The Externship Program
- An Externship is an opportunity for students who demonstrate strong academic ability to earn a semester’s or summer’s worth of academic credit for carefully supervised, full-time experience in a setting pertinent to their educational and career goals. The program is broad enough to cover more than one kind of valid learning experience, but the burden is on a student proposing an Externship to articulate specific educational goals consistent with those set for the program as a whole, and to explain how a particular Externship experience will help to attain them.
The Externship program includes two distinctive variations on this theme. Summer Externships, which are at least eight weeks long and carry a total of 3 hours of credit, involve a relatively short and intense learning experience. While there are significant trade-offs involved in undertaking a summer externship, it does not require foregoing a semester of classroom training. A full Semester Externship involves 14 to 17 weeks of experience (sometimes combined with a non-credit summer placement), with consequently deeper involvement, more project responsibility and more substantial focus. Semester Externships entail participation in a special classroom component prior to, during, and following the placement, a substantial paper, and other requirements. Undertaking either kind of experiential learning requires extensive prior planning and the demonstrated capacity to bear substantial responsibility for focusing one’s own legal education.
Externships must make a significant contribution to the student’s legal education which is unavailable but for the Externship.
An Extern serves in a government agency, a public interest group or agency, with a court, or, in rare, special circumstances, with a law firm, doing responsible work analogous to that of an attorney in the same position, under the direct supervision of an attorney or judge who is committed to the educational purpose of the Externship. Academic semester externs also work closely with a faculty advisor at the Law School, who among other things guides and evaluates a substantial research paper, which reflects in a scholarly setting material first encountered in the Externship placement.
The educational objectives of the Externship experience are to:
a) learn an area of substantive law or develop substantive expertise beyond the level offered in courses at the Law School;
b) develop practical lawyering skills, including research, writing and analytical problem solving, in context; and
c) build a direct understanding of a lawyer’s professional responsibility.
During the application process (see below), students describe specifically how the experience they propose will help them to meet these educational objectives.
Please note: Students may not register for an Externship during their final semester of law school!
The Externship placement must be for a minimum of one full semester or at least 8 weeks for summer Externships. A Criminal Law Externship requires a summer plus an adjacent semester. A semester placement must begin on the first day of classes and end on the last day of finals and must be for a minimum of 14 weeks. A Criminal Law placement must be for a minimum of 24 weeks. The hours of work and practice with regard to vacation and other breaks are generally governed by the placement; during the planning process, Externs should investigate the norms of the placement and assure that clear, mutual expectations develop.
According to Interpretation 305-3 of the American Bar Association’s accreditation standard, Externs must not receive any compensation. This interpretation does not preclude reimbursement of reasonable out-of-pocket expenses related to the externship. This does not preclude normal financial aid, scholarship or compensation for the required summer portion of a Criminal Law Externship.
Academic semester externs produce a major analytical research paper as an outgrowth of their experience in the Externship placement. The paper reexamines legal issues first encountered in the placement in a scholarly context and includes substantial analysis. Exact requirements are set by the Faculty Advisor. The paper will be graded by the Faculty Advisor as a 4 credit paper. The paper is due before the end of the semester following placement.
Journal and Work Product Review
Each Extern keeps a journal describing their work and experiences and their reactions to it. Entries must be made no less often than twice a week, and may be more often depending upon the faculty advisor’s desire. The journal should also relate any encounters with issues of professional responsibility and how those issues were resolved. The journal is kept in a form which enables regular incremental review by the Faculty. Externs are also required to post their journal entries once a week to the externship class TWEN site. Journal entries should be sufficiently detailed to engage the Extern and the Faculty Advisor in a process of critical evaluation of the experience. Keeping the journal is an important part of the Externship and an appropriate use of “work” time. Details regarding the journal are in the Extern Handbook.
Final Report and Evaluation
Each Extern prepares a final report and evaluation of the Externship experience prior to the end of the placement. The report summarizes the nature and scope of their activities, relates their experience to the educational goals they set, and describes any evolution in those goals. The report should be about five pages long, and should be turned in to the Externship Program Director.
Most Semester Externships placements will be visited by the faculty mentor (or another member of the faculty if the faculty mentor is unavailable) to ensure the quality of supervision and of the placement experience. During a visit, the faculty mentor will meet with both the Extern and the On-Site Mentor.
Academic semester externs must attend a mandatory classroom component with 6 class hours prior to their placement, 20 hours concurrent with the placement, and 2 hours following their placement; Summer Externs must attend a mandatory classroom component with 2 hours prior to their placement and 8 hours concurrent with the placement. Students attend the concurrent classes on the TWEN site. The classroom component prepares approved Externs for experiential learning, coalesces the lessons gained in the placement for returned Externs, and allows discussions among the students who participate in the program. Topics for discussion include professionalism, participant observation, experiential learning, overall theories about the methods and benefits of different types of Externships, discussion of paper topics, problems and challenges encountered, and a description of the types of Externships.
Prerequisites Common to Academic Semester Externships
Academic semester Extern candidates must be in good academic standing, with no incompletes outstanding at the time the placement begins. If a student has outstanding incompletes at the time of the application for the Externship, approval of the application will be contingent upon completion of the relevant course work and removal of the incomplete before commencement of the Externship. An Externship is unlikely to be approved for any student with a Lewis & Clark Law School GPA below 2.80.
Transfer Student Externship Requirement
Transfer students must complete two (2) semesters of residency at Lewis & Clark Law School before commencing an externship placement. For transfer students, grades received at Lewis & Clark will be given the most significant weight in determining eligibility to extern, but grades from prior law institutions will also be considered by the Curriculum Committee. Exceptions to this rule my be considered by the Curriculum Committee.
Academic semester Extern candidates must have completed specific courses listed under the description of each type of Externship program, below.
Demonstrated Writing Ability
Academic semester Extern candidates must have completed a significant paper beyond first-year legal writing, satisfying the Capstone or WIE writing requirement. If this paper is incomplete at the time of the application for the Externship, approval of the application will be contingent upon completion of the paper before commencement of the Externship.
Demonstrated Interest and Ability in the Chosen Area
The applicant must have shown previous interest and ability in the area of law that forms the focus of the proposed Externship. Such interest and ability may be shown by courses taken in law school or other academic settings, performance in those courses, participation in work or volunteer activities before or during law school, or through some other showing the applicant might choose to make.
Compliance with the Externship Application Procedures
The applicant must have complied with the general procedures for Externship application set forth in What’s What in addition to compliance with the pre-requisites for specific Externships, as explained below.
Prerequisites Common to Summer Externships
Summer semester Extern candidates must be in good academic standing, with no incompletes outstanding at the time the placement begins. If a student has outstanding incompletes at the time of the application for the Externship, approval of the application will be contingent upon completion of the relevant course work and removal of the incomplete before commencement of the Externship. An Externship is unlikely to be approved for any student with a Lewis & Clark Law School GPA below 2.80.
Successful Completion of L.A.W. Course
Summer Extern candidates must successfully complete their Legal Analysis and Writing class, earning at least a “credit” grade. Approval of a summer placement for a first year student will be made contingent on the successful completion of the L.A.W. class by the end of spring semester.
The Externship Application Process
Planning for an Externship should begin as early as possible. For academic semester externships, it is advised to begin planning at least a year prior to the anticipated placement. Planning consists of attending an orientation session about the Externship program; a careful reading of these rules and materials in the Externship binders in the Career Services Office Resources Library, a mandatory session with the Program Director, Associate Dean for Career Services Libby Davis ( email@example.com), which will cover pre-requisites for the type of placement sought; selection and negotiation of a placement; completion of the application packet; and submission of the application packet to the Associate Dean. After review by the Associate Dean, semester application packets are also submitted to the Curriculum Committee for approval.
1. Orientation (Pre-Class 1)
Students interested in an Externship must attend the mandatory orientation session during the semester immediately preceding the proposed Externship. The orientation will explain the Externship program procedures and requirements and suggest strategies for timely Externship planning. See the Externship website for class times and locations.
2. Initial Counseling Session(s)
Once students have familiarized themselves with these rules, they must schedule an initial Externship counseling session with the Externship Program Director, Associate Dean Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org).
During the counseling session or sessions, the Associate Dean will review with the potential Extern the program requirements and prerequisites, provide assistance in identifying and contacting potential placements, counsel the student about the trade-offs involved in taking an Externship, and, for academic semester exterships, help to identify potential faculty advisors.
The Associate Dean only advises students and preliminarily reviews applications to ensure program requirements are met; the opinions offered are based on experience and are only advice. Program requirements are interpreted by the Curriculum Committee, and final decisions regarding approval of Externships are made by the Committee.
3. Placement Selection
Students are responsible for choosing their own Externship Placements. A binder with a comprehensive listing of past and current placements is available in the Career Services Library and online.
Students can find additional ideas for placements through PSLaw Net at www.pslawnet.org, the job postings under Externships, and by talking to counselors in Career Services or with faculty. Students are required to give the on-site Mentor two documents that must be completed by the Mentor and returned by the student for inclusion in the application packet: a Memorandum of Agreement and an On-Site Mentor Questionnaire.
The student should also give the Mentor a copy of a sample Questionnaire to use as a guide, which can be located in the Externship Binder in the Career Services Office. The student should also give the Mentor the Information and Instructions for On Site Mentors and the Supervising Attorney (or Judge) handbook.
Each academic semester placement must be approved by the Curriculum Committee and, for a new placement, in particular, sufficient materials and assurances must be provided for that purpose. The Curriculum Committee must be persuaded that the placement experience proposed by an applicant for an Externship, will meet the program’s educational objectives.
Students may be approved for Externships with a current employer only rarely and where new responsibilities in the placement are significantly different from past responsibilities or where prior experience with the placement (or a similar organization) is a precondition for the placement. Significantly different experiences include (by way of example): change from research clerk to litigation/case management, changes in the kinds of activities such as moving from a litigation support role to a policy-oriented position or vice versa, or change in substantive areas of emphasis, i.e., civil to criminal, domestic relations to labor law, and so on.
4. Secure an On-Site Mentor
Each Extern is supervised by an experienced member of the Bar, a practitioner or judge who has shown particular interest in helping to train young lawyers and is responsible for direct supervision of the Extern.
The Mentor is committed to provide a high-quality experience for the student Extern. To that end, the Mentor will:
- Ensure that the student receives training in ethics and professional responsibility.
- Provide responsible, challenging assignments;
- Acquaint the extern, whenever appropriate, with the obligations of professional responsibility associated with performing the assignment.
- Fully discuss each assigned task with the Extern at the time of assignment and set learning objectives for each major task;
- Permit exposure to the development of policy and tactics on assigned projects where feasible;
- Ensure participation in all available activities including in-house meetings, client meetings, contact with opposing counsel, judges conferences, staff meetings, and document review;
- Provide extensive oral and written feedback on all major work;
- Meet regularly with the Extern to establish the context for work in progress, to provide feedback, to enlarge on the rationales and approaches used, and to answer questions;
- Evaluate the Extern’s performance using the Law School provided evaluation form, recommend credit or no credit on the experiential portion of the Externship and send a copy of the evaluation to the Program Director, the Associate Dean for Career Services.
5. Secure a Faculty Advisor (Academic Semester Externs Only)
Academic semester Externs work closely with a member of the faculty who advises them during the Externship experience, coaches and evaluates the Externship paper. Summer externs do not have individual faculty advisors; instead, they are overseen by the Externship course faculty members.
The Academic Semester Faculty Advisor:
- Reviews the Extern’s journal and selected work product (consistent with confidentiality) at regular intervals — typically every two weeks;
- Regularly discusses with the Extern their work and reactions to it;
- Regularly discusses the Extern’s work and progress with the Mentor;
- Visits the placement site, if required (unless other arrangements have been made by the Program Director).
- Counsels the Extern in selecting a paper topic growing out of the Externship experience, and establishes with the Extern a mutually agreeable schedule for paper completion;
- Monitors progress on the paper, provides counsel and review as necessary during paper preparation, and evaluates the Externship paper.
- Prepares a site visit report, if required, commenting on both the students experience (tasks, work product, academic progress) and on the Mentor’s performance (including a review of the placement generally), and concluding whether in this placement the goals of the program were achieved, and the credit allowed is, in fact, commensurate with the time and effort expended by, and the educational benefits to, the extern.
Any change in Faculty Advisor must be approved by the retiring Faculty Advisor, the new Faculty Advisor, and the Externship Program Director, based on a proposal for the change which articulates an academically valid rationale.
Application Packets are available in the Career Services Office, and contain all the information students need to apply for an Externship. Students proposing to participate in the Externship program must submit an application packet consisting of a resume, transcript (unofficial is fine), a list of currently enrolled courses, a writing sample, completed questionnaire from the On-Site Mentor, a signed Memorandum of Agreement from the On-Site Mentor, a Supplemental Registration form signed by the Faculty Advisor, and a brief describing how the specific learning experience the student proposes integrates their individual goals with the work of the placement and meets the Externship programs educational objectives.
This packet must be submitted to the Associate Dean by the deadline date. For academic semester extern applications, the Associate Dean will prepare a recommendation and forward the file to the Curriculum Committee for consideration and approval prior to placement.
