Howard University

Externship Course and Program

General Externship Program
Nita Mazumder, Esq., Adjunct Professor and Public Interest Manager

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. Students enrolled in externships work for one semester at a designated field placement at a public (i.e. nonprofit or government) institution or agency in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area.

During the semester, students must commit to working twelve (12) hours per week for thirteen (13) weeks, and must attend a two hour weekly seminar. The seminar will explore different factions within the public sector and engage students in a consistent reflection of what it means to be a public interest lawyer. A variety of topics will be presented 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, student journals, in-class presentations, and a final paper. A grade of “pass or fail” will be awarded.

The Externship is a four (4) credit, one-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 Externship Program.

Students are encouraged to identify potential employer placements before applying for the externship program; however, students need not have secured a placement prior to applying. Students are encouraged to discuss placement options with the Adjunct Professor as well as research placements on their own using resources such Symplicity.com and www.pslawnet.org.

To be eligible for the General Externship, students must demonstrate: 1. Successful completion of two (2) semesters of law school study; 2. Successful completion of a course in Legal Reasoning, Research & Writing; 3. Selection of a placement which has been approved by the Adjunct Professor or Clinical Director; 4. Written agreement from the Attorney Field Supervisor at the identified placement indicating that the placement will adhere to the responsibilities imposed by the Law School; and 5. Be interviewed and approved for enrollment by the Adjunct Professor or the Clinical Director.

Advanced Externship (Not offered in the Fall)

The Advanced General Externship Program (2 credits) is an option for students who have already successfully completed the General Externship Program (either during the academic year or summer) and are interested in pursuing a second externship placement continuing with their original placement.

Students must commit to working twelve (12) hours per week for thirteen (13) weeks, but are not required to attend a weekly seminar. Instead, students who are approved for the Advanced Externship will have regular individual meetings with their externship professor to ensure quality of work at placement sites. Students will have to submit weekly one-page journal entries, weekly time sheets to their professor and may have to submit a final paper on an approved topic. A grade of “pass or fail” will be awarded.

SEC Externship
Cheryl C. Nichols, Associate Professor of Law and SEC Externship Coordinator

The SEC Externship provides an exceptional opportunity to learn about aspects of securities law and practice otherwise unavailable at HUSL. The SEC Externship is regularly taught by Professor Cheryl Nichols, or Adjunct Professor Bruce Sanders, who are both experts in securities regulation and related areas. Students who are accepted into the program are placed in the SEC’s Law Student Observer Program which provides exposure to the workings of the Commission and to the regulation of securities and securities markets. Externs are assigned to one of the Commission’s Divisions or Offices at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. Externs will have the opportunity to work on projects such as investigations of industry and issuer practices, administrative and civil enforcement actions, drafting of proposed statutes and rules, and analyzing international securities regulations and rules. In addition to the field work component, HUSL externs are required to attend educational seminars taught by senior Commission staff and prominent members of the private securities bar on a weekly basis. HUSL Externs are also exposed to excellence in governmental and public interest lawyering, which facilitates development of insights into the skills required for lawyering unobtainable in a conventional classroom. Students are required to attend and participate in a weekly 75-minute seminar taught by the professor. The seminar focuses on a variety of issues and topics including, but not limited to, an overview of the mission and operations of the SEC, ethics in securities law practice, development of lawyering skills, problems arising at the placement site, discussion of other issues relating to placements and career opportunities for securities lawyers.

The SEC Externship is a four (4)-credit course graded on a Pass/Fail basis. Externs are required to work 15-20 hours per week for at least 13 weeks. Students may not be paid for any portion of the field placement for which they are receiving credit. 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, periodic reviews of the student’s journal, and other assignments by the professor. Students may have additional application requirements, such as submitting application materials directly to the SEC, and must follow up with the professor regarding all application requirements.

IRS Externship
Alice Thomas, Associate Professor of Law and IRS Externship Coordinator

The IRS Externship was founded by renowned tax expert and former Dean of the Law School, Alice Gresham Bullock. In the course, students are placed in the Internal Revenue Service Field office here in Washington, DC. In the seminar, the professor exposes students to the practices, policies and procedures of the IRS, as well as the substantive tax laws that govern the work of the Service. Externs secure a field placement with the IRS’ General Counsel’s Office and are assigned to work on a variety of projects. Howard Law externs focus on excellence in governmental and public interest lawyering, social justice issues and professional responsibility. These key components are echoed in the work done at the field placement, as well as during the weekly 75 minute required classroom seminars taught by the Professor.

The IRS Externship is a four (4)-credit course graded on a Pass/Fail basis. Students are required to work 15-20 hours per week for at least 13 weeks (or other requirement set by the Professor). Students may not be paid for any portion of the field placement for which they are receiving credit. 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 seminars, periodic reviews of the student’s journal, written work and/or other assignments by the supervising professor. Students may have additional application requirements, such as submitting application materials directly to the IRS, and must follow up with the Professor regarding all application requirements.

Environmental Justice Clinical Externship (EJCE)
Patrice Simms, Associate Professor of Law and Environmental Justice Externship Coordinator

Howard Law’s Clinical Law Center has entered into a unique collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a nationally recognized environmental advocacy and litigation firm with a variety of initiatives in many areas of environmental and public health, to establish an environmental law clinical program at the law school. In this clinical offering, Howard Law professors in conjunction with NRDC attorneys, public interest and environmental professionals, as well as government officials, will expose students to different aspects and perspectives in environmental law. Students will use experiential learning techniques to reflect upon the work of the environmental lawyer, public interest lawyers in general and litigation in non-profit agencies. Students will work on actual cases at the NRDC, will give topical presentations to the class during seminar sessions, and will prepare for and present a moot court argument.

The EJCE will accept up to a maximum of eight (8) students per semester in which it is offered. Students will receive four (4) credits for successful completion of the course, which will be graded on a pass/fail basis. While there are no prerequisites for the course, recommended companion courses are Administrative Law, Introduction to Environmental Law, Sustainable Development and Environmental Justice. Students must submit applications to the CLC during the regularly scheduled application period and will be interviewed by the Externship Coordinator or attorneys from NRDC. While third year students are preferred, second year students with a particular interest in the field will be considered.

Students in the Environmental Justice Clinic will meet for a two hour classroom session each week. These sessions will be devoted to the discussion of environmental law and policy and many will include a substantive presentation by an NRDC attorney or a distinguished visiting speaker. Students will be engaged in discussions on current issues in environmental law, environmental policy, and/or environmental lawyering skills, advocacy, legislative strategy, or administrative environmental regulation. One session per semester or extended class periods will be dedicated to a moot court exercise relating to a pending environmental case or timely issue. Each student will be expected to give a brief presentation to the class during the second half of the semester on an important environmental law or justice issue.

The Environmental Justice Clinic emphasizes environmental policy and litigation with a public interest perspective. Participants will work under the supervision of attorneys at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C. Approximately 10 to 15 hours of work per week is required. Students will be exposed to a variety of environmental issues including: protection of Washington, DC’s drinking water, Anacostia River, energy efficiency, global warming, public health, clean air, and water pollution.








updated: June 16, 2015