Externship FAQ

What is the Public Service Externship Course?

The Public Service Externship is a course in which law students earn academic credit while serving in positions with state or federal judges, government agencies, or nonprofit agencies. Student externs work under the supervision of the law school’s Externship Director and a field supervisor in the office where they are placed. Student externs receive three hours of academic credit upon satisfactory completion of the course.  The course is graded and includes a seminar component.

What is the seminar component of the program?

Students in the externship course are required to attend a one-day training session during the orientation week prior to the beginning of the semester when they will serve as externs. The student externs also meet in a seminar class with the Externship Director weekly to discuss issues and assigned readings pertinent to their externships.

Why should I apply for a public service externship?

Serving as an extern will expose you to the rewards of public service work and allow you to experience the practice of law in a setting that is focused on serving the common good. You will see first-hand the workings of a judge’s chambers, a government agency, or a nonprofit agency. By serving as an extern, you also will have an opportunity to gain valuable work experience and put into practice the substantive law that you have learned in your other classes.

What are the hours required for the program?

In addition to attending the training session and the weekly seminar classes, each student extern participating in a first externship must complete at least 100 hours of service by the end of the semester and commit to spend 10 hours per week in the office in which he or she is serving as an extern. Students participating in a second externship must complete 115 hours of work and do not attend the weekly seminar classes. Students are expected to spend a minimum of ten weeks working at their externship placements.

Who is eligible to participate?

Any student who has completed at least 30 academic law school credit hours is eligible to participate.  The Externship Director conducts an application process to select students for the course.

How do I apply?

To apply, you must submit a résumé and a brief personal statement (two pages or less) explaining why you want to participate in the course, and you must have an interview with the Externship Director. Enrollment in the course is limited. Selections will be made before the registration deadline for the upcoming semester in which the student is applying to serve as an extern.

When can I apply?

The application process occurs during the semester immediately preceding the semester in which the student wishes to serve as an extern. For example, the application process for Fall Semester externships takes place during the Spring Semester. The opening of the application process is announced through e-mail, flyers in student mailboxes, and postings around the law school. So, watch for the announcements, and submit your application.

Other questions?

Contact Professor Kelly Terry, director of the Externship Program.