Externship Program

Legal Apprenticeship for Professional Skills Development

An externship is a semesterlong legal apprenticeship for you to develop practical, professional skills and obtain significant experience in a legal setting, such as a governmental agency, law firm, corporation, court or legal aid. An externship provides you with the opportunity to practice your craft, to observe highly respected attorneys and judges at work and to network with the legal community. Absent exceptional circumstances, you must do your externship in either of your final two semesters or in the summer immediately preceding your final two semesters. Externships are generally available in the fall, spring or summer semesters.

Under the direct supervision and mentorship of an experienced attorney or judge, you will analyze legal problems and find creative, competent, and legally sound solutions to those problems by applying the skills and knowledge that you have studied in law school. During your externship, you will also develop versatile skills emphasizing client interaction, efficiency, fact investigation, interviewing, multitasking, negotiation, networking, oral communication, organization, problem-solving, reading, research, time management and writing. Since you receive four hours of academic credit for your externship, you may not receive compensation for your externship hours.

Prior to commencing an externship, you must attend a two-hour orientation class during which the following topics may be covered: confidentiality, professionalism, conflicts of interests and the unauthorized practice of law. All externships require 168-192 hours of field work (depending on the semester). Externship supervisors must approve in advance all externship placements to ensure compliance with UDSL's externship guidelines and are available to meet with students regarding possible externship placements.

Expectations of Your Field Supervisor

An experienced attorney or judge will assume principal responsibility for each student in an externship as a field supervisor and will serve as the contact person for the externship/faculty supervisor. Field supervisors are expected to regularly meet with you to provide you with general supervision, evaluate your recent performance, discuss the activities of the field supervisor's organization, answer your questions, and generally serve as your mentor. You are expected to work in your externship primarily at your placement site. A site visit or its equivalent will be done once a year at each externship placement by a faculty/externship supervisor to determine whether the placement meets the academic needs of the externship program.