Frequently Asked Questions – Externships
Am I eligible for an externship? If you've successfully completed 28 credits toward the J.D. degree and are in good academic standing, then you are probably eligible for an externship. Be sure, though, that you read all of the eligibility rules posted on MyLaw. You can also read a summary of those rules here.
Where can I do an externship? Typically, you can do an externship at a governmental or non-profit agency. For details about placement sites that have already been approved, contact the Clinics and Externships Program. If the agency that you're interested in isn't already an approved placement site, you can initiate the process for it to become an approved placement site.
How can I find an externship? Many placements advertise opportunities through the Center for Career Planning and Professional Development, so check Symplicity often. But you should treat a search for an externship like any other job search and pursue your interests.
Can I do an externship at a private law firm? The general rule is that private law firms are not eligible as placements. However, there are exceptions to this general rule. For more information about whether a for-profit law firm or an in-house counsel might be an appropriate placement, contact Professor Suzanne Rowe, the Director of the Externships Program.
If I want to extern at an organization that isn't already an approved placement, what do I do? If you're interested in an organization or agency that hasn't already been approved, you can initiate the process for the organization or agency to be approved as a placement by the curriculum committee.
I know where I want to do my externship, now what do I do? If you know where you want to do your externship, you should begin by finding out whether that agency or organization has been approved by the law school's curriculum committee. If it has (and if the agency or organization has offered you an externship), you can apply for academic credit for the externship here.
I accepted a position as an extern, what do I need to do to get academic credit for the externship? While having a position as an extern is a great first step, you can't get academic credit without also applying for course credit for the externship. As part of the application process, you'll need to identify a faculty supervisor. If your externship is in one of the more common areas, you'll be assigned a faculty supervisor. If your externship is more unique, you may need to find a faculty member who is willing to serve as your supervisor. For more information, contact the Clinics and Externships Program.
I have been working for part of the semester and just realized that I could get academic credit for my work. How do I do that? You may or may not be able to pursue your externship for credit. Because an externship requires that you not only work at your field placement (while tracking the hours) but also do guided reflection in your course component, you may be able to pursue externship credit if you haven’t yet reached the add/drop date. If you’re beyond the add/drop date, it's unlikely that you'll be able to earn academic credit. If you'd still like to pursue academic credit, contact Professor Rowe the Director of the Externships Program.
Do I have to do an externship for credit or can I just volunteer? Different placements have different requirements while some placements may require you to be an extern, others are more than happy to have volunteers. Check with the placement that you’re interested in.
My externship’s start and end dates are different than the semester’s start/end. May I begin late or stay longer? You must complete the required number of hours for your placement between the start and end date of the semester. If you work more hours than are necessary to earn the credit for which you have registered, the hours above the number needed to earn academic credit can count as volunteer hours.
I had a great externship this semester. I'd like to keep working at the placement again this semester. Can I? Just like you can't get credit for taking a class twice, you typically can't get credit for doing an externship twice. The exception to this is general rule is that you may be able to do a second semester at the same placement if you can demonstrate that you'll be getting a substantially different experience. Professor Rowe, the Director of the Externships Program, can help you navigate this process.