USC Law Externship Program

Dates for Spring 2015: January 12–April 6th
Application Deadline: Friday, October 17th at 5pm


The Externship Program is designed to provide law students the opportunity to expand their legal education beyond the classroom setting. Students can earn academic credit while gaining professional experience by working under the supervision of a licensed attorney and participating in a course taught by instructors who have experience in the various practice areas. Students will learn through hands on experiences as well as observation.

During the fall and spring semesters, students are expected to work ten hours per week for twelve weeks. Each course is two credit hours. Students may earn four credits in summer by working 30 hours per week for eight weeks. Third year students are eligible to participate in any of the externship programs. Second year students are eligible starting spring of their 2L year. Students may not participate in more than two externship courses and may not earn more than six credits.

In addition to the hours spent working in the externship placement, externs are required to attend a companion externship class. Please see the course schedule for days and times of those classes.

Students will be registered for the externship program directly by the law school's Registrar's Office. Students participating in the externship program may not earn a salary or receive other compensation for the work performed in the placement.

Educational Objectives

Students enrolled in the externship programs are given the opportunity to enhance their professional legal skills. Depending on the externship placement, students can develop their research and writing, interpersonal skills, professionalism and professional responsibility. In addition to working on substantive tasks like drafting memos, assisting with brief writing, performing legal research, etc. students also have the opportunity to observe attorneys and judges both in the courtroom and behind the scenes.

Placement Sites and Supervisors

Megan Seiner, Director of Experiential Learning will work with each student individually to find a suitable placement depending on the student's interest and availability of placement location.

Site supervisors are always attorneys. They are expected to provide students with substantive legal work as well as observational experiences. Supervisors also submit written evaluations of student performance. The evaluation constitutes 50% of a student's grade.

Student Responsibilities

Prior to beginning an externship, each student must attend the Mandatory Orientation conducted by the Director of Experiential Learning.

Students must turn in weekly timesheets to the Director of Experiential Learning. These timesheets must be signed by your supervisor. They can be emailed, faxed or given directly to the Director.

Students are also required to turn in weekly journal entries detailing experiences over the previous week. Instructors may also require students to provide information in the journal entries regarding particular subjects related to the weekly discussion.

Students are also expected to submit a reflection paper at the end of the externship. This paper can be on a topic agreed on between the student and the instructor. Each student gives a presentation at the end of the program. For graded externships, 50% of grades from supervisor evaluations; 30% on class participation; 10% on class presentation and 10% on weekly journals and paper.

Students should keep in mind that each placement is a professional setting. Each will have its own written and unwritten rules concerning dress. Some will require students to wear suits every day whereas others are business casual. On the first day, err on the side of caution and wear a suit.

Externship Options

The following types of externships are available: