Responsibilities of Extern Site Supervisor

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The success of field placement programs depends on the willingness and ability of the supervising attorneys to serve as available role models and teachers. We ask all site supervisors to agree to the following responsibilities as a condition of participation in our program.


Externship Site Supervisors should have at least three years of practice experience.


On the student's first day on site the site supervisor should provide a basic orientation including:

  1. an office tour and staff introductions;
  2. an overview of the jurisdiction or mission of the agency or organization and the general legal issues presently before it;
  3. a briefing on office protocols including work schedules, security, filing systems, dress code, computer/phone usage, and email policies;
  4. guidelines and resources for successful performance of extern assignments.

Work space

The Extern Site Supervisor should provide the extern with adequate work space, a safe work environment, and research facilities or necessary resources.


The Extern Site Supervisor should ensure that:

  1. The student's assignments are part of the agency or organization's regular workload and give the student some in-depth exposure to issues pertinent to the agency or organization's activities.
  2. The student's assignments are as varied as the agency's or organization's workload and the student's abilities reasonably allow.
  3. The student is included in discussions of strategy and implementation that arise out of research, writing or other work in which the student has played a significant part, whenever reasonably feasible.
  4. The student is allowed to observe a sampling of matters that are routinely handled by the organization, but which are beyond the scope of the student's capabilities.
  5. The student's assignments are reasonable in terms of the student's commitment to work for the agency or organization approximately ten hours per week in the fall/spring and 32 hours per week in the summer.
  6. Menial tasks (filing, library updating, photocopying, running errands, etc.) will occupy a minimal percentage of the student extern's workload.

Regular Contact and Supervision

The Extern Site Supervisor should have regular contact with the student extern throughout the course of the semester, including:

Developing Learning Goals and Work Plans

The Extern Site Supervisor should work with the student to develop goals for the externship experience and form a work plan that will enable the student to meet these goals.

Weekly Meetings & Feedback

The Extern Site Supervisor should meet with the student extern approximately once a week in order to provide the student with general supervision and regular feedback. (The student may also work with and be supervised by other individuals within the organization, provided that the Site Supervisor continues to maintain this regular contact). The subject matter of these meetings may include evaluating the student's performance over the course of the prior week, discussing the activities of the organization, and analyzing particular successes and problems that arise in the course of the externship. The Site Supervisor might also seek to assist the student in developing insights into legal practice, the lawyering process, the application of the Rules of Professional Responsibility in practice, the general legal principles involved in the organization's work, and otherwise provide guidance that can assist the student in launching his or her own legal career. This kind of mentoring can have tremendous educational value to the student, transcending even the value of the practical experience the student gains through the externship.


The Extern Site Supervisor should provide the student with constructive, detailed evaluations of his or her performance. During the course of the semester, the Site Supervisor will complete a Site Supervisor Mid-Term Evaluation of the Extern and a Final Evaluation of the Extern. The Site Supervisor should communicate, either verbally or in writing, with the student's Faculty Supervisor at the end of the semester, to discuss the Site Supervisor's perceptions of both the student extern's work and the externship program generally. Extern Site Supervisors are invited to call the UNC Externship Program Faculty Supervisors, Professor Maria Savasta-Kennedy at 919.843.9805 or Professor Janine Zanin at 919.962.4068, with any questions or comments.


Site supervisors acknowledge that this is an educational experience primarily for the benefit of the extern; that the extern does not displace or substitute for any employees, and that other than reimbursement for incidental expenses, externs may not be compensated for their work.

Equal Employment Policy

The UNC School of Law is committed to providing its students and graduates with equal opportunity to obtain employment, including externships, without discrimination on the basis of an individual's race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, genetic information, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression (hereinafter his/her "protected status"). Participating sites agree to comply with this anti-discrimination policy.

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