Judicial Externship FAQ

What is a judicial externship?

Judicial externships involve working in the chambers of a state or federal judge in exchange for unit credit at Loyola. Externs perform such tasks as file evaluation, legal research, or preparation of memoranda. Judicial externships are graded “pass” or “fail.”

What courts are available and what time commitments are required?

During the academic year, the state Superior Courts and Appellate Courts will accept part-time externs (2-3 days per week) and full-time externs. The United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will only accept full-time externs. Most federal Central District courts require full-time externs, but some will accept part-time (3 days per week) externs. Federal Bankruptcy Courts and federal Magistrate courts will accept part-time externs (2-3 days per week) and full-time externs. During the summer session, most judges prefer full time students for 8-10 weeks. Some state court judges will accept part-time summer session externs. Remember, during the summer session all units must be paid for independently of academic year tuition.

What are the judicial externship eligibility requirements?

Students who have completed the first year of day or evening studies in good academic standing (a GPA of 2.33 or higher) are eligible for a part-time judicial externship (6 or fewer units). Students who have completed three semesters of day or evening studies and have a GPA of 3.33 or higher are eligible for a full-time externship (7-10 units) so long as a full time externship does not conflict with required curriculum (see below). Students on academic probation are not eligible for an externship.

How many hours are involved for each unit?

Each externship unit requires 52 verified hours of supervised legal services. Hours must be completed within the semester of enrollment.

In addition to completing my hours, are there other course requirements?

Yes, you will be completing and submitting daily activity journals for each day you work, you’ll be completing and submitting monthly time sheets signed by your supervisor, you’ll be completing and submitting a few other assignments such as establishing your goals and finding out about the confidentiality policy of your placement. You will evaluate your placement and your placement will evaluate you.

How do I start the process of looking for a judicial externship?

Start early!  Use this chart for reference:

For the fall semester- Apply in March of the spring semester

For the spring semester - Apply during the first week of classes in August or earlier

For the summer session - Upper division students should apply in October of the fall semester
*First year students may not apply until December 1 of the fall semester

The process starts with this 5 step procedure:

  1. Review the Judicial Handbook posted to the Externship website for comprehensive information. 
  2. Contact the Faculty Director if you have questions about different judges, time commitments and different courts that might be appropriate for you. Have a draft of your cover letter ready at that appointment. Have your resume in top shape and filed with the Career Services office.
  3. File an application with your resume with the Externship Department, Founders Hall 240, when you start looking for a judicial externship. You will be screened for eligibility then.
  4. Send out your applications to the judges you have selected. An application consists of a cover letter, your resume, a brief sample of written legal work, and often an internet copy of your transcript. Your application should be sent as a formal hard copy unless otherwise requested. Your cover letter will request an interview. Samples of cover letters are available in the Judicial Handbook posted to the Externship website.
  5. If you get an interview (see the Judicial Handbook for interview tips), get an offer and accept it, contact the Assistant to the Administrator in the Externship Office. You can only enroll through the Externship Department – you will not be allowed to enroll through the SWS system.

What if an externship conflicts with required second year curriculum?

Students may not enroll in an externship if it conflicts with required second year courses such as Evidence or Ethical Lawyering. Second year students in most cases are not advised to seek or enroll in a full-time judicial externship in the fall semester of the second year of studies unless they are concurrently enrolled in evidence and have discussed a commitment of 10 units in advance with the Faculty Externship Director. Students receive no priority in registration if a proposed externship conflicts with required curriculum.

Is a concurrent class required for judicial externs?

All off campus externs must attend a mandatory class at the beginning of the semester on “Ethics, Professionalism and Course Requirements.” The Faculty Externship Director reserves the right to refuse to enroll students who do not attend the mandatory class. Full-time judicial externs (7-10) units must participate in a judicial seminar or online tutorial course taught by the Faculty Externship Director.

What happens if I haven’t confirmed a judicial externship by the time class registration starts?

No problem. All students seeking an externship should enroll for a full slate of classes. If you accept an externship, the Externship Department will assist you to drop the classes you wish to drop and enroll in your externship.

What is the difference between state and federal courts?

In general, federal courts require a greater time commitment; most prefer full-time externs, although bankruptcy and magistrate courts will accept part-time externs. Federal courts are courts of more limited jurisdiction, and contact is often more frequent with post-graduate clerks than with the judge. In general, state courts are courts of broader jurisdiction and offer more daily and direct contact with the judge. Most downtown Los Angeles state courts arrange parking for externs, while federal courts do not.

Can I apply for a judicial externship independently of the law school?

You must apply through the externship department to receive academic credit. The application and resume must be timely and you must be eligible. Applicants failing to follow policies and procedure may be prohibited from enrolling in the externship. This policy is designed to ensure that applicants are aware of Law School requirements and/or judicial chambers’ requirements prior to application.

What if I am offered a position in judicial chambers before all of my interviews are completed?

Accept it, unless you can figure out a tactful way to tell a judge that you are waiting for something you perceive to be better to come along (we have no suggestions for you here). Never accept a position and decline it to accept another. Judges are highly visible members of the legal community and communicate often with each other and members of the bar. They will not view your fickleness as a reputable trait. One judge complained to the Dean when a student accepted an offer and then discourteously declined it for another offer. If the judge or the clerks are impressed with you, you may be offered a position on the spot. Be prepared for that possibility, and be prepared to accept the position. Your tact and manners are critical to your reputation and that of the Law School. Try to schedule your interviews in the order of your preference at the outset.

What happens after I accept an offer?

Congratulations. Follow up the acceptance with a letter to chambers thanking them and letting them know when you will begin. You should graciously decline further interviews immediately.  Next, download a “Contact Sheet” from the Externship Department web site menu tab New Applicant Forms. Complete that form and bring it to the Externship Department. We are the only office that can provide you with a course enrollment number, and we will do so as soon as you furnish us with a completed “Contact Sheet.”