What Is An Externship?

An off-campus externship is an academic opportunity to experience the day-to-day operation of various legal institutions, including public interest organizations, government offices, and federal and state courts. You may participate in an externship for units or for no units.  If you choose to earn units for your externship, you must work with Loyola’s Field Placements Department to register for the units and comply with the policies and procedures established by the Field Placements Department, some of which are described below.

Part-time externships range from 2-6 units, and require a minimum GPA of 2.33.  Full-time judicial externships (7 to 10 units) are available to students with a verified GPA of 3.33 or higher. Loyola has Summer Session externships, although all summer externships require payment for each unit.  Externs are usually involved in all aspects of a placement's practice, such as legal research, writing, client contact and development of practical skills, including courtroom-type experience, if applicable. 

The Field Placements Department is located in Founders Hall 227.      

  • What externship opportunities are available?

    The Field Placements Department has a wide range of placements, including judicial chambers, government agencies and public interest law firms.  Detailed referral lists with contact information and current field placements openings/postings can be located in the Symplicity for all Field Placements Opportunities. 

    Loyola also offers externships at non-profit organizations sponsored by the Law School such as the Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution, the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy, the Youth Justice Education Clinic, the Juvenile Innocence & Fair Sentencing Clinic, the Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic, the Loyola Project for the Innocent, the State Income Tax Clinic, and the Sales & Use Tax Clinic .  If you are interested in those agencies, contact them directly by following the links provided.  

  • Who is eligible to participate in the Externship Program?

    Students who have completed a minimum of 28 units of law school course work in day or evening studies in good academic standing are eligible. Students on academic probation may not enroll in an externship. Academic probation involves a GPA below 2.33. Of the 87 units needed to graduate, 20 units may be ungraded and 14 of the 20 units may be externship units, whether graded or ungraded.

  • How many hours are required for each unit?

    Each externship unit requires 52 hours of legal services performed under the supervision of a licensed attorney. Hours must be completed within the semester or summer session of enrollment. Summer externship work schedules are flexible within reason.

  • How do I begin looking for an externship?

    Detailed referral lists with contact information for public entities and other organizations that accept externs and current externships openings/postings can be located on the Field Placements Department web page, by clicking on the link for “Field Placements Opportunities.”  If you are interested in a judicial externship, click on the menu tab “Handbook for Judicial Externs." Start early to plan and apply for any of these opportunities. 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.

    Prepare a cover letter (a sample cover letter is posted on the Field Placements Department website), polish your resume, and polish a brief (about 10 pages) sample of your legal writing. Some placements may require a transcript; if so, an internet copy is acceptable.  Make an appointment in career services with your assigned counselor to review your cover letter and resume.

    Some placements allow e-mail applications, but if the placement does not state a preference for delivery, then send your cover letter requesting an interview and your supporting documentation directly by U.S. mail to your placement of interest.  At the same time, complete an application form (Field Placements Application Forms on Field Placements webpage) attach your resume, and file it in the Field Placements Department, Founders 227, to reserve your place in the course. Please note any Field Placements Department application deadlines in the sidebar of the Field Placements Department home page.  Field Placements need not be confirmed by the application deadline, but the application itself must be filed by the deadline.

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

    Yes, you will be preparing daily activity journal entries and submitting them twice a month. You will be preparing and submitting time sheets signed by your supervising attorney once per month. You will also be preparing a few other assignments such as establishing your goals and finding out the about the confidentiality policy of your placement. You will evaluate your placement and your placement will evaluate you.

    If you are enrolled in a full time field placements (7-10 units) you will also be required to participate in the on-line Judicial Process Course.  This course is self-paced, but requires that you read a number of articles (the links to which will be provided) about the role and work of the judiciary, and that you prepare five short written assignments which reflect on the readings. 

  • Can I apply for an externship independently of the Externship Department?

    If you plan to do an externship for no units you are free to apply for an externship independently from the Field Placements Department.  If you plan to receive units for the externship then you must apply for pre-approved off campus externships in government agencies, judicial chambers and public interest law firms through the Field Placements Department.  Enrollment may be prohibited for those students failing to follow application procedures or obtain advance approval.  

  • How do I get enrolled and receive credit for my externship units?

    Once you have filed a timely application and resume and have accepted an offer, go to the Field Placements Department website and download a “Contact Sheet” for your placement. When you file a completed “Contact Sheet” with the Field Placements Department Administrative Assistant, she will assist you to get enrolled. The Field Placements Department is the only office that can provide you with your CRN for enrollment.  You must also complete the other course requirements which include attending mandatory meetings, completing required hours, preparing and submitting activity journals, reflection assignments, time sheets, and preparing and submitting required evaluations.  All required documents must be submitted in a timely fashion in the appropriate drop boxes on the TWEN page for the Off-Campus Field Placements Course.  Off-campus field placements are graded “pass" or "fail."

  • Can I satisfy my public interest graduation requirement with an externship?

    Yes.  Students completing at least two units in an approved public interest field placement automatically complete the public interest graduation requirement at the same time.

  • What if a proposed externship conflicts with required second year classes?

    You may not enroll in an field placement if it conflicts with required second year courses such as Evidence or Ethical Lawyering.  Second year students are counseled against accepting a field placement in the fall semester of the second year if the field placements conflicts with any required curriculum.  Students will receive no priority in registration if proposed field placements conflict with required curriculum.

  • Can I enroll in an externship for a private law firm?

    Yes, if you identify a private law firm with an attorney willing to supervise you, you may be permitted to enroll for units.  Information about private placement externships can be obtained from Adjunct Professor Grace Nguyen (Grace.Nguyen@lls.edu), in the Private Field Placements Office in Founders Hall 230. 

  • Is there a classroom component for externships?

    All externs must attend a mandatory class at the beginning of the semester on “Ethics, Professionalism and Course Requirements.” The Externship Director reserves the right to refuse to enroll students who do not attend the mandatory class. If you are enrolled in a full time externship (7-10 units) you will also be required to participate in the on-line Judicial Process Course. This course is self-paced, but requires that you read a number of articles (the links to which will be provided) about the role and work of the judiciary, and that you prepare five short written assignments which reflect on the readings.