Students may wish to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in an externship program for credit toward their law degrees. Externships provide the opportunity to gain legal experience with an organization that has an excellent reputation in a particular substantive area. Participating students also produce a significant independent research paper under the supervision of a member of the Law School faculty in a subject related to the substantive field of the externship.
The Law School hopes that an externship experience will give students the chance to combine academic and work experience in a field of special interest to them and to gain exposure to public interest opportunities which may be more difficult to obtain as remunerative employment.
Students may design their own programs and submit proposals for approval. It is anticipated that most programs will be undertaken in connection with government agencies or with nonprofit organizations operated for public benefit. In recent years, students have pursued externships with such organizations as the Office of the Legal Advisor of the U.S. State Department, the National Labor Relations Board, the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. Attorney in Detroit, and the White House Counsel. Because of the ABA’s site visit requirement, externships are usually limited to Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, and Michigan.
Externship program credit will not be awarded for activities that substantially resemble a summer job or post-graduation employment, nor for programs with an organization engaged in providing legal services for a profit, nor for judicial clerkships. Students may earn twelve credit hours for a fall or winter term externship and eight credit hours for a summer term externship. No compensation may be received during the semester of externship study. Financial aid during an approved externship is available to students who meet the regular eligibility requirements.
Students interested in pursuing externships should read the guidelines available in the information rack outside 313 Hutchins Hall and consult Amy Sankaran, director of externships and pro bono programs, for guidance and more details about opportunities, procedures, and approval. More information on externships is also available here.