Supreme Court.”  

She adds that the access to influential and deeply experienced legal leaders enhances the classroom experience. 

“Students have small classes with some of the most knowledgeable and respected judges and lawyers in the Valley,” Bublick saysWe are so fortunate that the generous alums and friends of the college are reaching back to support and mentor our students. 

2L Timothy DesJarlais secured an externship with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and says the special curriculum and the exposure to the Phoenix legal market are extremely valuable. 

“I appreciate the opportunity the Phoenix Externship Program gives me to work in Phoenix, given its position as the capital and largest city in Arizona,” says DesJarlaisIt’s an opportunity to expand my horizons and make connections in a city that I am considering practicing in after graduation.”  

While judges, attorneys and lawmakers routinely travel to the University of Arizona Law campus in Tucson, the Phoenix Externship Program makes it even easier for students to connect with Phoenix professionals. Recently, Arizona House of Representatives Majority Leader Warren Petersen and House Minority Leader Randall Friese were both guest speakers during Professor Kirsten Engels Arizona Legislation class about floor and committee procedures.  

Students also participate in professional development, social and networking opportunities with University of Arizona Law alumni and other members of the Phoenix legal community. The Phoenix Externship Program includes a Friday CLE lunch guest speaker series, which is open to Arizona Law alumni and supporters.   

Learn more about the Phoenix Externship Program here, and if you are interested in hosting an Arizona Law extern in the future, email law-arizonalawphoenixprogram@list.arizona.edu to participate.