The On-Site Mentor’s completed questionnaire should include a description of the work the Extern will do; indicate familiarity with the program guidelines and agreement to abide by them; indicate a commitment to provide an educational experience which includes thoughtful supervision, specific on-the-job training, and routine encouragement of reflection on the experience and what has been learned. Specific examples of successful On-Site mentor letters responding to the questionnaire are available in the Externship Binder in the Career Services Office. Students should make sure to provide a sample copy to their prospective On-Site Mentors.
For deadline information, the Career Services website:
Academic Semester applicants are advised that a portion of the pre-placement sessions of the classroom component may be held BEFORE the application deadlines. Consult the Associate Dean or the website for the exact dates and reserve them. Attendance at all Classroom Component sessions is mandatory!
Academic semester externships must be approved by the Faculty Curriculum Committee; Summer externships are approved by the Externship Program administrator, the Associate Dean for Career Services. Students should be careful in their communications with potential placements and their proposed mentors to make it clear that this approval is required.
Only following approval, and submission of a completed Supplemental Registration form to the Registrar by Associate Dean Davis, will a student actually be registered for the Externship.
Registration and Award of Credit
Application for an Externship does not constitute registration. Typically, Externships will be registered via the Add/Drop process because of the duration of the approval process. Students proposing Externships should register during the normal course of events for the course selections they plan to take if the Externship is not approved.
Externship registration is three-part for academic semester Externs (one-part for summer). For academic semester externs, the placement, classroom component, and paper are each listed as separate courses. All three parts appear on the transcript at the same time: the semester in which the placement occurs. However, participation in the classroom component in the semesters preceding, during and following is mandatory. Students doing a Criminal Law Externship register for the semester of placement, not the summer term.
Externs may not enroll in any other course during the Externship placement semester without prior approval of the Curriculum Committee. Speak to Associate Dean Davis first regarding the addition of an extra class. Petitions will be granted only in extraordinary circumstances, such as the unavailability of the course in subsequent semesters of the law student’s career. Approval of the On-Site Mentor and Faculty Advisor is also required
Credit is awarded for the academic semester externships following the placement based on the receipt by the Associate Dean of the following: 1) recommendation of the On-Site Mentor and the Faculty Advisor; 2) receipt of a site visit report (if required); 3) On-Site Mentor’s evaluation; 4) the Extern’s completed final report; 5) certification that the student has successfully completed the classroom component; and 6) certification that a grade has been received from the Faculty Advisor for the paper. Credit will not be granted for the placement or classroom component if the paper receives a failing grade or the student fails to actively participate in the classroom component.
Summer externs will be awarded 3 credits following the placement on the receipt by the Associate Dean of the following: 1) recommendation of the On-Site On-Site and Mentor’s final evaluation; 2) the Extern’s completed final report; and 3) certification that the student has successfully completed the classroom component. Credit will not be granted for the placement if the student fails to actively participate in the classroom component.
Specific Types of Externships - Academic Semester Externs Only
(Note: Summer externs are not required to classify their externship as a particular type.)
Students can choose to do one of the following types of Externships from the list below. If a proposed Externship does not fall into one of the following categories, it can be classified as a General Externship as explained below. It is imperative that you properly classify your Externship. In other words, it is not appropriate to apply for a placement in a corporation’s corporate counsel’s office and to classify that Externship as a “General Externship.” Be sure you consult with the Associate Dean and make sure you have completed all the pre-requisites.
A business/commercial law Extern works under the direct supervision of an attorney in a corporate counsel’s office, in a government agency, on a legislative committee, or in an organization active in business/commercial litigation or practice. A tax extern may work at the state or federal tax court, in a law firm, corporation, or an accounting firm (under the supervision of an attorney).
Course Pre-requisites: Students are required to take at least one basic and one advanced course in subjects directly related to the placement proposed. The Business Law Faculty highly recommends that students pursuing specialized Externships in the following areas take these pre-requisite courses:
Income Tax I; a minimum of two additional graded academic credits in the tax field; plus substantial law school experience in tax research and writing.
Intellectual Property Externship
Intellectual Property Survey, and any of the following: Copyright Law; Patent Law; Trademark Law
Corporate Counsel/General Corporate Externship*
BA I, and any of the following: Advanced Contracts, BA II, Sales & Leases or Commercial Transactions; Securities Regulation; Secured Transactions; Antitrust; Contract Drafting Seminar.
