December 03, 2012

Externs Gain Valuable Work and Life Experience in India

Three 1Ls ventured to Delhi to live and learn for the summer.
  • Laura Shoaps, Class of 2014, extern at HRLN
  • Jason Mohabir and Lexie Zirschky, 2012 externs at the Taj Mahal
  • Jason Mohabir in front of his externship site in Delhi
In Delhi, globalization is not simply a buzzword or an issue for debate—it is truly a way of life.      
–Lexie Zirscky, Class of 2014, Extern at Amarchand Mangaldas


Building the India Program over the last three years has been no small feat—cultivating relationships with attorneys and educators on the other side of the globe has taken tremendous devotion and creativity. The cornerstone of Lewis & Clark’s commitment in India is the Summer Externship program.

“The law school is proud of and excited about the opportunities it has created for its students to undertake externships in India. We are increasingly emphasizing the importance of hands-on practical training, and the placements we have secured at top firms and organizations in India provide students with unique and valuable opportunities,” said Professor John Grant, Co-Chair of the Global Law Program. “The law school has expended considerable time and effort in finding the very top firms and organizations in India to supervise our students’ summer externships.”

Three 1Ls: A Summer in Delhi

The Global Law Program’s investment in the program is evident in the results: the three students who returned to Lewis & Clark after a summer spent working in New Delhi. These students came from very different backgrounds—Jason Mohabir from Brooklyn, New York; Laura Shoaps from a small town in Michigan; and Lexie Zirschky, a lifelong world traveler—but they had one thing in common: a drive to gain a challenging international legal experience.

“Having lived in India before, I was thrilled to discover the Lewis & Clark India Externship Program,” said Lexie. “Even before 1L orientation, I knew that I had to take advantage of this amazing opportunity not only to travel and gain cultural experience, but to gain practical legal experience in one of the fastest-growing free market economies in the world.”

Laura, an extern at Human Rights Legal Network, had a bit more trepidation. “Having not done much traveling before, living and working in India for a summer seemed like an incredible and almost unreal opportunity to finally put my academic interests into action,” Laura said. “I’ll admit that I was somewhat intimidated about what was ahead of me, but these fleeting moments of self-doubt were overshadowed by how badly I knew I needed this experience.”

With no shortage of enthusiasm leading up to the second summer of the externship program, faculty and staff put significant effort into assuring the highest quality educational experience, and it paid off.

Real. Transferable. Life Changing.

“From the very first day at the Human Rights Legal Network, I was introduced to various parts of a case: interviewing clients, drafting petitions, and traveling to court,” Jason said. “Externing in India this summer was an experience I will never forget. Not only did I receive great legal experience but also an opportunity for self-growth.”

Laura went with a specific mission in mind.  Upon arriving at HRLN, she immediately asked to work on children’s rights initiatives. “I drafted petitions to the Delhi High Court on a variety of issues including missing children, making railway conditions safer for children living there, holding organizations accountable to commitments in protecting children’s rights, and more.”

Lexie, working in a corporate firm, is confident that the excellent experiential learning provided by our partners in India will benefit her career as an attorney. “The work was always demanding, but always rewarding as well,” she said. “Looking forward, I have no doubt that the skills I developed will be transferable to the U.S. and the international legal market.”

Like the externs, our partners in India returned glowing reviews of the experience. They praised the initiative, professionalism, and writing skills of these very talented students. “It is gratifying to get so much positive feedback from the students and their supervisors,” said Professor Grant.

Dean Bob Klonoff, the original champion of the India program, couldn’t agree more. “The breadth and quality of our India externships cannot be matched. Students will always remember these life-changing experiences.”