Fact Sheet for Students

Information for students who want to participate in the Externships & Judicial Externships program.

What are externships and judicial externships?

Students receive credit for working and being mentored in legal offices: Externs are placed at not-for-profit and governmental offices and Judicial Externs are placed with federal, state and county judges during a school semester. 

All students who have completed at least two semesters of full-time law school course work successfully are eligible for most externships; applicants for fall and spring semester judicial externships, however, must have completed at least four law school semesters.  For the summer semester only, where students have been accepted for a summer judicial internship to which they applied directly and independently of the externship and judicial externship program, there is a waiver of the four-semester rule.

How do I get an externship or judicial externship for credit?

Except for the summer semester, students may not solicit placements for themselves nor seek credit for a placement they have found on their own for the future or at which they worked in the past.  Instead, students apply for the externships and judicial externships the law school has established that are listed in each semester’s class registration materials at the same time they register for classes.  The School of Law’s Externship Director and Externship Administrator place students in the appropriate office based on the students’ ranked list of preferred placements, the requirements of the placement office, and the number and qualifications of any other students applying for externships or judicial externships.  Although most student applicants are placed in one of their three ranked choices, sometimes a student will not be accepted into the program because there are not enough slots for the particular programs for which he or she applied.  In addition, a student may not be accepted into the program if the student’s grades or other performance indicate that an externship or judicial externship would not be appropriate.  Generally, a student must have at least a “B” average to be qualified to apply.

For the summer semester only, students can apply for externships in the same way they do for the spring and fall semesters, or they may seek approval for a future summer externship or judicial externship in a governmental or not-for-profit legal office to which they have applied directly and independently of the externship and judicial externship program.

Where are externships and judicial externships offered?

For the most current listing of externships and clerkships, please visit Records & Registration.  For a sampling of just some of our past and present placement opportunities, please see Where are our students placed?

How much credit can I earn and what is the time commitment?

Most externships and judicial externships are 3 credits and require a student to work at the placement office 135 hours during the semester.

A few externships and the intensive judicial externship during the fall and spring semesters require students to work between 150-225 total hours and have a co-requisite one-credit course in addition to the externship or judicial externship.  Those students earn between 4 and 5 credits for the externship or intensive judicial externship and earn an additional credit for the co-requisite course.

Besides working at the placement office, students submit weekly journal reflections and time entries in the Clio system to the Externship Director and Administrator detailing what they worked on and answering questions that allow them to reflect on their experiences that week.  The weekly journals and time entries are submitted electronically and take between 15 and 30 minutes to complete.

Students who are taking a co-requisite course will have the amount of reading, research and writing that is typical for a one-credit course.

Pro bono service fulfillment

Unless otherwise stated in an externship or judicial externship description, all externships and judicial externships the law school offers fulfill the New York State Court of Appeals’ pro bono 50-hour service requirement for admission to the New York Bar.

Placements limited to non-profits and government offices

Law school externships and judicial externships are available only at pre-approved non-profit legal offices and governmental law offices.

How do I apply? What is the deadline?

For instructions on how to register for an externship and judicial externship, deadlines, and a current listing of all our placement opportunities, please visit Records & Registration.

Generally and depending on the academic calendar, applications for the spring semester are due the first week of November in the year prior to the externship or judicial externship semester.  Applications for the summer and fall semesters are due the last week of March prior to the semester in which the externship or judicial externship will take place.

Summer semester externships and judicial externships – tuition

As is true for any credit-bearing course a student takes during the summer, he or she must pay the tuition due for the number of credits he or she takes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I am volunteering at a great not-for-profit or governmental organization, or I worked at that type of office in the past – can I apply to get credit for this work through the externship program?

A:  No.  Credit will not be granted on an ad hoc basis and is not granted for past work.  Externships and judicial externships are classes and students must apply for them as they would for any other class that requires the permission of the instructor during the semester prior to the externship or judicial externship taking place.  For the fall and spring semesters, students may apply for and register only for the externships and judicial externships offered by the program at the law school; for the summer semester only, students may apply for a placement in an externship or judicial externship or may seek approval for a summer externship or judicial externship in a governmental or not-for-profit legal office to which they have applied directly and independently of the externship and judicial externship program.

Q: I am a first-year law student; can I be an extern or judicial extern?

A:  No.  You have to complete at least two semesters of law school to be an extern, and at least four semesters of law school to be a judicial extern.  You can apply for placement in a summer or fall externship while you are a first year student during the spring semester.  In addition, for the summer semester only, where students have been accepted for a summer judicial internship to which they applied directly and independently of the externship and judicial externship program, there is a waiver of the four-semester rule.

Q: I am on a journal and participate on a trial team, or I have a job: can I re-arrange my hours at the externship or judicial externship when my workload for the journal, trial team or job is huge?

A:  No.  Although work schedules can be adjusted for illnesses or other unavoidable unique conflicts, you cannot skip weeks or change your schedule to accommodate a deadline, job or a competition.  If you are participating in activities that put large demands on your time, wait to apply for an externship or judicial externship during a semester when you will be able to stick to a regular schedule.

Q: I love my externship! Can I continue in it next semester?

A:  Unfortunately, the answer is no, at least not for credit.  Students are limited to one externship and one judicial externship during their entire law school careers.  This ensures that all interested students have a chance to participate in the program and that students can fulfill their other academic requirements.

Of course, you can work anywhere on a voluntary basis without receiving credit.

Q: I did a summer judicial externship through the law school program – can I apply for a different fall judicial externship?

A:  No.  Students are limited to one externship and one judicial externship during their entire law school careers.  If you have participated in a judicial externship in any semester, you cannot be a judicial extern for credit again.  However, if you have not already done an externship, you can apply for an externship.

Q: I have found a summer legal internship with a for-profit business; can I apply to have it approved as an externship?

A:  No.  The School of Law grants credit for, and approves, externships and judicial externships only at governmental and non-profit organizations.

Q: I was accepted into a summer internship at a non-profit legal services organization in Oregon; can I apply to have it recognized as a summer externship and earn credit?

A:  Yes.  Summer externships can be anywhere in the world as long as the student applies for approval of the placement by the deadline for summer semester applications, the externship involves legal work, and the supervisor of the student is a lawyer, is willing to submit evaluations of the student and understands that the student will be required to submit weekly journals and time entries to the law school.

Q: Do I have to pay tuition if I have a summer externship?

A:  Yes.  Tuition is charged for any credit-bearing class a student takes during the summer.

A:  No.  The ABA law school accreditation rules provide that students who are being paid or receiving any type of remuneration at a placement, such as a grant, cannot receive credit for that internship.