The Externship Program is designed to enhance traditional classroom instruction by engaging students in real-life lawyering experiences with practicing lawyers and judges in the community. Students receive pass/fail credit for externing at one of our approved sites for approximately ten or eleven hours a week during the 14 week semester. The Externship Program offers three different options; the fall/spring three credit program for 3L students, the summer five credit program (for rising 2L and 3L students), and the twelve credit Semester in Practice program during the fall of the 3L year.
Mentorship & Guidance
Mentors and on-site supervisors include federal and state judges, and lawyers from government agencies, public interest groups and corporate counsel offices. In addition, the Externship Program's faculty supervisors guide and facilitate the students' exploration of their externship experience through tutorials, journal writing and group discussion.
Through the program, student externs have the opportunity to try on and explore a particular area of practice, and observe different lawyering styles and techniques. Externships promote students' development of key lawyering skills, such as research and writing, interviewing and counseling, negotiation, and informal and formal advocacy. Through their work with faculty supervisors, students also develop reflective lawyering habits, which will enhance their ability to learn from their observations and experiences. Finally, through discussion of ethical and moral issues, the program attempts to enhance students' understanding of professional responsibility.
There are no mandatory course requirements for enrolling in the Externship Program; however, individual externship placement sites may have prerequisites.
Requirements and Participation
The Three Credit Program
Students participating in the Externship Program work under the direct supervision of an on-site supervisor for approximately 10 to 11 hours each week during the 14-week semester. Site supervisors are experienced lawyers who provide direction, supervision and feedback to the extern as the student initiates, progresses through and completes assigned projects.
Fall and Spring lottery spots are assigned in March for the upcoming academic year. Students who receive a spot from the lottery may then apply to up to four externship sites, and accept at one. With sites ranging from judges to legal aid to corporate counsel to criminal trial work, there is something for every legal interest.
The program offers 55 placements in both the fall and spring semesters at a number of sites, and is limited to third-year law students through the clinic/externship lottery. The Program can occasionally offer a spot to a spring 2L student once the lottery and waitlist are complete. The fall/spring program earns 3 pass/fail credit hours.
Sample site list
The Summer Program
The summer program offers 50 placements, both at judicial and non-judicial sites. First- and second-year students interested in summer placement earn 5 pass/fail credit hours during the 7 week session and are on-site 32 hours per week. Externs attend class on Friday mornings during the summer session.
Participation in the Summer Program is via a lottery in late November. Please contact Melissa Wood-Saltzman at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Semester In Practice Program
The Semester in Practice program offers
full time, semester long externships with our partner government agencies and public
interest organizations in Washington DC, New York City, Atlanta and North
Carolina. The program is designed as a capstone experience for students
interested in a particular area of practice or skills set who are willing to
spend the full semester off campus and externing full time with the host
organization. Students are trained and mentored by on-site supervisors at the
host organization. In addition, the Externship Program’s faculty supervisors
guide and facilitate the student’s exploration of their experience through
virtual classroom discussion, journal writing and individual conferences. Participating sites in Washington DC include
the Department of Justice, Environmental Enforcement Division; the
Environmental Protection Agency; the Comptroller of
the Currency; and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Students also have the opportunity to extern
with the New York City and Atlanta offices of the SEC, and with the Southern
Environmental Law Center in Asheville and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Students
participating in the program receive 12 units of pass/fail credit. Placement in this Program is by application only and requires the approval of Professor Savasta-Kennedy. Up to 15 students may participate in the fall of their 3L year. For more information, contact Professor Maria Savasta-Kennedy at email@example.com.
Examples of Sites for Fall and Spring 3 credit and for summer
Judges at federal and state levels and lawyers from government agencies, public interest groups and corporate counsel offices serve as mentors and on-site supervisors for the students. A few examples are:
- Fourth Circuit, Court of Appeals
- NC Supreme Court
- University Counsel
- NC Attorney General's Office
- Center for Civil Rights
Current Program Sites
Please note that not all site opportunities are available every semester. Externs should refer to their site list sheet.
Resources for Students
Resources for Sites
If you are interested in joining the Externship Program as a site supervisor, the first step is to complete and return the Externship Site Information Form (). We require that all participating sites in our program have an on-site supervisor who is an attorney with a minimum of five years of experience as a practicing lawyer. Supervisors must also read and sign the Site Supervisor Responsibilities document (see below). Please note that at this time we do not place externs with private firms.
Interested sites can review our Site Handbook below for site responsibilities and expectations. Please contact either of the Externship Program Faculty to begin the process of becoming an approved site.