Externships, also known as external studies opportunities, offer an exciting opportunity to augment classroom study with real-world work experience.
Michigan's externship program is designed to provide individual students with advanced training and research opportunities in areas of particular interest to them that go beyond what is traditionally offered in a classroom setting. Although skills training may be a component of an external studies program, the object of the program must be to further the student's legal education in the sense of deepening his or her understanding of the nature of law and the legal system; skills training alone is not an adequate justification for engaging in study outside the Law School.
The host organization must be shown to have undertaken a specifically educational commitment to the student, including an explicit statement that the student will be supervised by an identified attorney or group of attorneys. There must be a commitment to participate with the student in analyzing and discussing the intellectual lessons to be drawn from the student's experience.
The attorneys who supervise the student must assume responsibility for continuous evaluation of the student's work, with particular attention paid to ways in which it can be improved.
The host organization must also agree not to use student externs primarily for undesirable make-work tasks, such as cite-checking or perfunctory research projects.
Therefore, the host organization must sign a Supervising Attorney Agreement that demonstrates its commitment to the student and his or her learning.
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