The Externship offers students an opportunity to develop the skills necessary to bridge the gap between law school and law practice. Through the Externship, students prepare for "effective and responsible participation in the legal profession" (ABA Std. 301) by applying the core concepts learned in law school courses to the challenges presented in the actual, in-office practice of law.
The externship placement program allows a student to work under the supervision of a lawyer or judge in a public law office, government agency, or not for profit organization or for an attorney in private practice so long as the student is assisting only with pro bono work performed by that attorney, for such purposes as:
Students interested in the externship should talk to Professor Melody Daily (Spring Externship) (room 304) or Assistant Dean Lisa Key (Summer Externship) (room 103).
Only students who have completed their first year of law school and are in good academic standing can register for the Externship course.
To receive Externship credit, a student must arrange a placement with a public interest group, non-profit organization, prosecutor or defender office, federal or state agency, or court. The student must also identify a licensed attorney who works for the organization and who has agreed to be the student's supervisor. Information about placements can be found on Symplicity and through the Career Development Office.
Ordinarily students cannot receive externship credit for working at private law firms. However, a student can serve as an extern for an attorney in private practice so long as the student is assisting only with pro bono work performed by that attorney. Such placements must be approved in advance by the law school.
Students cannot receive compensation for their work as externs.
The classroom component of the course is intended to help students focus on fundamental lawyering skills (as identified by the MacCrate Report and Carnegie Report), identify the skills they want to develop, and consider strategies for developing these skills during their Externship placement and later throughout their legal careers. The required text is Learning from Practice: A Professional Development Text for Legal Externs, by J.P. Ogilvy, Leah Wortham, Lisa Lerman, Alexis Anderson, and Margaret Martin Berry (Thomson West 2d ed. 2007). For the first Externship, the professor will base the student's evaluation on the student's satisfactory completion of all course requirements, on the student evaluation form completed by the field placement mentor, and on the professor's conference with the field placement mentor.
For the second Externship, the student will have to meet the same course requirements except that he or she will not be required to read the same materials again. Instead, the student will read professional literature in the relevant field of law. Both the field placement mentor and the course professor must approve the student's reading list. The professor will again base the student's evaluation on the student's satisfactory completion of all course requirements, on the student evaluation form completed by the field placement mentor, and on the professor's conference with the field placement mentor.
To receive credit for a second Externship, the student must establish goals and activities that are significantly more challenging than those selected for the first Externship. For example, a rising 2L who works with the Public Defender may meet the goal of "learning about trial work" by sitting in a courtroom and watching trials. As a 3L, that same student may be second-chairing or conducting a trial. Students can (with the professor's prior approval) demonstrate that they met their goals in a variety of ways, which might include writing a paper, creating a portfolio, or teaching a specific skill to the class.
In addition to working at the placement site, to receive credit for the Externship course a student must complete additional assignments, which may include all or some of the following: