The LL.M. externship program allows students the opportunity to gain direct experience in dispute resolution and or the U.S. legal system.
For Dispute Resolution Students
The LL.M. in Dispute Resolution students have the opportunity to observe and, to the extent possible, participate in the dispute resolution activities of neutral dispute resolution professionals. They also can participate in the dispute resolution system design or implementation activities of a court, administrative agency, educational system, or company.
- Gain hands-on experience with one or more elements of dispute resolution
- Gain insights into the operation of the legal system and the effects of the use of dispute resolution on that system
- Develop new skills and enhance current skills (to learn how to learn from the experiences in the practice of dispute resolution)
- Develop new professional relationships
- Recognize professional responsibility issues in the dispute resolution field
- Broaden understanding of dispute resolution theory
- Enhance understanding of theory-to-practice issues
For American Law Students
The LL.M. Externship allows students to observe, and to the extent possible, participate in the work of attorneys and courts in the U.S. legal system.
- Gain hands-on experience in legal research and writing
- Observe attorney/client interactions and courtroom presentations
- Recognize professional responsibility issues and gain insights into operations of the U.S. legal system
- Build skills and develop professional relationships
Externship Placements & Timing
Placements are the responsibility of the LL.M. student working in concert with the LL.M. director who is available to assist in arranging suitable placements. In considering placements, students should consider the goals for the externship and develop a brief individualized plan for learning in the proposed externship. The student must complete a form specifying the externship location and a brief description of the externship activities before enrolling in the course. The form is signed by the student, externship supervisor, faculty supervisor, and LL.M. program director. The LL.M. program coordinator has the form or download a copy from the web by clicking here (PDF).
Possible placement sites include work with a professional neutral or governmental or private dispute resolution agency (including, but not limited to, court-annexed dispute resolution programs, private companies offering dispute resolution services, state offices of dispute resolution, community mediation programs.) An on-site mentor is required for assigning projects and providing immediate direction, giving formal and informal advice and continuing consultation, offering mentoring and informal career counseling, acting as models of professional conduct, and monitoring specific work products, if any are assigned. In some externships, there may be more than one mentor so that the student spends time with more than one neutral or in more than one dispute resolution organization. Mentor(s) names, addresses and telephone numbers must be included in the individualized learning plan.
Some students may do externship activities during the summer, perhaps after they have completed their course work, and other students may do externship activities during the regular academic year. Students completing all but the externship requirements by the time of the graduation ceremony may participate in the ceremony even if they have not completed the requirements for the externship by the date of the ceremony. Of course, the degree will not actually be awarded until all the graduation requirements are completed.
Some students may find that doing an externship during the summer would “level out” their workload and be an important part of their program. Students also can plan Independent Study papers on topics related to planned externship activities during the summer.
Because it can take some time to arrange for appropriate externship placements and this would probably affect their course planning for later semesters, students who might be interested in an externship should plan ahead. For example, students interested in summer externships are well advised to start planning in the fall. Students interested in the externship should talk first with the LL.M. director.
Students may take up 3 credits of externship in qualified placements. Additional justification is needed for students who want to take a total of more than 3 credits. One (1) credit equals at least 60 hours of work time.
Externships are graded on a satisfactory-unsatisfactory basis. Credit will be given based primarily on written journal entries which record the number of hours worked at the placement site and provide a thoughtful analysis of the experience(s) of the placement. Short entries are required for each day of activity. In addition, Students must submit a thoughtful final entry to include an evaluation and analysis of the entire experience. On-site mentors also will be asked to provide input to the externship supervisor on the student’s performance.
Independent Study Course
The Independent Study course enables students to engage in an independent study of a topic related to their course of study. Students may enroll in the course for one to three (1-3) credits for a single project. Students may apply up to six (6) credits in total toward the LL.M. degree. Students who want to enroll in the Independent Study course must arrange for a faculty member to supervise the course. The Independent Study course may be supervised by any MU faculty member with a regular academic appointment. The student must complete a form specifying the title of the project, a brief description of the project, and the number of credits. Students must submit this form before they can enroll in the course. The form is available from the LL.M. Coordinator or by clicking here (PDF). It must be signed by the supervising faculty member and the director of the LL.M. Program. As a rough guideline, papers should be about twenty (20) pages for each credit. So, for example, one should write about 60 pages for a 3-credit Independent Study course. Students may use the Independent Study course to refine a paper written for another course so that the paper may be suitable for publication. In that situation, the number of credits would be assigned in consultation between the student, the faculty supervising the course, and the director of the LL.M. Program.
LL.M. Practicum on Dispute Resolution Training and Education
The LL.M. Practicum on Dispute Resolution Training and Education provides students an opportunity to extend their theoretical and practical understanding of dispute resolution practices by: (1) assisting law professors to incorporate dispute resolution concepts into first-year and upper-level courses, and (2) assisting J.D. students by serving as judges and advisors in student competitions as well as other activities that promote education of law students about dispute resolution. Students interested in the practicum should talk with Prof. Jim Levin, who supervises this course.
- Gain experience teaching and training in the area of dispute resolution
- Better understand various teaching and training methodologies and curriculum design
- Develop new skills and enhance existing skills
- Recognize professional responsibility issues in the field of dispute resolution
- Broaden understanding of dispute resolution theory
The Practicum is offered for one (1) or (2) credits and can be extended over two semesters. One (1) credit equals at least 60 hours of work time.
Placements are the responsibility of the LL.M. student working in concert with Prof. Jim Levin who is available to assist in arranging suitable placements. In considering placements, the student should consider the goals for the practicum and develop a brief individualized plan for learning. The student must complete a form outlining the practicum plan before enrolling in the course. The form is signed by the student, practicum supervisor, faculty supervisor, and LL.M. program director. The LL.M. program coordinator has the form or download a copy from the web by clicking here (PDF). Students must submit this form before they can enroll in the course. The Practicum plan can consist of a single activity or a combination of several activities (e.g., 20 hours judging competitions and 40 hours working with a professor to develop dispute resolution exercises for an upper-level course).
Practicum is taken on a satisfactory-unsatisfactory basis. Credit will be given based primarily on written journal entries that record the number of hours worked and provide a thoughtful analysis of the experience(s) of the practicum. Short entries are required for each day of activity. In addition, students must submit a thoughtful final entry to include an evaluation and analysis of the entire experience. Faculty working with the student in the practicum also will be asked to provide input to the practicum supervisor on the student’s performance.