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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Washington, DC, Externship Semester

The Washington, DC, Externship Semester offers students the practical experience of working full-time in a legal capacity for the government, non-profits, or other related entities, while completing coursework, networking for post-graduate employment, and experiencing the legal and cultural environment of our nation's vibrant and exciting capital. Classes take place and limited housing is available on the graduate floor of the University's Washington, DC, building, located in the heart of DC just four blocks from the White House.

The semester in DC is part of both the Law School's Off Campus Education Program and the Clinical Law Program. The Washington, DC, Externship Semester endeavors to give students the opportunity to see how our government works, first-hand, through their externship experiences, enriched with classes and events to maximize the DC experience. To that end, the Washington, DC, Externship Semester includes five major components:


Students complete full-time externships (35-40 hours per week for the duration of the semester) in approved positions in the three branches of government, as well as in non-profits, NGOs, and lobbying firms. Completing a full-time externship in DC gives students valuable work experience and helps them compete with DC-area students for post-graduate jobs in the area.


All DC Externship students are required to enroll in and attend the Washington, DC, Externship Workshop, where students reflect on their externship experiences and actively participate in group discussion on topics including legal, ethical, and managerial issues that arise in the workplace, as well as effective lawyering skills.

Academic Courses

DC Externship students are required to enroll in Lawyering in the Nation's Capital, a two-unit course that examines the roles of attorneys in the three branches of government, from both a practical standpoint and a policy perspective. This course features engaging and informative lecture about government structure and process, active student debate, and dynamic guest speakers.

The DC Externship Semester also offers students the opportunity to enroll in an additional course, Advanced Legal Writing, which exposes students to a variety of legal writing exercises, including adversarial writing, non-adversarial writing, and legal opinion writing. This course satisfies the upper-division writing requirement and is designed to complement the externship experience.


Students are encouraged to take advantage of numerous networking opportunities throughout the semester, including alumni-student events.


Students begin their semester in DC with an exciting tour of the city, as part of the orientation day program. During the course of the semester, students visit and tour DC institutions, including the Capitol building, the Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court. 

More about the program