Externship Programs

The Externship Program allows eligible upper-division law students to receive academic credit for externships they secure with established law firms, corporate legal departments, non-profit organizations, government agencies, or judges. Through the Externship Program, students receive practical, hands-on experience as part of their school education. Students enroll and participate in civil, criminal, or judicial externship course while simultaneously learning in the field at their placement.

Application Process

To apply for an externship, you must do the following:

  1. Secure a placement first.
  2. Fill out the Student Application by the deadline, which is December 9, 2019 for spring semester 2020.
  3. The Externship Programs Office will review your application and send a tentative approval if appropriate. Then, the Externship Programs Office will contact your supervisor with the information you provided and request your supervisor fill out their portion of the application, Bay Area Consortium on Externships (BACE) Site Supervisor Agreement.
  4. If your employer has not hosted a USF student before, your employer must complete the Request for Approval of Agency for Civil/Criminal Law Externship Program, which can be found at the end of the Bay Area Consortium on Externships (BACE) Site Supervisor Agreement (linked above).  Any tentative approval is contingent upon your employer being approved. This is not applicable for judicial externs.
  5. If you are requesting to extern at a placement where you have already worked, interned, volunteered, or externed, you will need to complete the Petition for Repeat Civil/Criminal Law Externship, which is included at the end of the Student Application. Your supervisor will also be requested to answer a question regarding your request, which will be emailed separately to your supervisor.

If you have questions, come by the Externship Programs Office in Kendrick Hall 339. You may also email us at externships@usfca.edu.

Information packets (same information found here) are also hanging outside of Kendrick Hall 339 in a plastic black tray and are available when the office is closed.

Acceptance and Registration Process

After your externship application is submitted, the Externship Programs Office reviews your application, and gives a tentative approval, denial, or asks you to supplement your application.

After review, the Externship Programs Office will send you an email notification, letting you know whether you have been tentatively accepted into the program.

After tentative approval, the Externship Programs Office will contact your supervisor with the information you provided and request your supervisor fill out their portion of the application, Bay Area Consortium on Externships (BACE) Site Supervisor Agreement.

After receiving an acceptance email, students must come to the Externship Programs Office to receive the CRN in order to register for their externship and have a brief meeting with the Program Assistant.

Students will likely not know whether their application has been approved at the time of registration. Accordingly, students should register for classes as if they were not taking an externship course. After acceptance into the program, students can add the externship course during the add/drop period.

Student Eligibility

Students who participate in the Externship Program must meet three requirements:

  1. Students must have completed the requisite number of semesters;
  2. Students must be in good academic standing; and,
  3. Students must have the requisite minimum GPA.

See the following sections for details:

Semesters Completed

Civil and Criminal Externs seeking to extern part-time (2 (summer only), 3, 4, or 5 units) or half-time (6, 7, 8, or 9 units)

  Eligible Semesters
Full-time students Beginning in summer semester after 1L
Part-time students Beginning in spring of their second year
Part-time students who covert to full-time status after their first year Beginning in spring of their second year

Civil and Criminal Externs seeking to extern full-time (10, 11, 12, or 13 units)

  Eligible Semesters
Full-time students During their last 3 semesters of law school
Part-time students Beginning in spring of their second year
Part-time students who covert to full-time status after their first year During their last 3 semesters of law school

Judicial Externs

  Eligible Semesters
Full-time students During their last 3 semesters of law school
Part-time students During their 3rd and 4th year

1Ls may not participate in the Externship Program during the fall and spring semesters.

JD/MBA students enrolled in their exclusive year in the business school may not enroll or participate in the Externship Program. Additionally, JD/MBA students must be vigilant of the out-of-classroom unit policy because their 12 crossover units from the MBA program are considered non-classroom units according to the ABA.

Students who wish to extern in the summer have additional considerations. See: "Can I extern during the summer?" in the FAQ.

Academic Standing

All students must in good academic standing at the time they apply for the program and at the time they begin their externship.

