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Full-time Externship Information and Application Process

General

Externship programs are under the jurisdiction of the Curriculum Committee. Students are responsible for following the correct procedures for their externship application/proposal as outlined below.

Credits

A student will earn 12 credits for an approved externship program in a regular academic term. One credit is allocated to a seminar with the balance awarded for full-time work at a non-profit or government agency during the course of the entire semester. The fieldwork credits will be graded on a mandatory pass/fail basis, while the one-credit seminar is graded.

A student who would like to receive additional credits may propose an optional paper or project for either one, two, or three credits, which must be related to some aspect of the externship. A student must secure a faculty sponsor and submit that information with his or her proposal, as well as noting the number of credits the student would like to receive. The paper/project is typically graded.

A student may not enroll in an additional course beyond the externship courses, either here at Michigan Law or another law school, unless there are extraordinary circumstances. 

It is expected that the student will devote full time to the externship for the duration of the term of enrollment. A student may not engage in both the externship and study abroad program during his or her matriculation at the Law School.

Student Eligibility

Only students who have completed their first year core requirements are eligible for an externship program. Only students in good academic standing are eligible to participate in an externship. In deciding whether to approve an externship program, the members of the Committee may take into account the student's academic performance at the Law School.

The Committee will more than likely not approve a proposal from a student who has two or more outstanding Incompletes on his or her transcript at the time the proposal is submitted. Students are not permitted to enroll in an externship with more than one Incomplete grade on their transcript at the time of their departure.

Application Process

After the student has identified possible externship placements or finalized an externship placement (you must apply by the deadline whether or not you have finalized your placement) and secured a faculty sponsor, if necessary, he or she must submit a PDF copy of all of the required documents in one email to lawexternships@umich.edu, with "Full-Time Externship Application" and his or her name in the subject line.

Applications are reviewed by Professor Amy Sankaran and then sent for approval to the Curriculum Committee. In considering the application, the Committee may take into account multiple factors, including the Law School's experience with the agency, the student's academic record, the demonstrated quality of the agency's educational and supervisory commitment, and the final recommendation of Professor Sankaran. The application package consists of five parts:

  1. The student's written proposal (see below)
  2. The student's resume
  3. And if seeking to do an optional paper/project, an email statement from a faculty member committing to supervising the paper/project and the number of additional credits sought, which can be sent to lawexternships@umich.edu.

  4. If the student has secured a placement, the student must also include:
  5. The Full-Time Supervising Attorney Agreement and
  6. The Supervising​ Attorney's resume or equivalent document.

If a student is proposing a final semester externship, there is one additional requirement:

  1. A completed Registrar Checklist showing that at the end of the externship all requirements for their degree will have been met. 

Deadline

It is the student's responsibility to make sure that all parts of the externship application package have been received by the deadline.

The deadline to submit a proposal for the Winter 2017 externship is October 21, 2016, at 5:00 P.M.

The deadline to submit a proposal for a Fall 2017 externship is March 31, 2017, at 5:00 P.M.

A STUDENT DOES NOT NEED TO HAVE A POSITION SECURED TO APPLY. Instead, students must list all the sites they are considering in their proposal. Failure to list a possible placement will likely lead to the student being unable to extern at that placement.

The Proposal

The student should enumerate the specific educational objectives he or she hopes to achieve through the proposed externship and the manner in which this will occur. The written proposal should address the following:

  • Name and description of the host organization(s).  Again, you do not have to have a placement finalized to apply; you may list more than one possibility.
  • Work to be performed/duties and responsibilities.
  • Specific educational objectives.
  • Why the educational objectives cannot be achieved in the classroom.
  • How the externship will build on your academic experience. 
  • How the externship will build on your prior work experience.
  • If you have ever worked at this placement before (or will be working there before the externship commences), please describe how your externship will be substantially different than your past experience(s).
  • If you are doing a research paper, the name of your faculty sponsor for your paper, and as specific a description as possible of the topic for your research paper.
  • See sample here.

Faculty Sponsor Statement

If the student is undertaking an optional paper/project, the faculty sponsor must provide written confirmation of his or her commitment to supervise and grade the student's paper/project at the end of the externship. This confirmation may be sent via email to lawexternships@umich.edu.

Host Supervisor Statement

The host organization must provide a signed Supervising Attorney Agreement which describes the site's obligation to our student and a resume of a supervising attorney or the equivalent.

Once an externship proposal has been approved by the Committee, Professor Sankaran will vet the proposed site by discussing the program with the supervising attorney at the host organization and confirming the commitments described above.

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