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Externship Requirements

Online Discussion Group

All full-time externs are required to participate in four online dialogues with their classmates and Professor Sankaran using the discussion feature in M+Box. Topics will be posted by 12:00PM on the Sunday of the week of each dialogue.

Faculty Supervisor & Research Paper

Each student proposing an externship program must secure, in advance of submitting a proposal, a faculty supervisor who will be responsible for supervising and grading the student's 3-credit research paper. Prior to the commencement of the externship, the student and faculty supervisor should work out the areas of study to be pursued and establish the general topic to be developed in the required research paper, to the extent possible. Details regarding the form and length of the required research paper and due date should be agreed upon prior to the start of the externship.

Although the flux of business at the host organization may preclude firm definition of the paper at the very beginning of the external studies semester, every effort should be made to settle the topic and begin work as promptly as possible. The finished paper must meet the standards ordinarily applied to seminar and independent research papers prepared for the same amount of credit, and must reflect the individual work of the student rather than a joint effort with other students or attorneys.

Satisfactory completion of the research paper is required before the student can receive credit for the paper or for the external studies program as a whole. The independent research paper must be assigned a letter grade by the faculty supervisor. The remaining 9 credits for the externship are mandatory pass/fail.

Contemporaneous Journal

The student must keep a contemporaneous journal report of activities during the externship. It should be in narrative form and must be uploaded to the student's folder on M+Box on a schedule determined by the syllabus. These journal reports should include:

  • A description of the student's daily work, including the nature of the projects worked on and the student's role in the projects and special assignments.
  • A specific description of the training and supervision the student is receiving in connection with each project.
  • Contemporaneous reflections on the manner in which the work relates to the educational goals for the externship.
  • The manner in which the externship has exposed the student to issues concerning professional responsibility and the role of attorneys.
  • How the externship has contributed to the student's development of knowledge in particular substantive areas and to the student's professional growth.

These reports must meet the minimum requirements set forth in the course syllabus.

Final Report and Written Externship Assignments

At the end of the externship, the student must upload to their externship folder on M+Box a Final Report on the externship experience. It must be accompanied by at least three pieces of any written work (e.g., reports, briefs, memos, etc.) the student produced during the externship.

Generally, the final report should reflect on the externship experience as a whole. Although it may naturally include some repetition with portions of the student's contemporaneous journals, it should be a report that stands on its own and provides an end-of-term retrospective summary of the student's externship experiences and their educational significance. The report should include:

  • A description of the specific projects the student worked on and the student's role in each project.
  • The quality and method of supervision provided.
  • An overall evaluation of the externship.
  • The student's personal reflections on what he or she learned from the externship.
  • The significance of the experience toward the student's intellectual and professional development and objectives.

Site Visits

The ABA requires that a faculty member visit each placement when more than four academic credits are awarded for an externship. As a result, it is preferable for externships to be in major cities, including Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, DC. A limited number of externships are approved each year for the AIRE Centre in London, England.

Approval of externships at other locations is dependent on the ability of the Law School to conduct a site visit. Students who wish to propose an externship in another geographic location should consult with Professor Sankaran, either by scheduling an appointment online or by phone at 734.764.7787.

Student Evaluation of Externship Site

At the end of your externship, please use this link to evaluate your externship placement, including what type of work you did, how you found your position, and your overall experience. Your information will be shared with future students via the Public Service Network, if you opt to allow it, and we really hope you will! To read about prior students’ externship experiences, please visit the Public Service Network.

Supervising Attorney Evaluations

The student's supervising attorney at the host organization must submit two formal written evaluations of the student's performance to the Office of Student Affairs; once at the middle of the externship and again at the end. These evaluations should detail the work the student has done and the supervisor's evaluation of their work during the time period covered.

Click here to complete and submit the Midterm Evaluation.

Click here to complete and submit the Final Evaluation.


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