GPA

Civil and Criminal GPA Requirements:

Number of Academic Credits Minimum GPA
Full-time externs (10, 11, 12, or 13 units) 2.70
Half-time externs (6, 7, 8, or 9 units) 2.60
Part-time externs (2 (summer only), 3, 4, or 5 units)

2.60 (2Ls in summer and fall)
2.40 (2Ls in spring)
2.30 (3Ls summer, fall, and spring)

Judicial Extern GPA Requirements:

Number of Academic Credits Minimum GPA
Full-time externs (10, 11, 12, or 13 units) 3.00
Half-time externs (6, 7, 8, or 9 units) 2.70
Part-time externs (2 (summer only), 3, 4, or 5 units) 2.60

Academic Units and Required Fieldwork Hours

Below are the possible number of units that students may register for and their corresponding fieldwork hours. Please note that because the summer session is much shorter than the fall/spring semesters, only the 2 (summer session only), 3, 4, and 5-unit options are available in the summer.

*Unavailable during summer session.

Full-Time Externship

  • 13 units = 585 hours → 42+ hours/week *
  • 12 units = 540 hours → 39+ hours/week *
  • 11 units = 495 hours → 35+ hours/week *
  • 10 units = 450 hours → 32+ hours/week *

Half-Time Externship

  • 9 units = 405 hours → 29+ hours/week *
  • 8 units = 360 hours → 26+ hours/week *
  • 7 units = 315 hours → 23+ hours/week *
  • 6 units = 270 hours → 19+ hours/week *

Part-Time Externship

  • 5 units = 225 hours → 16+ hours/week during fall/spring or 32+ hours/week during summer
  • 4 units = 180 hours → 13+ hours/week during fall/spring or 26+ hours/week during summer
  • 3 units = 135 hours → 10+ hours a week during fall/spring or 19+ hours/week during summer
  • 2 units = 90 hours → 13+ hours a week during summer session only (unavailable during fall and spring semesters)

Guidelines Regarding Externship Hours

  • Timing of Externship Placement
    • Commencement of Placement: Students must begin their fieldwork by the third week of the semester during the fall and spring semesters.
    • Semester Length: Summer semesters are about 7 weeks. Fall/Spring semesters are 14-15 weeks.
  • Distribution of Placement Hours
    • Commencement of Placement: Students must begin their fieldwork by the third week of the semester during the fall and spring semesters.
    • Even Distribution of Hours: Students’ work hours should be spread out relatively evenly over the semester. Students cannot frontload hours.
    • Correspondence Between Hours and Credit: Students’ work hours should correspond to the units received to the extent possible. ABA guidelines states, “credit shall be commensurate with the time and effort required.”
    • Length of Externship: In fall and spring semesters, students who enroll in part-time or half-time externship units must work at least 13 weeks but no more than 15 weeks. Students enrolled in full-time externships must work at least 14 weeks.
  • No Retroactive Credit
    • Students must apply and be accepted into the Externship Program before commencing their externship. Students cannot receive credit for work already performed.
  • Calculating Time
    • When students attend orientation, students will receive instruction about what activities are counted toward their required hours. For example, students may not include lunch and time spent completing class assignments in their calculation of total hours worked.
  • Non-Classroom Credit Hours
    • Total Units:
      • For those who began their law study Fall 2018 and after: 87 total units.
      • For those who began their law study Fall 2017 and prior: 84 total units.
      • CLASSROOM UNITS: Complete at least 65 units (64 for those who began law study in Fall 2017) in regularly scheduled law school classroom courses (non-classroom courses include Directed Research, Moot Court, clinical and externship courses or programs, and certain co-curricular programs for which academic credit is awarded, such as advocacy competitions, ASP Program Tutor, Maritime Law Journal, and USF Law Review). To be sure you are on-track for graduation, please reach out to the Registrar.
    • Limitation on Types of Non-Classroom Units Allowed in One Semester:
      • Although you may take advantage of all of these programs during the course of your law school education, you can take only one in-house clinic, civil/criminal law or judicial externship, or Street Law, in any given semester.
    • Concurrent Enrollment in Other Classes for Full-Time Externs:
      • Full-time civil/criminal externs who are full-time students may enroll in units in addition to the externship for a maximum total of 16 units for the semester, subject to the policies above.

Mandatory Class Attendance Policy

Class attendance is mandatory. If you cannot attend class, you cannot participate in the externship program this semester.

