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Externship Program

Study Outside of the Classroom

Student standing in front of door to Public Defender Service for DCThe externship program allows students to earn academic credit for legal experience during the spring and summer semesters. Students enroll in a highly structured class that helps them develop their professional identities while immersed working at a legal externship. Students must complete 200 hours at the placement to earn four credits or 400 hours to earn eight credits. Professor Matt Fraidin directs the program.

Before enrolling in either the four-credit or eight-credit option, full-time students must have completed three semesters of law school and part-time students must have completed six semesters. The externship cannot be taken simultaneously with a clinic. The externship program accepts visiting students from other law schools. Please contact the Office of Admission for information on how to become a visiting student.

The externship program provides opportunities for students to:

  • Develop and improve their legal skills;
  • Hone their problem-solving and professional management skills;
  • Engage in critical reflection on the profession and their role as practitioners;
  • Explore career areas of particular interest; and
  • Develop a life-long model of professional development.

Eligible placements can be with members of the judiciary, governmental agencies, or non-profit legal organizations. Students may not receive credit for work with private law firms or for-profit groups, or for paid positions. Students may find their own site (subject to approval) or request placement assistance. Positions are posted in UDC Law CareerNet (Symplicity). Recent placements include the District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General, the US House of Representatives, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, members of the judiciary, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Maryland Office of the State Attorney. The director works closely with field placement supervisors to ensure that students receive substantive experience, effective supervision, and appropriate evaluation. Field supervisors prepare extensive written mid-term and final evaluations of the student’s work.

Students must keep a weekly journal reflecting on issues and problems that arise during the placement, and share those reflections with the director. The journal helps students develop a systematic way to reflect on and analyze their experience, enabling their growth as a professional.

The academic component is delivered through a weekly tutorial. During the tutorial, students examine the broader social, political, economic, and policy-related ramifications of their fieldwork as well as a variety of issues connected with the practice of law, including the role of lawyers in shaping public policy, the practice of public interest law, and the diversity of legal careers. Tutorials include reading assignments, and student and guest presentations.

For additional information, see Externship Program FAQs.


more Calendar

No Classes/University Closed (Columbus Day Holiday)

Mandatory Graduation Meeting (Class of 2021 FT & PT)

No Classes/University Closed (Veterans' Day Holiday)

11/26/2020 » 11/28/2020
No Classes/University Closed (Thanksgiving Holiday)

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