Externship Course and Program
The objective of the Externship Program is to teach students, through practical experiences, about the operation of the legal system and the role of lawyers in that system. The Clinical Law Center offers placement specific externships and a general externship course. The placement specific externships include: the Securities and Exchange Commission, Internal Revenue Services, and Environmental Justice Externship at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Students enrolled in placement specific externships will all be working at the same agency or organization and take a contemporaneous seminar course which specifically relates to their experience at the placement site.
Students enrolled in the general externship program can choose their own placement, subject to parameters outlined below, and will enroll in the general externship seminar. Students enrolled in the General Externship Program work for one semester at a designated field placement at a government, nonprofit, or public interest organization or agency in the Washington, D.C. area. In addition, students may work on a pro bono project within a private law firm. Students who propose work within a law firm must provide documentation ensuring that 100% of the student’s work is of a public interest nature and does not generate fees for the firm. Students are also required to attend and participate in a weekly 75-minute seminar taught by the Clinic Director or Equal Justice Program Coordinator. The seminar focuses on a variety of issues and topics including, but not limited to the development of lawyering skills, problems arising at the placement site, ethical issues, discussion of other issues relating to placements, and career opportunities for public interest lawyers.
No enrollment will be permitted, or credit given, for a paid externship. Evaluation will be based on the student’s performance at the placement site (by the law school supervisor and the field supervisor), participation in classroom sessions, and periodic reviews of the student’s journal. A grade of “pass or no-pass” will be awarded.
Fall and Spring Semester Programs
During the Semester Program, students are required to work twelve (12) hours per week for thirteen (13) weeks, and must attend a weekly seminar. A student shall not be permitted to work in excess of fifteen (15) hours per week at a placement site. Additionally, students are required to keep a journal of the student’s reflections and activities at the placement site and submit weekly time sheets verifying their placement hours.
A student shall receive four (4) hours of academic credit upon successful completion of the Semester Program. A student enrolled in the Externship Program shall not be permitted to enroll in a “live-client” clinical course offering during the same semester in which the student is enrolled in the Semester Externship Program. The maximum number of students enrolled in the Externship Program in any semester shall not exceed twenty (20) students.
The placement-specific externships are only available during the academic year and may vary in any given year. Please check the academic course schedule to find out which placement-specific externship is available during the fall or spring semester.
A maximum number of fifteen (15) eligible students will be permitted to complete their field placement during the summer (i.e., between the months of May and August) and to complete the weekly contemporaneous seminar during the summer. Students who are enrolling in the Summer Program must register, be accepted into the program during the spring semester immediately prior to beginning their summer field placement.
Summer Program students must work a minimum of thirty-two (32) hours for ten (10) weeks and meet all other seminar requirements. A student shall receive six (6) hours of academic credit upon successful completion of the Summer Program. The Summer Program is not included in the regular tuition costs, but is an extra elective course that students may choose to pursue. The projected cost of the course is available on the Financial Aid website.
**Please Note: Beginning Summer 2012, students will no longer have the option of completing field work during the summer and taking the fall seminar course. Students wishing to engage in summer externships must be enrolled in the contemporaneous summer seminar course.
Eligibility and Prerequisites
- Successful completion of two (2) semesters of law school study;
- Successful completion of a course in Legal Reasoning, Research & Writing;
- Selection of a placement which has been approved by the Equal Justice Program Coordinator or Clinic Director;
- Written agreement of the Attorney Field Supervisor at the field placement that the placement will adhere to the responsibilities imposed by the Law School; and
- Be interviewed and approved for enrollment by the Equal Justice Program Coordinator or the Clinic Director.
Please consult the General Externship Student Guide for more detailed information including application timelines and requirements. In addition, the Clinical Law Center hosts an open house each semester to discuss all clinical programs, including the Externship Program.
You can also stop by the Clinic (G-18 in Notre Dame) to speak with our staff who can assist you.
updated: June 23, 2012