Students enrolled in an externship must attend all corresponding class meetings. Students who fail to attend the first class will result in disqualification from the Externship Program that semester. Failure to attend subsequent classes and complete assignments on time risk receiving a grade of Credit-Unsatisfactory or No-Credit. Please note that fieldwork at the externship is not an acceptable reason to miss classes. Students must notify their supervisors about the classes and plan accordingly.

Students enrolled in an externship outside of the Bay Area are not required to attend all civil/criminal classes. Students will be required to attend an orientation and meetings with the Director and Assistant Professor of the Externship Programs and complete externship coursework, which will vary by class.

The judicial externship class holds one day-long class. For spring semester 2020, this class will be held on Saturday, January 11, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. If you cannot attend the orientation, you cannot participate in the externship program this semester.

The civil externship class is held three times during the semester. For spring 2020, the civil class will be held on January 10, 2020 from 1 to 3:30 p.m., February 21, 2020 from 1 to 2:50 p.m., and March 13, 2020 from 1 to 2:50 p.m. If you cannot attend all classes, you should not participate in the externship program this semester.

The criminal externship class is held four times during the semester. For spring 2020, the criminal class will be held on January 17, 2020 from 1 to 3:30 p.m., February 7, 2020 from 1 to 2:50 p.m., and March 13, 2020 from 1 to 2:50 p.m., and April 3, 2020 from 1 to 2:50 p.m. If you cannot attend all classes, you should not participate in the externship program this semester.

Grading

Grading for the Civil/Criminal Law Externship Program is awarded on a Credit (CR)/ Credit-Unsatisfactory (CU)/ No Credit (NC) basis. Grading is based on class attendance and submission of assignments, including—but not limited to—timesheets, reflections, and supervisor evaluations.

Criminal and Civil Placements: Obtaining an Externship Placement

ASSISTANCE FROM THE OFFICE OF CAREER SERVICES:

Students are responsible for making the initial contact with the agency/office/firm and securing the externship. The search for an externship is similar to any other job search process, and the List of Prior Externships serves as a helpful starting point. During this search, students are strongly advised to meet with a Career Services Director to discuss practice area interests and employers and review submission materials, including cover letters, resumes, references, and writing sample format. Located in Room 335, the Office of Career Planning can be reached at (415) 422-6757 or at lawcareer@usfca.edu.

ELIGIBLE EMPLOYERS (Civil and Criminal Placements)

Supervisor Eligibility

The externship must offer students substantial professional experience in a variety of tasks similar to those which a practicing attorney would perform with the agency or office. * Participating in an externship should give students a broader perspective of the legal system and law practice.

  • The office or agency where the externship takes place must assign a supervising attorney to oversee the student’s fieldwork and provide the Law School with evaluation reports; and
  • All supervising attorneys must have been admitted to a state Bar for at least two years and be in good standing with the Bar.

Previously Approved Employers

For a list of pre-approved externship employers, please see our List of Prior Externships page.

If you seek credit for an externship at a legal employer that is not on the attached List of Prior Externships, that employer must complete a Request for Approval of Agency for Civil/Criminal Law Externship Program, which is attached to this packet.

Approved Status of Employers/Site Visits

The Director and Assistant Professor of the Externship Programs will conduct periodic site visits of certain externships in compliance with ABA Standards. The Director will meet with supervisors to discuss the employer’s externship program (as well as the student’s performance) to evaluate the employer’s suitability for future externships. Depending on these visits and communications, please note that the Law School has full discretion to disapprove or inactivate an employer from participating in the Programs for any period of time.

Student Evaluations of Prior Externships

Student evaluations of past externships are on www.USFLawLink.com. Please see the following instructions on how to view these student evaluations:

  • Once logged in, click on the “Resources” tab.
  • Once on the Resources page, search using the “Type” field for the externship you are interested in (i.e. Student Externship Evaluation – Criminal Law, Student Externship Evaluation – Civil Law).
  • Please note that if you have a particular legal employer or court in mind, you may type in the name of the legal employer or court in the “Keywords” search field.

Ineligible Externships

The following internship experiences are not eligible for academic credit:

  • A student may not receive academic credit for work previously performed or completed during a prior semester. Academic credit must be arranged at the outset of the student’s work for the agency/office/firm.
  • A student may not earn credit for work performed at a family or relative’s (including spouse’s/domestic partner’s) office/agency/firm.
  • A student may not earn credit for a repeat internship/position unless the experience provides a qualitatively different or substantially more rigorous learning experience. See repeat externship section for further explanation.

