A Mission in Mentoring & Professional Exploration
The Externship Program celebrates 16 years of bringing Carolina Law students together with lawyers and judges in the community to engage in real life lawyering experiences that complement traditional classroom instruction. Our partner placement sites include judges at federal and state levels as well as lawyers from government agencies, public interest groups, and corporate counsel who serve as mentors and on-site supervisors for the students. The Externship Program’s faculty supervisors guide and facilitate the students’ exploration of their externship experience through tutorials, journal writing and class discussion.
This year, students received mentoring and feedback from sites including the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Public Defender, The Honorable James Wynn, and SAS.
Through these externships, our students develop key lawyering skills such as legal analysis, research and writing, interviewing and counseling, negotiation, policy making and both informal and formal advocacy.
Students receive a range of academic credits for participating in an externship, depending on the number of hours on site, including completion of accompanying journal and class requirements at the law school. Through their work with faculty supervisors, students critically examine their learning strategies, their goals and progress, and develop self-directed learning habits. The Program also promotes students’ understanding of professional responsibility through discussion of ethical and moral issues arising in practice.
The Externship Program offers four different academic options:
3-credit fall/spring program for 3L students (12 hours per week)
6-credit option for 3Ls externing with federal judges and the US Attorney in the fall and spring semester (20 hours per week)
5-credit summer program for rising 2L and 3L students (32 hours per week)
Capstone Semester in Practice program for students spending the fall semester of their 3L externing full time with a federal agency such as the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the Environmental Protection Agency, etc. in Washington, D.C., New York or Atlanta
Visit the Externship Program page for more information about the program and our sites.
Congratulations are in order!
Extern alum Jonathan Williams will be returning to work at his externship site, Chiesi, as Assistant General Counsel.
Recent extern alum John Gibson was hired by his former externship site, Tanger Outlets, after graduating in early May.
Read about In-House Externships and the UNC School of Law Externship Program in Corporate Counsel Magazine
"UNC Law's Externship Program has been a vital and rewarding part of my law school experience. The robustness of the program and the variety of positions available to students is one of the major reasons why I chose to attend UNC Law in the first place. Not only have I developed a useful skill set that will better prepare me for my career after law school, but I have had the opportunity to develop professional relationships with practicing attorneys that I would otherwise not have had a chance to work with." —Andrea Shofstall '16
"I personally feel that the externship program was one of the most useful and relevant classes I took while in law school."—Joshua J. Higgin, Office of Corporate Counsel, RTI International
Both Andrea and Josh are part of the Corporate Counsel Magazine article, along with extern Melissa Jarel, extern alumn Noel Barnard, and Program Director, Prof. Maria Savasta-Kennedy.
Many of our externs will actually become extern supervisors later in their career. This provides incredible benefits to our current externs, as their supervisor already knows the experience of being an extern. We appreciate our externship alumni who now provide mentoring, feedback, advice, and support to our current externs.
Our students share their thoughts on externships:
"My externship experiences provided a safe environment for me to explore different areas of law. Through the program, I have had the opportunity to work in both private and public sectors and in both civil law and criminal law. Through these experiences, I have had the chance to try a DUI, to draft a state-wide consumer UDAP complaint, and to investigate the legality of using credit history in employment screens. This program has grown my awareness of the area of law as well as the type of practice that would be most aligned with my interests and strengths. It has also expanded my personal network of attorneys whose mentorship has been invaluable and will continue to be so as I enter the field. I cannot think of any good reason why every student should not do an externship."
—Kinnari Bhojani, '16
"Participating in the Externship Program at UNC has been one of the best decisions I have made during my law school career. The Externship Program has not only supplemented my legal education here at UNC by extending me the opportunity to implement diverse legal skills in practice, but it has also provided me an arena to continually refine my legal skills, and encourage me to tackle challenging projects in a variety of legal fields, all while helping me to grow my professional network. Moreover, the mentorship and commitment to teaching the practice of law provided by my various Site Supervisors has been one of the many highlights of the Program for me. I would highly recommend participating in the Program to anyone looking to diversify the traditional law school experience."
—Melissa Jarel, '16
"Working as a judicial extern has been an invaluable experience for me. During my externship, I developed a relationship with an appellate court judge, received personal guidance on my legal writing from talented clerks, and learned best practices from attorneys whose matters were before the court. Sharing the lessons that I learned during this experience also helped me secure a clerkship after graduation. I would recommend a judicial externship to any student who is interested in clerking or litigating."
—Michael Jones, Class of 2017
"Applying to the Semester In Practice externship was one of the best choices I made at UNC. Working for DOJ-ENRD-Environmental Enforcement Division gave me hands-on experience in environmental litigation that's hard to acquire in a classroom. The Semester In Practice program was a perfect transition from a 2L summer internship to impending bar classes 3L Spring. Also, living in Washington, DC for a semester was a great way to explore a new city and network with local alumni!"
—Erin Carter, '16, Semester in Practice Extern at the U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Fall 2015
"My externships at RTI International and SAS Institute allowed me to work directly with each company’s patent attorneys on a wide variety of IP-related projects. These projects included meeting with potential inventors to discuss their projects, sitting in on meetings with outside counsel to decide patent prosecution strategy for an existing patent application, researching law related to trade secrets and determining whether something may qualify as a trade secret, performing prior art searches, informing researchers about the patent prosecution process, and discussing the impact of recent court cases on ongoing litigation. I was also able to learn more about each organization’s patent/IP strategy and rationale behind that strategy. Most importantly, I was able work on projects that aligned with my interest areas by discussing my learning goals with my site supervisor."
—Alexander R. Covington, '16
The Externship Program faculty and staff, along with some fantastic externs, hit a high ropes course to support Carolina Public Interest Law Organization!
As we look to a new academic year of externs, we are excited to add the following partner sites:
New Sites for Spring/Summer
Legal Aid Battered Immigrants Project
The Honorable Robert Numbers, Federal Magistrate
Tanger Outlets General Counsel
The Honorable John Tyson, NC Court of Appeals
The American Institute of Certified Public Accounts
US Air Force – Judge Advocate General – Seymour AFB
TIAA-CREF - Charlotte
Charlotte Hornets – Basketball Operations
New 12-Credit Semester in Practice Sites
CFPD - Washington DC
DHHS - Washington DC
DOJ - National Courts - Washington DC
FCC - Washington DC
Interested in Externship Site Information? View our online list.