"The externship program allowed me the opportunity to deal with matters of life or death. I worked with attorneys across the country, challenging the constitutionality of the juvenile death penalty. I learned that things are seldom what they seem and, as attorneys, we need to look beneath the surface, for that is where the truth often lies." -Jontae Chatman '05
1. Perspective. Although you are taught objective legal argument in law school, the primary thrust is to train you as an advocate. The largest benefit of an externship is for students to see advocacy in action.
2. Exposure. Working as an extern allows you to view the documents and observe hearings on a large number and variety of legal actions.
3. Resume Value. Legal employers respond favorably to externships. The experience serves as a reliable discussion topic during interviews.
4. Networking. The best contacts made during an externship are with the supervising attorneys and staff.
It depends on the organization for which you extern. Most students can expect to do some legal research and writing, observe court proceedings, and attend meetings with the supervising attorney. Some externs may also be involved in interviewing and counseling victims or clients.
Students apply directly to the non-profit organization or government agency for their externships. You should check with the placement for specific application requirements, but most placements will require at least a cover letter and resume. For a list of frequent local placement options and their requirements, please see this website.
Students must have their externship arranged before applying for academic credit. As a general rule:
For fall internships, it is best to send out your applications by June 15.
For spring internships, it is best to send out your applications by November 1.
For summer internships, it is best to send out your applications by February 15.
Different organizations have different deadlines. If you miss these dates, check with the organization to see if they are still accepting applications.
First, determine the type of experience and exposure you want. The clinic has binders containing previous extern evaluations of their externship experiences. This is a valuable tool for students in determining which organizations might be of most interest.
If you are interested in a placement that is not on this list, please contact Professor Erma Bonadero at email@example.com to ensure the placement meets the Law Center’s requirements for academic credit.
Depending on the organization, you may interview with one attorney or with several attorneys. No matter who interviews you, always display respect toward the staff and be sure to conduct research on the organization prior to the interview.
Always wear formal business attire when interviewing. The key is to dress conservatively. This includes dark suits, white shirts, and conservative ties for men, and dark suits, collared shirts, and panty hose for women.
1. You must have finished your first year of law school and you must have a minimum 2.33 GPA at the time you apply for credit.
2. Secure your position with the placement of your choice.
3. Complete the online application found on this website. Once submitted, Prof. Bonadero will review it, and, if your application is approved, will email Student Services requesting you to be registered for the clinical and classroom courses. You will be copied on this email so you know your enrollment is in the works.
4. Once accepted, you must:
a) Perform legally substantive work during the course of the semester (which may include a certain amount of observation of proceedings)
b) Attend, participate in and complete requirements of the 1 credit, graded course DURING THE SAME SEMESTER THAT YOU ARE DOING YOUR FIELD PLACEMENT WORK. (This is an ABA requirement, so exceptions cannot be made.)
c) Spend a minimum of 180 hours at a 3-credit placement, or 240 hours at a 4-credit placement and provide a detailed log of your time.
Once your application has been approved by PROF. BONADERO, we will register you for both the Externship CLINIC and the Public Interest Workplace courses. Students must have secured their externship and applied for the courses PRIOR to the normal semester enrollment deadlines.
THE Public Interest Workplace course IS WORTH ONE SUBSTANTIVE CREDIT HOUR, AND, AS STATED ABOVE, MUST BE TAKEN IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE PLACEMENT.
Schedules will be announced as they become available. In general, the course meets weekly during the fall and spring semesters. In the summers, the classroom component (either Judicial Process or Public Interest Workplace) will be conducted as follows:
Without exception, only students who are doing their externship outside of the greater Houston area (i.e., more than an hours’ drive from campus), will be permitted to take the class online.
Stop in and talk with the externship supervisor:
Professor Erma Bonadero