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Legal Apprenticeship for Professional Skills Development
An externship is a semester-long legal apprenticeship for students to develop practical, professional skills and obtain significant experience in a legal setting, such as a governmental agency, law firm, corporation, court or legal aid. An externship provides students with the opportunity to practice their craft, to observe highly respected attorneys and judges at work and to network with the legal community.
Under the direct supervision and mentorship of an experienced attorney or judge in an externship field office, students will analyze legal problems and find creative, competent, and legally sound solutions to those problems by applying the skills and knowledge that they have studied in law school. Students will have opportunities to develop versatile lawyering skills like client interaction, efficiency, fact investigation, interviewing, multitasking, negotiation, networking, oral communication, organization, problem-solving, critical reading, research, time management and writing. Students will also develop skills of critical reflection by analyzing their experience from a variety of perspectives.
Students are eligible to take the externship course in their final two semesters or in the summer immediately preceding their final two semesters. Prior to commencing an externship, students must attend a two-hour orientation class covering topics like confidentiality, professionalism, conflicts of interests and the unauthorized practice of law. Students are required to work 192 unpaid hours in their field office during the semester in which they take the course. All proposed externship positions must be approved in advance by the externship professor to ensure the position meets the academic needs of the externship program.
Expectations of Your Field Supervisor
An experienced attorney or judge will assume principal responsibility for each student in an externship as a field supervisor and will serve as the contact person for the externship professor. Field supervisors are expected to regularly meet with students to provide them with general supervision, evaluate their performance, discuss the activities of the field supervisor's organization, answer questions, and generally serve as a mentor to the student. Students are expected to work in their externship primarily at their placement site.
If you are interested in becoming a Field Supervisor, please click here.