Drafted, June, 1990; Adopted by faculty, October, 1990
Revised, Sept. 1993; Re-adopted by faculty, October, 1993
Revised, May, 1995; Re-adopted by faculty, May, 1995
Revised, April 1998; Re-adopted by faculty, June, 1998
Revised, November, 2005; re-adopted by faculty, Feb., 2006
Revised, April, 2011; re-adopted by faculty, April, 2011
Revised, April, 2012; re-adopted by faculty, April 2012
Revised, September, 2013; re-adopted by faculty, October 2013
Revised, May, 2015; re-adopted by faculty, May 2015
LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL
FIELD PLACEMENT PROGRAM POLICY STATEMENT
(American Bar Association Standard 305: Study Outside The Classroom)
FIELD PLACEMENT PROGRAM OVERVIEW
One of the hallmarks of Loyola Law School is its longstanding commitment to teaching the practical as well as the theoretical. This philosophy is reflected in many of the school's courses devoted to the teaching of lawyering skills, legal writing, and clinical and externship training.
Loyola's field placement programs are an important facet of that diversity coupled with on-campus clinical programs and a wide variety of practicum courses that offer students the opportunity to experience the attorney-client relationship, to observe and participate in the actual operation of legal institutions, and to develop or refine the lawyering skills they will use as future attorneys.
The law school Field Placement and Policy Statement is revised periodically and reviewed by the faculty to ensure that the law school and the faculty exercise their responsibilities in the implementation and administration of externship programs.
The Law School has several externship field placement programs all of which are administered, implemented and supervised by law school faculty:
- The off campus field placement program in judicial chambers, government agencies and public interest law firms;
- Placements in entertainment companies and law offices as a field component of the Entertainment Law Practicum;
- Placements in private law firms (Semester in Practice and the Private Law Firm Placement Program);
- Field placements in public interest firms after a semester of classroom instruction (Civil Rights Litigation Program);
- Field placements in public interest immigration firms after a semester of classroom instruction (Immigrant Justice Program) and
- Field placements in the Office of the District Attorney after a semester of classroom instruction (Hobbs DA Program).
The largest component of the Loyola’s study outside the classroom program is the program that places students in judicial chambers, government agencies, and public interest law firms. To implement and administer this program, Loyola Law School employs a full-time Faculty Field Placement Director, a full-time Public Interest Faculty Director, a full-time Field Placement Administrative Assistant, and a full-time Public Interest Administrative Assistant. The two full-time faculty members are primarily responsible for externship supervision, with additional part time faculty support from time to time. Loyola has developed a list of approved agencies and institutions in which it regularly places students. These approved agencies are generally shared agencies with other Los Angeles area ABA-accredited law schools, who have formed a consortium known as SoCalEx (Southern California Externships ). Loyola and SoCalEx shared placement approved opportunities have continually demonstrated, over the years, a commitment to providing educational opportunities for Loyola students. Only approved agencies which are not student-initiated are authorized for externship placements. The law school prepares and revises as appropriate a detailed document entitled "Field Placement Policies and Procedures" setting forth the responsibilities of externs and supervising attorneys. The document shall be provided to each extern at the beginning of the externship semester and shall be provided to each supervising attorney at the beginning of the field placement semester.
In the off-campus field placement program, Loyola allows full-time (7-10 units) and part-time (six or fewer units) placements. Full-time placements are only authorized in federal court. Full-time judicial externs must complete the first year of studies, have a minimum verified GPA of 3.33, and must participate in a regular tutorial or guided reflection concurrent course with the Faculty Field Placement Director. The Field Placement Director performs and documents a site visit for each full-time judicial extern. "To be eligible to participate in a field placement for law school units, all students must have a minimum GPA (2.33 for a part-time field placement and 3.33 for a full time field placement) and have completed a minimum of 28 units prior to the start of the externship. All off campus externs must complete a mandatory course on “Ethics, Professionalism and Course Requirements” taught by the Faculty Field Placement Director.
The other off campus field placement programs (programs 2-6) all have similar components to the field placement program in judicial chambers, government agencies and public interest law firms. These components are:
- All students are supervised by Loyola faculty during their tenure in the field;
- All off-campus field placements, whether judicial, public or private, are graded either “pass” or “fail”.
- All externs in all programs attend mandatory training and orientation meetings with supervising faculty to discuss ethics, professionalism and course requirements with students.
- Externship enrollment numbers are set according to limitations established by the faculty from time to time in order to ensure adequate full-time faculty supervision of or field placement externs. All field placement programs are reviewed and evaluated periodically by Deans and faculty.
- All field placement students must complete reporting requirements to receive a grade of "pass." Each extern must document 52 hours of supervised legal services per credit hour and describe daily tasks by breaking them down into discrete events, including each meeting with a supervising attorney. Documented hours and tasks must be verified by the supervising attorney. Externs must submit samples of written work prepared during the externship which demonstrates legal research, legal writing and analysis, and the application of legal principles. Written work must be critiqued in writing by supervisors.
