What is an Externship?
An externship is experiential learning opportunity to perform legal work in one or more of a variety of legal institutions, including public interest organizations, government offices, and federal and state courts. You learn from working under the supervision of a licensed attorney, assigned readings, mandatory classes at the law school, and reflective practices. You may participate in an externship for units, or you may volunteer to work without earning law school units. If you would like to earn units for your externship, you must secure an offer for an externship with a government of public interest law office, apply for an externship with the Director of Experiential Learning at the University of La Verne College of Law, and register for units, and comply with the policies and procedures established by the Externship Department, some of which are described below.
La Verne Law allows externships from 1-4 units at 52 hours per unit. No student shall receive more than 12 units of externship credit. During the summer, some organizations will only hire student externs full-time. Although the work in those externships will exceed the number of hours allowed for units, students may request pro-bono credit for hours worked beyond those necessary to earn the externship credits. Students are required to pay for each credit during the summer session. Externs usually perform legal research, writing, interview clients, and have opportunities to develop practical legal skills, including courtroom-type experience, if applicable.
The Director of Experiential Learning is Professor Diane Uchimiya, firstname.lastname@example.org, Room 220.
Who is eligible to participate in the Externship Program?
Students who have completed a minimum of 28 units of law school course work in day or evening studies in good academic standing are eligible.
What externship opportunities are available?
The Externship Department has a wide range of placements, including judicial chambers, government agencies and public interest law firms. A list of externship opportunities in which La Verne Law students have participated in the past is posted on the bulletin board and on the Externship Information page on TWEN. The list is not a comprehensive list of all available externships. Students may seek other opportunities; postings may appear on Simplicity, www.CaliforniaProbono.org, www.probono.net/ca/socal, idealist.org, PSJD.org, and the Arizona Government Honors Handbook.
How many hours are required per unit?
Each externship unit requires 52 hours of legal work performed under the supervision of a licensed attorney. Hours must be completed within the semester or summer session of enrollment. Externship work schedules are flexible within reason. However, students cannot frontload or backload their hours in order to complete the externship in a significantly shorter period than the scheduled term.
Are there other course requirements?
Externs must prepare daily activity journal entries, time sheets signed by the supervising attorney, and reflection exercises as assigned. All submissions must be submitted electronically via TWEN. Externs will also be preparing a few other assignments such as establishing goals and finding out the about the confidentiality policy of your placement, a self-evaluation at the beginning and end of the term, as well as an evaluation of the externship placement. The supervising attorney will also submit an evaluation of the extern.
How do I begin looking for an externship?
Contact the Director of Experiential Learning, Professor Diane Uchimiya, to meet and discuss your plan to apply for externships. Read the Externship Directive available on TWEN and on the bulletin board. A list of externship opportunities with public entities and other organizations that have accept La Verne Law externs in the past can be found on the Externship Information TWEN page, as well as on the bulletin board outside of the entrance to the Center for Academic and Bar Readiness. In addition, students may seek other opportunities; postings may appear on Symplicity, www.CaliforniaProbono.org, www.probono.net/ca/socal, idealist.org, PSJD.org, and the Arizona Government Honors Handbook.
Interested students identify the organizations to contact to find out about externship opportunities and deadlines. The organizations generally require a cover letter, resume, and writing sample. Some also request a transcript and a reference sheet. Schedule an appointment with the Career Development Office to have your cover letter, resume, writing sample, and reference sheet reviewed well in advance of the application deadline. You will want time to perfect your material before applying for the position.
Some placements will allow applications to be e-mailed, but if the placement does not state a preference for delivery, then send your cover letter requesting an interview and your supporting documentation directly by U.S. mail to your placement of interest.
When you have interviews scheduled, contact the Career Development Office well in advance of the interview to schedule one or more mock interviews. The positions are competitive, especially for positions in the summer.
Once you accept an offer, prepare and file the Externship Application by e-mail to the Director of Experiential Learning. The application is available on TWEN. Externships need not be confirmed by the application deadline, but the application itself must be filed by the deadline.
How do I apply for a Judicial Externship?
Students interested in a Judicial Externship should schedule an appointment with the Career Development Office and with the Director of Experiential Learning, Professor Diane Uchimiya. Top students receive an e-mail invitation to apply for judicial externships, although other students have also successfully applied for and received judicial externships.
For additional information on judicial externships, see the “Handbook for Judicial Externs.” Start early to prepare your materials and apply for any of these opportunities. Use this chart for reference:
For the fall semester Apply in March of the spring semester
For the spring semester Apply during the first week of classes in August or earlier!
For the summer session Upper division students should apply in October of the fall semester.
First year students may not apply until December 1 of the fall semester.
Can I apply for an externship independently of the Externship Department?
You may apply independent of the Externship Program if you do not plan to earn units. If you plan to receive units for the externship then you must apply for pre-approved off campus externships in government agencies, judicial chambers and public interest law firms or obtain approval for a new office from the Director of Experiential Learning. Enrollment may be prohibited for those students who fail to obtain advance approval for the placement.
How do I get enrolled and receive credit for my externship units?
Once you have filed a timely application and resume and have accepted an offer, go to the Externship Department web site, download the Externship Application, a fillable PDF, available on the Externship Information TWEN page. Save the form once you have downloaded it, and open the saved form to fill out. Save the completed form and then attach the completed form to file by e-mail to Professor Uchimiya at email@example.com. Upon approval of the Externship Application, the Registrar’s Office will be notified and will register you for up to 4 units of externship. You must also complete the other course requirements which include attending mandatory meetings, completing required hours, preparing and submitting journal entries, time sheets signed by your supervising attorney, reflection assignments, as well as the required evaluations. All required documents must be submitted in a timely fashion in the appropriate drop boxes TWEN page for the Externship Course. Externships are graded “pass” or “fail.“
Can I satisfy my experiential learning requirement with an externship?
Yes. Students completing at least three units in an approved public interest externship satisfy the La Verne Law experiential learning requirement.
What if a proposed externship conflicts with classes?
You may not enroll in an externship if it conflicts with a class. Students are counseled against accepting an externship in the fall semester of the second year if the externship conflicts with any required curriculum.
Is there a classroom component for externships?
All externs must attend a mandatory class at the beginning of the semester on “Ethics, Professionalism and Course Requirements.” The Externship Director reserves the right to refuse to enroll students who do not attend the mandatory class. If you are enrolled in a full time externship (7-10 units) you will also be required to participate in the on-line Judicial Process Course. This course is self-paced, but requires that you read a number of articles (the links to which will be provided) about the role and work of the judiciary, and that you prepare five short written assignments which reflect on the readings.
Can I enroll in an externship for a private law firm?
Yes, if you identify a private law firm with an attorney willing to supervise you, you may be permitted to enroll for units under certain circumstances. Please contact Professor Uchimiya at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about placements with private law firms.