Summary of Externship Supervisor Responsibilities

The Externship Program permits qualified law students to be placed in judicial chambers, government, and nonprofit law departments for academic credit. Third year law students are eligible for any of these placements, and 2nd term second year students are eligible for judicial placements. If you participate in this program, you will benefit from excellent work by our students, and in addition, you will get a great deal of professional satisfaction in contributing to the development of the lawyering skills and values of these students. These are the general parameters of the program.

Educational goals of the Externship Program and the individual learning goals of students: Externship provides significant opportunities for students to learn professional skills and values, gain insight into their individual development as attorneys, learn to take responsibility for continued professional education, and provide assistance to offices and organizations serving the community. Students will be required to set personal learning goals. Our students are expected to think critically about the law, the legal system, and themselves as developing lawyers; we ask that supervising attorneys and judges encourage them and join them in this process.

Schedule and time commitment of students: For the school year program, students are placed either for one or two terms, as arranged. During each term, students work 12 hours per week in connection with externship duties during the 14 week school terms. Students spend some of this time, generally averaging one hour each week, on academic work that supports their learning from externship, including classes and journal-writing. By arrangement with the Director, one term placements may be approved for a commitment of 16 hours per week over one term, earning 4 credits. Summer students are committed to completing a total of 320 hours, which will be completed during June and July, unless other arrangements are made.

Credit/pay: Externs receive academic credit and are not paid.

Supervision and work assignments : To be approved as a placement for our students, a law department or chambers must be committed to providing substantial work, guidance, and critique to the student and to communicate with the law school about student progress. A student should be assigned to an attorney who will provide guidance to the student, being aware of the student’s individual learning goals and the program objectives. As far as possible, students should have assignments which correspond to the type of legal work done by new attorneys or judicial clerks at the placement, and should get candid and constructive critical feedback from supervisors. You are encouraged to permit supervised student practice pursuant to student practice rules for your jurisdiction. For the text and a review summary of local rules, please click on the Student Practice Rules Link on the left side of the page. It is also very appropriate for students to have opportunities for learning by observation of experienced attorneys, for example, observing in court or attending client meetings or negotiations, which can be discussed with the supervising attorney.

Reporting/evaluation requirements: At the beginning of the externship, the supervising attorney or judge (or law clerk, in some chambers) meets with the student to discuss goals for the year and to review written goals and standards set by the law school for the Externship Program. A written statement of planned learning goals and work experiences is written by the supervisor and the student, and given to me. The student is provided orientation to the placement. During the externship period, students keep time records, which supervisors review and sign. We ask that these records be sufficiently detailed to help review student progress at the placement, without, of course, violating any duty of confidentiality. At the end of each semester, supervisors are asked to write evaluations of each student, to be reviewed with the student. We also ask that you periodically discuss with the student how he or she is doing at other points during the externship experience.

Lawyering