Externship Policy

(Adopted by UCI Law Faculty Aug. 30, 2013)

General Policy. A student may receive academic credit for uncompensated legal work in an externship if the student works for a state or federal judge (including a federal magistrate or bankruptcy judge) or a government or non-profit organization. A student may not receive externship credit if he or she receives any financial compensation for the work1 . An externship with a state or federal judge does not require prior approval of the desired placement. However, the Director of Externships must approve any placement with a government or non-profit organization, determining whether the desired placement will involve the type and nature of work worthy of academic credit and appropriate attorney supervision of the work. During an externship placement a student must submit bi-weekly timesheets, indicating the work completed on a daily basis as part of the externship, including such activities as writing, research, conferences with supervisors, observation of trials, hearings, interviews, negotiations, or other relevant legal work. A student must also submit five to seven reflective essays, responding to prompts from the member of the law school faculty member supervising the externship. A student desiring to receive academic credit for an externship must fill out an application form and receive approval to enroll in an externship course prior to registering for such a course. All of the credit/no credit units earned in either a part-time or full-time externship count toward the 18-credit limit on the number of non-regularly scheduled class room units that a student may take.

  1. Part-time Summer Externships. A rising second- or third-year law student may enroll in a summer externship course for 4, 5 or 6 units, credit/no credit, for which the student must complete 168, 224 or 280 hours of work respectively over the course of the summer. A summer externship student will register for and earn credit for the externship in the fall semester following the summer placement. A student shall enroll in the fall externship course that correlates to her or his placement. To earn the externship credit, a summer externship student is required to attend and participate in a training and orientation session at the beginning of the summer, three evening seminar meetings during the summer and one seminar meeting held within the first two weeks of the fall semester. Students in placements outside of the southern California area will participate in the summer meetings electronically.
  2. Part-Time Academic Year Externships. A second- or third-year student may enroll in a part-time externship course during the academic year for 4, 5 or 6 units, credit/no credit, for which the student must complete 168, 224 or 280 hours of work respectively over the course of the semester. A student extern is required to attend and participate in the appropriate classroom sessions. The student shall enroll in the externship course that correlates to his or her placement, i.e. judicial or non-judicial, during the same semester as he or she completes the work at the placement. A student may participate in a part-time academic year externship only if the student has a minimum 3.0 GPA. (In certain instances, an exception to the GPA requirement may be obtained from the Assistant Dean of Student Services).
  3. Full-Time Academic Year Externships. Student participation in a full-time externship will be allowed only in exceptional circumstances. A student will be permitted to enroll in a full-time externship if no comparable experience is possible through a part-time externship. A student may participate in a full-time externship only during the student's fourth or fifth semester of law school, and if the student has a minimum 3.0 GPA. (In certain instances, an exception to the GPA requirement may be obtained from the Assistant Dean of Student Services). An example of a permissible full-time externship is the University of California D.C. semester ("UCDC") program, a program in Washington, D.C. that provides opportunities to work in legal positions not available in Southern California. A student shall earn 10 credit/no credit units, plus 3 units of graded credit for the accompanying course, for participation in a UCDC externship, or 10 credit/no credit units plus 3 graded independent study units for participation in any other full-time externship. A student desiring to participate in a full-time externship must obtain preliminary approval from the Assistant Dean of Student Services before contacting a potential placement. A student seeking a full-time externship other than the UCDC program must also identify and secure a faculty advisor on the UCI School of Law faculty and fill out an application form. The Assistant Dean of Student Services in conjunction with the Director of Externships will then decide whether to approve the requested full-time externship. Approval will not be given for a full-time externship simply because it expands the geographic range of a student's opportunities. In order to receive credit for a non-UCDC externship, a student must complete a portfolio or writing project. The parameters of the project must be approved by the student's faculty advisor.
  4. Second Externships. A student who wishes to enroll in more than one externship course may do so with the approval of the Assistant Dean of Student Services. A student who enrolls in a part-time externship for a second placement (either summer or academic year) does not attend the classroom sessions and may enroll in the externship course for 3, 4 or 5 credits (correlating to 168, 224 or 280 hours of work at the placement).

1 ABA Interpretation 305-3:  A law school may not grant credit to a student for participation in a field placement program for which the student receives compensation.  This Interpretation does not preclude reimbursement of reasonable out-of-pocket expenses related to the field placement.

Contact

Laura Fry
Director of Externships
lfry@law.uci.edu
(949) 824-4939
LAW 4800-R

Robert Medeiros
Faculty Assistant
(949) 824-2370
rmedeiros@law.uci.edu