The Straus Institute's Externship Program is a fantastic opportunity for students to develop professional skills by integrating their studies of dispute resolution principles with practical field experience.
Students that participate in our externship program can expect the following:
- Research and consult with their academic advisor to identify potential externship placements that advance their professional goals.
- Gain valuable practical skills in problem solving, analysis, and professional dispute resolution processes.
- Grow their professional network by building relationships with supervisors, colleagues, and clients.
During my externship with the Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services in New York, I had the opportunity to learn how a sophisticated organization uses ADR to prevent and resolve workplace disputes. I worked on several projects related to conflict resolution, civility, confidentiality, and conflict management. I also provided observer feedback to mediations, facilitated conversations, ombuds sessions, and diversity and civility workshops. I really appreciated the experience, and back in Brazil I am already using the knowledge I got from the internship.
All students in the Master's and many in the LLM program are required to complete one or two externships (depending on your degree requirements). Each externship is a two-unit experience, and students are expected to complete 105 hours of fieldwork (52.5 hours per unit). Lunch, breaks, and travel time to/from home or campus are excluded from accumulated fieldwork hours. A specific, experienced practitioner must supervise each student. The supervisor will be responsible for monitoring the student and their assignments, answering questions, providing regular feedback, verifying timesheets, and completing a performance evaluation. The Straus Institute will award a pass/fail grade upon assessment of the student and supervisor's final evaluations and completion of all hours.
Students who are interested in applying for the externship program must complete the following steps:
Step One: Meet with Your Academic Advisor
Whether a student has already found a placement willing to take them on as an extern, or they have no idea where to start, students need to meet with their academic advisor. These meetings are critical to the externship experience because they are an opportunity for students to discuss their personal and professional goals, and work towards finding a placement that best aligns with their interests. Students will not be able to move forward with their externship until they have gained the approval of their academic advisor.
Step Two: Interview with an Externship Placement
Finding the right externship placement is essential. Academic advisors are a great resource for students who need direction in finding a good fit for their career goals. The Straus Institute has relationships with many agencies and organizations that have taken on our students as externs. Students should treat externship placement interviews as traditional job interviews.
New and existing externship placements must minimally meet the following requirements:
- Contain a substantial ADR component;
- Provide a significant opportunity for experiential learning;
- Meet educational objectives of the program;
- Afford adequate field and faculty supervision; and
- The externship site agrees to comply with all applicable laws, including but not limited to, federal and state wage and hour laws.
An externship placement must be approved and secured by the student before they can register academically.
Step Three: Submit the Externship Placement Form
Once the student has consulted with their academic advisor, interviewed, and has the externship placement confirmed, they need to submit the Externship Placement Form.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to access the Externship Placement Form.
Externships provide you the opportunity to engage your interest in a professional setting (aka the real world), more importantly, they allow you to establish a professional rapport amongst those whom you seek to emulate. Professional rapport is what made the difference for me. After completing an externship at the DFEH, the experience gained, but more so, the established professional rapport, became the single most important factor, in what lead to being considered and subsequently hired as a mediator at the EEOC, Washington D.C. field office.
Timesheets, Journals, & Evaluations
Students are required to complete 52.5 hours of approved externship work for each unit they are enrolled in. To report those hours, students must submit a timesheet approved by their externship placement supervisor every 2 weeks. Incrementally, for every 35 hours of completed work, students must submit a reflection journal. Once the student has completed their externship, they will need to submit a Student Evaluation as well as a Supervisor's Evaluation. The externship forms can be found under "Resources" in Courses. Failure to provide these critical documents will result in credit not being granted for the externship.
Externship Eligibility Information
Here is some additional information that students should be aware of when they apply for externship placements:
- To be eligible to participate in the externship program students must have completed Negotiation Theory & Practice, and Mediation Theory & Practice.
- Candidates in the Master's degree program must complete 4 units of externships while LLM candidates in some concentrations must complete a 2 unit externship. The Mediation Clinic and/or the Fair Employment and Housing Clinic can satisfy the externship requirement.
If students have questions or concerns regarding these eligibility requirements they should connect with their academic advisor for further discussion.