Employment Law I, and any one the following: Employment Discrimination; Employment Law II; Clinic Employment Law Program; Labor Law
Criminal Justice Externship Description
A criminal justice Extern works under the direct supervision of an attorney in a state or Federal Prosecutor’s office, a public defender organization, or another agency engaged in criminal law work. The placement must be for both a semester and the preceding or following summer; this requirement is imposed to make it more likely that the Extern will be able to see at least one case through from beginning to end. The ideal Externship placement would allow the Extern to perform the duties of a lawyer in prosecuting or defending cases from the pre-trial through the appellate stage, including the opportunity to handle personally a complete jury trial. However, understanding that the ideal is not always attainable, placements must assure the Curriculum Committee that the Externship student will:
- Regularly perform the duties of a lawyer for two or more phases of criminal trial and appellate work
- Have actual client (or, for prosecutors, witness) contact, court appearances, and responsibility for drafting motions, memoranda, appellate briefs, or other significant written work.
- Have comprehensive, intensive training in the aspects of trial
Criminal Law I; Criminal Procedure I, Constitutional Law I;Evidence. In addition, Criminal Procedure II and/or Criminal Law II is highly recommended.
Other special requirements for this externship
In order to do a criminal justice Externship, a student must demonstrate to the Curriculum Committee that, at the time of the placement, the student will be able to be certified under the student appearance rule in the jurisdiction where the student desires to be placed. Criminal justice Externships must last for both a semester and an adjacent summer. Students can be paid for the summer only.
Environmental/Natural Resources Externship Description
An environmental Extern works under the direct supervision of an attorney in a government agency, a legislative committee or an organization active in environmental/natural resources litigation or administrative practice.
Course pre-requisites: Administrative Law, Environmental Law
Other special requirements for this externship: None
Judicial Externship Description
A judicial Extern serves as a full-time law clerk for a federal judge, a state appellate court judge, or a state trial court judge occupied in complex litigation. The Extern is expected to be utilized for such activities as researching and writing bench memoranda; drafting opinions; attending pretrial, status, settlement and other conferences between the judge and attorneys; drafting jury instructions; fulfilling the duties of a courtroom clerk; and other substantive legal duties.
Course pre-requisites: Absent extraordinary circumstances as set forth in the Externship application, the student must have completed Constitutional Law I; Criminal Procedure I; Evidence; and at least one of the following: Constitutional Law II, Criminal Law I, Administrative Law, Federal Jurisdiction, or Trial Advocacy. The Curriculum Committee may waive one or more of these requirements if:
- The judge does not require the course to be taken; and
- The student demonstrates in the Externship application that the absence of course work in the area will not detract from the value of the Externship experience; and
- The Committee is satisfied that the courses completed by the student adequately prepare the student for the Externship.
Other special requirements for this externship: None.
International Law Externship Description
An international law Extern works under the direct supervision of an attorney in an international organization, international court, trade association, government agency or legislative body, or corporate counsel’s office, involved in the conduct of public international law or international trade and business law. The supervising attorney must be a lawyer or judge who understands the United States legal education system and the unusual role of an Externship.
The student must have a minimum of 5 credits in international law subjects, at least 3 of which must be in regular class work. Independent study may be used to complete this prerequisite. It is strongly suggested that students interested in an international business law placement take the introductory International Business Law course and that students interested in public international law take the Public International Law course.
Other special requirements for this externship
Applicants should generally be in the top one-half of their class. Others who can demonstrate significant qualifications may be approved. The student’s performance in classes relating to the Externship will also be considered during the approval process. Demonstrated interest in international law and cross-cultural activities will also be considered before approval. The ability to adapt to a different culture is a significant factor for any applicant.
General Externships are available for placements outside the designated categories, above. The applicant must describe the proposed placement in detail (including the specific activities anticipated for the Extern) and convince the Curriculum Committee that the placement will provide substantial training in substantive law and in legal skills. Regardless of the type of organization involved in the placement, the Extern must be working under the direct supervision of a lawyer.
Course pre-requisites: At least one basic and one advanced course in subjects directly related to the placement proposed.
Other special requirements for this Externship
The applicant should be able to demonstrate by work, outside activities, course selection, or other means the background and qualifications necessary for the proposed placement. The Curriculum Committee reserves the right to impose specific requirements as seem appropriate in the case of each application made under this section.
Those students anticipating an application under this section are urged to consult with the Associate Dean, substantially in advance of the application deadline and to include them in all steps of the planning process.
The Office of Academic Affairs is located in Legal Research Center on the Law Campus.
Associate Dean for Academic AffairsMartha Spence
Office of Academic Affairs
Lewis & Clark Law School
10015 S.W. Terwilliger Boulevard, MSC 51
Portland, OR 97219