Effective January 1, 2015
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 work.1 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. Additional steps are necessary for approval of full-time externships, detailed in sub-section C below. 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, observations 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.
A. Part-time Summer Externships:
A rising second- or third-year law student may enroll in a summer externship course for 4units, credit/no credit, for which the student must complete a minimum of 168 hours of work over the course of the summer.2 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 must participate in the academic component of the course. During the summer the academic component will follow a format designed to foster reflective learning and communication among students while accommodating students’ schedules and geographic dispersion.
B. 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 her or his placement, i.e. judicial or non-judicial, during the same semester as she or he 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 for Student Services).
C. 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 for 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, for a minimum of 560 hours of work, plus 3 units of graded credit for the accompanying course, for participation in a UCDC externship. For any other full-time externship, a student shall earn 10 credit/no credit units for a minimum of 560 hours of work, plus 3 graded independent study units for a portfolio or writing project. The parameters of the project must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor.
A student desiring to participate in a full-time externship must obtain preliminary approval from the Assistant Dean for Student Services before contacting a potential placement. The student must also meet with the Director of Externships to discuss the nature and adequacy of the experience available at the placement. Only if preliminary approval of the placement is granted by both the Assistant Dean for Student Services and the Director of Externships may a student seeking a full-time externship apply to placements. The student must also identify and secure a faculty advisor on the UCI School of Law faculty to supervise the 3 units of independent study that accompanies the externship. Once a placement is obtained, the student must complete the required application forms. The Assistant Dean for Student Services, in conjunction with the Director of Externships, will then decide whether to give final approval for 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.
D. 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 during the 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). Students who enroll in a second externship during the summer must participate in the academic component of the course as do other summer externs and will earn 4 credits (only) for a minimum of 168 hours of work.
1 ABA Interpretation 305-2: 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.