*Bar Certification: Some externships may provide students with an opportunity to make court appearances under attorney supervision. To be able to do this, students must apply for Certification under the Practical Training of Law Students Program of the State Bar of California. Complete and submit the application as soon as possible, as processing by the State Bar may take several weeks. Applications are available in the Registrar’s Office and on the State Bar of California’s website. Keyword search “Practical Training of Law Students Program.”

Judicial Externs: Obtaining an Externship Placement

ELIGIBLE COURTS For Judicial Externs

Students are only permitted to extern for 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 or 13 units in federal courts (Ninth Circuit, Northern District, including the Bankruptcy Judges), the California Supreme Court, the California Courts of Appeal, as well as with Administrative Law Judges. Externships for 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 units are not permitted in California Superior Courts.

Students externing for 2 (summer session only), 3, 4, 5, or 6 units are permitted to extern in federal courts (Ninth Circuit, Northern District, including the Bankruptcy Judges), the California Supreme Court, the California Courts of Appeal and California Superior Courts, as well as with Administrative Law Judges. Please note that during the summer session, only the 2 (summer session only), 3, 4, and 5-unit options are available.

Student Evaluations of Prior Externships

Student evaluations of past externships are on www.USFLawLink.com. Please see the following instructions on how to view these student evaluations:

  • Once logged in, click on the “Resources” tab.
  • Once on the Resources page, search using the “Type” field for the externship you are interested in (i.e. Student Externship Evaluation – Judicial Externship).
  • Please note that if you have a particular court in mind, you may type in the name of the court in the “Keywords” search field.

APPLYING TO THE COURTS

Please see the list of prior judges and courts who have accepted USF externs in the past. Externships are NOT limited to this list. Rather, the purpose of the list is to give you an idea of where you might consider applying.

Prior to submitting applications to courts or the Externship Programs Office, students are advised to meet with a Director from the Office of Career Services to cover the following:

  • Discuss the different judicial externship experiences possible depending on the type of court and where to locate these opportunities;
  • Review cover letters and resumes; and,
  • Discuss how to prepare a writing sample.

Located in Kendrick Hall, Room 335, the OCS can be reached at (415) 422-6757 or at lawcareer@usfca.edu.

Addressing a court in a cover letter is different than addressing other legal employers. OCS has written guidelines, which include sample cover letters. The OCS guidelines also include sources to locate court opportunities and judicial profiles.

Application materials for federal and appellate courts usually include a cover letter, writing sample, transcript, and references. Some superior courts may not require a transcript at the outset. Please see Individual Judge Application Details in the LawLink Document Library for information regarding the appropriate procedure and materials for applying to past judicial externship placements. Note, the information may not always be current.

If you receive an externship offer from a court, you should respond to the offer within a day or two of receipt. You are strongly encouraged to accept the first offer received unless you feel uncomfortable doing so. For this reason, you may consider staggering the mailing of your applications based on the order of interest in these courts.

The courts have yet to agree upon uniform deadlines for accepting applications, and judges are free to hire whenever they choose, so anything that delays your application can make a difference. The Externship Programs Office recommends that you apply to the courts at least 2-3 months in advance of the semester of the externship at a superior court, and at least 3-6 months for an externship with a federal court or appellate court.

Repeat Externship Policy

Fieldwork for Employers Where You Have Previously Volunteered or Worked:

A student seeking course credit for an externship with the same agency, office, or firm for which a student has previously worked (whether volunteer, paid, work-study, or extern) for substantial periods of time must obtain approval from the Director and Assistant Professor of the Externship Programs according to the following guidelines:

  1. A student may not enroll in an externship program with the same mentor or at the same site at which the student has been placed as an extern, had an employment relationship, or has worked as a volunteer unless the placement will provide a qualitatively different or substantially more rigorous learning experience than the student previously experienced.
  2. A student may receive externship credit for no more than two semesters at the same placement.
  3. A student may receive up to 9 credits during their second semester at the same placement.

Prior to approval of the student’s application, the Director and Assistant Professor of the Externship Programs will have a one-on-one conversation with the supervising attorney to ensure the student’s experience will be a qualitatively different or substantially more rigorous learning experience.

