The Externship Program is designed to provide law students with 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 an 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 a minimum of eight hours per week for twelve weeks. The students should work at least 96 hours at their placement in a semester. Each course carries two hours of letter graded academic credit. During the fall the following externship opportunities are available: (1) In-House Counsel; and (2) Judicial. During the spring the following externships are available: (1) Administrative Law; (2) Children's Law; (3) Criminal Law; (4) Judicial; and (5) Legislation.
In the summer students may earn four hours of letter graded academic credit by working a minimum of 30 hours per week for seven weeks. The student should work at least 210 hours at their placement. During the summer the following externship opportunities are available: (1) Administrative Law; (2) Criminal Law; and (3) Judicial.
In addition to the hours spent working at the externship placement, externs are required to attend a companion class. Please see the course schedule for the days and times of those classes.
Third year students are eligible to participate in any of the externship programs. Second year students are eligible to participate beginning in the spring semester of their second year. Students may not participate in more than two externship courses and may not earn more than six academic credits from externships. If a student participates in more than one externship, the externships must be in different areas. Students participating in the externship program may not earn a salary or receive other compensation for the work performed at the placement.
Interested students must complete an externship application and submit it to the Director of Externships and Special Academic Programs. The Director will work with each student to find a suitable placement depending on the student's interest and placement availability. The student will be registered for the externship class directly by the Registrar's Office.
Students enrolled in the externship program 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, and legal research, students also have the opportunity to observe attorneys and judges both in the courtroom and behind the scenes.
Site supervisors are always attorneys. They are expected to provide students with substantive legal work as well as observational experiences. At the conclusion of the course, attorney supervisors submit a written evaluation of the student's performance. This evaluation is based upon a student's research and analytical skills, writing skills, legal knowledge and ability, verbal communication, professionalism, and work habits. This evaluation constitutes 50% of the student's grade.
Prior to beginning an externship, each student must attend the Mandatory Orientation conducted by the Director of Externships and Special Academic Programs.
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 must submit a short reflection paper at the end of the externship. This paper can be on a topic determined by the student and the instructor. Each student will also make a presentation at the end of the program.
Final grades are based upon the following: 50% attorney supervisor evaluation; 30% class participation; 10% class presentation; and 10% weekly journals and reflection paper.
The following types of externships are available: