Externships are field placements where students earn academic credit for qualifying legal work under supervision of experienced lawyers. Externships enable students to integrate theoretical knowledge of the law with the development of professional skills through practical experience under the supervision of the faculty, the bench and the bar. These experiences offer students unique and invaluable perspectives on the practice of law and the role of lawyers in society.
Participating law students develop and practice essential lawyering skills with real clients and cases, and under the direction of experienced supervising attorneys. Externships increase students' opportunities to build relationships with lawyers in practice while applying their legal education to practical service for clients.
Once students complete the Externship Checklist, the Clinical Program Manager will register them for the course. Students can register for 1 to 10 units per term and are expected to work with their field supervisors and the Clinical Education Program to determine the appropriate number of units.
Second- and third-year law students and master's degree candidates are eligible to participate in an externship. Registration is contingent upon an overall GPA of 2.3 and approval from Professor Hamilton, Director of Externships. Externship placements are available across government, criminal law, entertainment, public interest, and judicial sectors, as well as in dispute resolution.
Prospective externs must secure their own placements. Current openings are available through Symplicity or the Career Development Office. New placements are eligible for approval if they meet the clinical program's educational objectives and afford adequate field supervision.
Private law firms will be approved if they are either (1) nonprofit public interest entities (cf. section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code), regardless of whether the student is paid or unpaid, or (2) a for-profit entity where the student is paid.
In order to build relationships, gather information, and provide support to placements during the course of the semester, someone from the Externship Program may conduct a site visit to field placements to discuss details about the placement, externs' progress, as well as other questions or concerns. Externship program staff will contact field supervisors directly and will schedule such visits at the convenience of the field supervisor.
Each unit of externship credit requires 52.5 hours of completed field work. Hours spent in on-site work or with lawyers in the field placement count toward externship credit, while travel time, breaks, and most off-site work do not count toward externship credit. Students can earn up to 22 units of out-of-classroom credit toward graduation; these units include credit earned for externships, journals, and advocacy teams. Following the add/drop deadline, changes cannot be made to the number of registered units. Students are expected to register for the number of units that properly reflects the number of hours to be worked. If extenuating circumstances arise, students should contact Professor Hamilton as soon as possible to request an exception.