PLEASE NOTE: The Externship Programs Office has the discretion to deny a student’s application to participate/enroll in the Externship Program again, based on the student’s performance in the previous semester.

Students must complete the Petition for Repeat Civil/Criminal Law Externship and turn it into the Externship Office by the application deadline, which is December 9, 2019 for spring semester 2020.

FAQs

An externship is an internship where you receive course credit. During an externship, you will complete an academic component, including class assignments and class attendance, in addition to the work you do at your placement.

See Student Eligibility section earlier on this page.

No. The Externship Programs Office does not place students in external placements.

However, the Externship Programs Office, along with the Office of Career Services (OCS) can help students learn of employers who are looking for externs, help students by providing reviews of students who have previously externed at a placement, and offer general information about what type of placements may be suitable to a student’s skill set and interest.

You must be supervised by a licensed attorney who has been admitted to the Bar for at least two years and is in good standing with the Bar.

Please note: A student may not earn credit for work performed at a family or relative’s (including spouse’s/domestic partner’s) office/agency/firm.

See Application Process section earlier on this page.

You can turn in your application in one of three ways:

Applications for spring semester 2020 are due by December 9, 2019.

Adhering to these deadlines allows enough time for all applications to be reviewed for approval in time for the Law School’s registration deadlines.

No. Please do not ask the Externship Programs Office to make an exception if you missed the application deadline.

If the application deadline is fast approaching, and you are having difficulty completing your application, please contact the Externship Programs Office BEFORE the application deadline.

Telephone: (415) 422-4467
Email: nrkatz2@usfca.edu
Physical Location: Kendrick Hall, Room 339

The Externship Programs teach students professionalism, which includes responsibility, timeliness, and attention to detail, including deadlines. As part of this Program, it is important students comply with deadlines.

Adhering to these deadlines allows enough time for all applications to be reviewed for approval in time for the Law School’s registration deadlines.

If you have found an employer, and your employer is not completing the forms, please contact the Externship Programs Office:

Telephone: (415) 422-4467
Email: nrkatz2@usfca.edu
Physical Location: Kendrick Hall, Room 339

See Acceptance and Registration Process section earlier on the page.

No. An externship is an internship with an academic component. In accredited law schools, students must simultaneously complete the academic component while externing at an outside placement in order to receive credits. No retroactive credit is permitted.

The number of units you may receive depends on the numbers of hours you work at your externship.

See Academic Units and Required Fieldwork Hours section above.

No. Class is mandatory and attendance is required.

If a student fails to attend the orientation class (or first class), a student will be automatically dropped from the course. All classes are mandatory.

Please see our list of prior externship placements.

Please see the financial aid office.

Yes.

If you are interested in receiving credit for a summer externship, here are some considerations:

  1. Summer externships are treated like any other summer school course. You must register for the externship at the beginning of the summer and you must pay for tuition for each unit.
  2. The unit options during the summer session are 2 (summer session only), 3, 4 and 5 units.
  3. Please see Financial Aid Office for more details about submitting your Intent to Enroll.
  4. The last day to register for summer school is usually the first week of June. See Course Schedule for official date.
  5. Full-time students must still pay tuition for subsequent semesters at the School of Law. Thus, if you are a full-time student, it may not make financial sense for you to get course credit for summer work. Instead, you might consider performing the work on a volunteer basis. You will still obtain valuable experience while avoiding an increase to your overall costs/debt burden. For further information, please see the Financial Aid Office.
  6. Only students externing during the summer for 3 or more units are eligible for financial aid. For further information, please see the Financial Aid Office.
  7. All rules about student eligibility, academic standing, course credit, hours of work required, pre-requisites and co-requisites still apply.

Students with visas should consult with the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) regarding any off-campus work authorizations.

Telephone: (415) 422-2654
 

The policies and requirements are intended to ensure a high-quality experience for students working under the supervision of experienced practitioners.

Policies and procedures are found on this page.

No. You can take only one in-house clinic, civil/criminal law or judicial externship, or Street Law, in any given semester.

See Repeat Externship Policy section above.

Please call the Externship Programs Office at (415) 422-4467 or email Nora Katz at nrkatz2@usfca.edu or stop by the Externship Programs Office in room 339 of Kendrick Hall.