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New York City Externship

The School of Law provides the opportunity for all law students in the New York City Program in Finance and Law to take a three credit externship during the Program.

These Externships include unpaid opportunities in compliance work, government legal work in the area of finance, in-house counsel, or other relevant areas of practice.  The Externships are tailored to the individual student’s interests and abilities.  In the Externship, students begin to apply their classroom knowledge to real world issues, developing legal and professional skills, as well as learning to network and begin to define their career path.

Students accepted to the New York City Program in Finance and Law work with Lisa M. Patterson, J.D. Program Director for Externships, Public Interest and Access to Justice Initiatives, to define their interests and discuss possible placements.  She assists students with the placements and any relevant applications they must make.

Questions about our NYC Externships?

Please contact:

  • Lisa M. Patterson, J.D. Program Director for Externships, Public Interest and Access to Justice Initiatives
  • Dawn Skopinski, Associate Director for Experiential Learning

Students in the New York City Externship write weekly reflections on their experiences in response to relevant questions from the Vice Dean.  Students must complete 135 hours of work experience as well as the reflections to earn three credits.  As this experience is educational in nature, students do not receive compensation for the work beyond their credits.

Unless the students work for a not-for-profit legal services provider for low-income individuals, a government agency or the court system, this Externship does not qualify for the 50 hours of pro bono work needed for admission to the New York bar.

Frequently Asked Questions

What sort of work qualifies for an externship for credit at the School of Law?

Externships must provide multiple opportunities for the student to perform professional legal skills.  These skills include, legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, application of substantive law to resolve a problem, and oral and written communication.  Externship students should also be able to model and demonstrate competent and ethical representation to clients and the legal system.  (ABA Standard 302 and 304).

How many hours/week does an externship require?

Externship students in the New York City Program in Finance and Law Externship Program must document 135 hours of work using ABA generic billing codes in our CLIO billing system.  Externship students do not disclose any confidential or proprietary information in billing.  Externship students generally work full time on Thursdays and Fridays, as the courses in the program meet Monday – Wednesday.  They may begin their Externships early or continue after the classes are over to meet their hour requirement for credit.

Must the work be done on-site?

Due to the need for supervision and feedback, most Externship students work on-site.  Externship students may work off-site, but the experience should be similar in nature to a lawyer representing a client or engaging in other lawyering tasks.

How much supervision by the sponsor is required? What kind of supervision?

The site supervisor should provide direct supervision, but this supervision does not need to be constant.  The site supervisor should insure that the Externship student has assignments that provide substantial lawyering experience.  He or she should provide an opportunity feedback to the Externship students on their work and to solicit self-evaluation from the Externship students to insure the student understands what skills and abilities the student has and/or needs to develop.

We ask the site supervisors to provide a midterm evaluation on a form which is easily completed and returned to us.  The site supervisor may share it with the Externship student or we may as part of their reflection work.  At the end of the semester, we ask the site supervisor to do an exit interview with the Externship student to help them to assess their skill levels and opportunities for future learning and development.

May an externship be offered at any time during the calendar year?

Generally the New York City Program in Finance and Law Externship Program runs during the spring semester, from February through April.  

How much faculty oversight is required? Do externships offered outside of the semester require faculty commitment?

The Program Director helps place the students in the New York City Program in Finance and Law Externship Program.  She sees that a Memorandum of Understanding is signed between the student, the placement (site supervisor) and the Vice Dean for Experiential Education. 

This memorandum lays out the responsibilities of all those involved in the success of the Externship. The Program Director is available at all times to the site supervisor and the Externship Students for questions, concerns or other issues which may arise.  Other faculty, including the faculty of the New York City Program in Finance and Law may be involved for site visits or discussion of issues.

May externships be done at for profit entities?

Yes, students may work at for profit entities which provide appropriate opportunities for this experiential education.  However, the student will not complete the 50 hours of required pro bono work for admission to the bar.

May externships be done for pay?

No, the faculty of the School of Law have not approved paid externships.  The externship is a for-credit opportunity tied to the experiential education requirements of the School of Law for students pursuing a Juris Doctor degree.  Students write mandatory reflections in response to questions from the Externship faculty and receive responses from them.  In addition, they must keep their billable hours using generic ABA codes and not divulging any confidential information.  The students work without the expectation of being hired by the placement.

Are there citizenship restrictions on externships?

Yes, some government agencies and judges restrict their placements to U.S. Citizens.  However, other placements made through this program count as CPT (Curricular Practical Training) for foreign law students.

Can a student place him or herself for an Externship?

Yes, unlike other academic year externships, students in the NNew York City Program in Finance and Law may identify their own externships.  For example, a student worked with his local town’s attorney on finance and real property development issues.  Another student worked with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York on corporate matters.