Externship Requirements

The goal of the Externship Program is to provide students with an experiential learning opportunity by working in carefully selected legal settings under the supervision of a mentor-attorney. Externships provide students an opportunity to observe and participate by getting a sense of the kind of lawyer they wish to become. In addition, the program is intended to foster sensitivity to the social, political and professional implications of the legal process.

  1. An externship must be approved by the Curriculum Committee before a student may work there. Approval must be sought by the law faculty member who will supervise the externship. Faculty who wish to petition the Committee for approval of an externship should complete the New Externship Application Form (attached). A resume of the proposed field supervisor should be included.
  2. In assessing the extern program, the Curriculum Committee will consider
    1. The educational objectives of the program,
    2. The adequacy of instructional resources,
    3. The system for evaluating the student’s work,
    4. The qualifications of and the method of evaluating the field supervisor and field instructors (if any),
    5. The classroom component (if any),
    6. The method of selecting students,
    7. Prerequisites for student participation,
    8. The number of students participating,
    9. The amount of credit awarded,
    10. The type and variety of work to be done by the student,
    11. The manner and regularity with which the student’s work will be evaluated by the field and faculty supervisors, and
    12. The means by which the faculty supervisor will evaluate the overall educational experience offered by the placement.
  3. Once approved, the chair of the Curriculum Committee must send a copy of the approved petition or a memorandum describing the externship to the Registrar who will add it to the online list of approved externships. The chair should also notify the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the approval.
  4. Externships are approved for a period ending the August following the expiration of three years from the date of approval. A faculty supervisor who wishes to extend the externship an additional three years should seek reapproval the spring semester before the August expiration of the approval period by sending the Externship Re-Approval Form (attached) to the Chair of the Curriculum Committee and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. If a supervising faculty member wishes to terminate an existing externship, she or he should notify the Registrar’s Office so that the description of it can be pulled from the list of current externship offerings.
  5. Absent approval by the Curriculum Committee, a faculty member who is on leave may not supervise an externship.
  6. In no event may the Curriculum Committee approve the award of more than 6 hours of credit for participation in one externship.
  7. Externship students are graded Pass/Fail absent approval by the Curriculum Committee of an alternative grading system.
  8. To be eligible to enroll in an externship, the student must have satisfactorily completed 28 hours of law school credit. A student on academic probation may not enroll in an externship.
  9. Absent approval by the Curriculum Committee, a student may earn only 6 credit hours for externships while a J.D. student. A law school clinic course, whether an internal or external placement, is not an externship for the purposes of these rules.
  10. J.D. students who are applying for an externship for credit have priority over LL.M. students and J.D. students who wish to enroll in the externship for no credit. LL.M. students must have the prior approval of the Graduate Committee to be eligible to enroll in an externship.
  11. A student extern must work a minimum of 60 hours per semester at the placement for every credit hour earned unless otherwise approved by the Curriculum Committee.
  12. The student may not be compensated for any work done at the externship placement.
  13. A J.D. degree candidate at this law school may not enroll in an externship while attending another school without the prior approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. If the externship has not been previously approved by the other law school, the externship must be approved by the Curriculum Committee.
  14. Every student extern must have a field supervisor. The field supervisor must be a lawyer and be responsible for assigning, overseeing, and evaluating the student’s work. The supervising faculty member is responsible for evaluating the qualifications and suitability of the field supervisor and for ensuring that the field supervisor complies with all requirements placed upon externships by the school.
  15. When an externship is initially approved, or whenever there is a new field supervisor, the field supervisor must receive from the supervising faculty member a letter that specifies the duties and obligations of the field supervisor. (Samples are attached.) The faculty and field supervisors must reach an understanding that the approval of the externship is conditioned upon the acceptance by the field supervisor, individually, and the externship placement as a matter of policy, of the duties and obligations contained in the letter.
  16. The field supervisor must evaluate the performance of the extern student(s) in writing (which includes electronic communications) twice during a full-semester externship. These evaluations may be in any form deemed sufficient by the supervising faculty member. (Suggested evaluation forms are attached.) The first evaluation must be done at mid-semester, the second at the end of the externship. The field supervisor must send copies of the evaluations to the faculty supervisor and to the student. As soon as possible thereafter, both the field and faculty supervisors must meet with the student to discuss the evaluations.
  17. The student extern must complete two written evaluations of the placement and the field supervisor, at mid-semester and at the conclusion of the externship. (Suggested evaluation forms are attached.) The student must give a copy of the evaluation to the field and faculty supervisors.
  18. While working at the extern placement, the student must keep a record of the dates and times spent at the placement, the nature of the work done, and for whom it was done. The log must be submitted to the faculty supervisor on a regular basis. If not violative of the placement’s legal duties or policies regarding the confidentiality of its work product, the student’s work product must be submitted to the faculty supervisor on a regular basis during the student’s tenure at the externship.
  19. Either in the form of an essay, research paper, a journal, or other writing, each student must submit to the supervising faculty an evaluation of the student’s educational experience while working at the externship placement. This evaluation should include a critical self-evaluation by the student reflecting how the placement has changed or improved the student’s legal skills and values, and how the experience contributed to the student’s understanding of the legal system and role of lawyers and judges therein.
  20. To enable the faculty supervisor to evaluate the student’s field experience and to ensure that the student is receiving pedagogically valuable work assignments at the placement, the faculty supervisor must be in regular and periodic communication with the student extern and the field supervisor. That communication may be in electronic form.
Approved by the Law Faculty on 11/10/97; effective Jan. 1. 1998; Amended by the Law Faculty on 12/9/2014; effective January 1, 2015
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