Proposing New Externship Placements
Interested in proposing a new externship placement? Please review these guidelines. If you have any questions, please contact Professor Megan McAlpin.
An academic versus a volunteer externship.
When you propose a new externship placement, you are proposing a new academic course. That new academic course will have two components: field work and an opportunity to reflect on that field work through a regularly scheduled class, a series of tutorials, or other meetings with a faculty member. If it is approved and you enroll, you will pay tuition for the course and, other than reimbursement for expenses, you cannot receive compensation.
Thus, before proposing a new externship, please consider whether you are interested in the work experience or the combined work and academic experience. If you are interested in the work experience only, discuss with the organization the possibility of volunteering as an extern. If you are interested in the combined work and academic experience, please read on.
Plan in Advance.
All new externship placements must proceed through a series of steps:
- Contact the Director of Clinics and Externships. As you begin to think about developing an externship, please contact the Director of Clinics and Externships. Some externships pose more challenges than others. The Director can alert you to any possible challenges and discuss possible adjustments. In addition, the Director may be able to put you in contact with faculty members who have substantive knowledge or contacts in that area.
- Develop a proposal. As described below, developing a proposal requires you to consult with the field supervisor, the faculty supervisor, and the Director of Clinics and Externships. Give yourself plenty of time to do that. The Director can provide you with a sample proposal so that you can see the kinds of information that need to be gathered and provided to the curriculum committee.
- Submit a proposal to the Director of Clinics and Externships. The Director of Clinics and Externships will review your proposal to ensure it conforms with the standards described below (under "Eligibility" and "Developing a Proposal"). After reviewing your proposal, the Director may request revisions. In addition, the Director will contact your field supervisor to discuss the UO externship program and the specific terms of your proposal. Please allow enough time for the Director to review your proposal and discuss your proposal with your faculty and field supervisors and for you to make any revisions.
Submit a proposal to the Curriculum Committee. Next, the Director or faculty supervisor will submit your proposal to the Curriculum Committee. To ensure that the Curriculum Committee has sufficient time to review your proposal, your proposal should be submitted by the following dates:
- Mid-November, if seeking a spring placement.
- Mid-April, if seeking a summer or fall placement.
- Although the Curriculum Committee may consider proposals submitted after these dates, review of your proposal becomes more difficult once school is in recess because the curriculum committee does not meet when classes are not in session. Therefore, to ensure timely consideration of your proposal, please submit your proposal several weeks before classes end.
- Register. Finally, if the Curriculum Committee approves your proposal, you must fill out and submit to the registrar's office an externship registration form. Externship registration forms are available on My Law, under the registrar's tab. Clinic on the "forms" link to find the appropriate registration form.
Any student enrolling in an externship must have completed at least 28 credits of law school courses in the regular classroom setting and have at least a 2.0 GPA. In addition, if your cumulative GPA places you in the bottom quartile of your class, you must receive permission from the Director of Clinics and Externships before you will be allowed to register. In determining whether to grant such approval, the Director will consult with the student, the Dean of Students, and the faculty supervisor.
Developing a Proposal.
Your proposal should include the following information.
- Description of the externship. Please describe the legal and other analytical work to be performed and the practical skills to be developed through this externship placement.
- Proposed term(s) of the externship. Please state the semester(s) when the externship will be available to UO students and the number of students the field office will supervise each semester.
Additional eligibility requirements (if any). If the field office contemplates repeating the externship in more than one semester, please indicate any eligibility requirements (that go beyond the law school's eligibility requirements). Usually, the eligibility requirements are of two kinds.
- Pre-requisites. Some field offices require or prefer that externs have completed particular courses or be enrolled in particular courses at the time of the externship.
- Selection process If the externship is to be repeated by future students, we must establish a selection process. Usually, a field office will request a cover letter and resume. Some also request a transcript and writing sample. If the externship is to be repeated, please describe the selection process, the dates by which any materials must be submitted, and the person to whom those materials must be submitted.
- Credit hours. Please state the number of credit hours that a student may earn by participating in this externship. UO law school follows these guidelines:
- Academic year.Students may receive from 3 to 12 hours of credit per academic year. Each credit hour awarded should equal 4 hours of work per week (in the field or in class) during a 14-week semester.If 12 credit hours are awarded, the student must work 40 hours per week and, at the end of the semester, submit a major paper or similar work product as determined by the faculty and field supervisor.
Hours per week
(for 14 weeks)
|12||40 + paper||560 + paper|
- Summer term Students may receive 3 to 6 hours of credit. Each credit hour represents 7 hours of work per week (in the field or in class) during an 8-week term.
Hours per week
(for 8 weeks)
- Course and Writing Component. Please describe the academic component of the externship. The academic component must provide an opportunity for students to reflect on their field placement experience. That opportunity can be provided in a number of ways. The UO law school follows these guidelines:
- All externs must participate in a seminar, regularly scheduled tutorials, or other means of guided reflection. This course component must be taught by the faculty supervisor and, if the externship is awarded 4 or more credits, the course component must occur contemporaneously with the field work.
- The extern should maintain a weekly time log and journal. Both the time log and the journal should be submitted to the faculty supervisor on a regular basis.
- At the end of the semester, the extern must submit to the faculty supervisor and the Director, a five-page double-spaced paper of approximately 2,500 words reflecting on the externship experience.
- If the externship is awarded 12 credits, the extern must also submit a research paper on a topic agreed to by the faculty and field supervisors.
- Field Supervisor. The proposal should name the field supervisor, describe the field supervisor's relevant work history, and provide contact information. In addition, the proposal should outline the field supervisor's responsibilities. Generally, a field supervisor's responsibilities include the following:
- Providing the extern with varied work experiences;
- Training the extern to ensure competent performance;
- Meeting regularly with the extern to review and discuss the extern's work and the professional and ethical implications of that work;
- Evaluating the extern mid-semester and at the end of the semester;
- Submitting a mid-semester evaluation to the extern and the faculty supervisor and an end-of-semester evaluation to the extern, faculty supervisor, and Director.
- When submitting a proposal, please indicate whether a copy of the proposal with a description of these responsibilities has been provided to the field supervisor.
- Faculty Supervisor. The proposal should name the faculty supervisor and provide contact information. In addition, the proposal should outline the faculty supervisor's responsibilities. Generally, a faculty supervisor's responsibilities include the following:
- Teaching the course component, unless the student is enrolled in another course relating to the externship;
- Communicating with the student extern on a regular basis in a critical evaluation of the externship placement;
- Reviewing weekly journals;
- Reviewing the extern's research paper, if the externship is awarded 12 credits;
- Ensuring that the field supervisor is providing the student externs an experience consistent with these rules and the educational goals of the law school by regularly communicating with the field supervisor, student extern, and the Director. The faculty supervisor is also responsible for conducting a site visit or its equivalent, if the externship is seeking 4 credits or more; and
- Awarding credit for the externship at the end of the semester; and
- Submitting an end-of-semester report to the Director. That report should review the number of students enrolled in the externship during the semester; the kinds of work the student did as an extern; describe the site visit or remote investigation, if one was conducted; and assess the quality of the student's educational experience.
- Reimbursement. Students receiving academic credit for a field placement may not also be paid. Students may be reimbursed for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses related to the field placement. Please explain whether you contemplate being reimbursed for expenses. If you do contemplate reimbursement, please explain the process for reimbursement.
- Sample proposals. Samples of past-proposals are available from the Director of Clinics and Externships upon request.
If you have any questions please contact Professor Megan McAlpin, Director of Clinics and Externships.