- Faculty supervisors engage all externs on a regular basis throughout the semester in a critical evaluation of the student's performance through mandatory classroom meetings, informal discussions, careful review of written work, activity journaling, guided reflection assignments and telephone and e-mail contact. Field instructors are engaged regularly as well, through telephone contact, site visits, evaluation through a comprehensive SoCalEx supervisor data base, evaluation at regular SoCalEx meetings, visits on campus for extern recruitment, and visits on campus for recognition for outstanding supervision and participation. All off-campus field supervisors receive a copy of jointly adopted (by all SoCalEx member schools) field supervision standards each time a student in placed under supervision.
- Field placement externs prepare an evaluation of the placement and the supervising attorney prepares an evaluation of the extern.
EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES OF OFF-CAMPUS EXTERNSHIP PLACEMENTS
The faculty recognizes that operation of off-campus placement programs relies upon the placement supervisors to supply part of the legal education for Loyola students in conjunction with supervising law school faculty. The concern is far less for the on-campus clinical opportunities at the Disability Rights Legal Center, the Education Advocacy Project, the Center for Conflict Resolution, The Center for Juvenile Law and Policy and the Homebase Immigration Clinic since students are supervised by Loyola faculty and adjunct faculty only. To assist off campus placement supervisors in fulfilling their role in this part of the educational process the faculty has established a list of educational objectives for all off campus placements and provides these objective to each field placement supervising attorney or judge when each placement is confirmed.
These objectives are:
1. To encourage the further development of student research, writing and drafting skills through work on legal documents such as complaints, answers, trial and appellate briefs, agreements, legal memoranda, motions, opinion letters, and /or bench briefs;
2. To expose students to lawyering skills through participation in activities such as interviewing, counseling, negotiation, oral advocacy, investigation, and the formulation of strategy;
3. To develop students' oral advocacy skills through participation in, or observation of (in the case of judicial placements), court, discovery and administrative proceedings;
4. To give students practical legal experience, and to enhance their understanding of the application of the principles learned in law school to everyday legal problems;
5. To give students the opportunity to participate in the work of legal institutions;
6. To expose students to issues of professional responsibility within the context of legal practice;
7. To encourage students to explore and consider different roles for lawyers, and to expose them to the range of career opportunities available in the law; and
8. To permit students to gain practical experience in specialized areas of the law through experience that will supplement their course work within the law school.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF FIELD PLACEMENT SUPERVISORS
An off-campus externship is an important part of each participating student's law school career. Each placement agency assumes partial responsibility for the legal education of students assigned to the placement through Loyola's Field Placement Programs. Prior to accepting Loyola students in an off-campus externship, each participating agency and supervising attorney or judge must agree to the following:
1 . To appoint one attorney to be responsible for the supervision of the activities of each extern accepted for placement. Supervising attorneys or judges must be familiar with the Greater Los Angeles Consortium on Externships' SoCalEx Joint Standards for Supervision of Externship Students. A copy of the "joint standards" will be provided to the supervising attorney or judge each time an externship is confirmed.
2. Supervision of a Certified Law Student requires compliance with Rule 5 of the State Bar of California Rules Governing the Practical Training of Law Students. Part A of this Rule specifies that a supervising attorney shall be an active member of the California State Bar, have practiced law for a minimum of two years, and may supervise no more than five students. SoCalEx law schools recommend a one-to-four supervisor-to-student ratio as appropriate for adequate supervision in part-time field placements. For full-time externships, SoCalEx law schools recommend a one-to-one ratio between students and supervisors.
3. The supervising attorney must be available as necessary for consultation with supervising Law School faculty when needed, and with the extern as necessary. At a minimum, the supervisor should meet with the student at least once a week to discuss assignments and/or problems, provide feedback, and make suggestions.
4. The supervising attorney must ensure that the student is given meaningful, challenging and interesting work assignments. When drafts of any assigned work are completed, the supervising attorney, or the attorney in charge of the project, should give the student a critique of the project as to the adequacy and accuracy of the research, mastery of relevant facts, style, clarity and persuasive content. The student should be required to redraft the document, or redo the assignment, as many times as is necessary to produce a product that meets the project supervisor's own standards for performance.
5. Student assignments should be similar to assignments given to lawyers working for the agency. Assignments may include document drafting, preparation of pleadings and/or legal memoranda, legal research, fact investigation and development, negotiation with and on behalf of clients, client and witness interviewing, client counseling, participation in discovery processes, and observation of and/or participation in conferences with outside parties, meetings, hearings, or court proceedings.
6. Where possible, assignments should be made so that students are involved in a matter from inception to disposition. Students should be involved, to the extent possible, in the decision making process concerning cases on which the student is working.
7. As much as is practical, students should prepare the final documents which will be presented to the court, agency, client or opposition. Observation assignments, such as going to court or meeting with a client, should be encouraged, especially in conjunction with work assignments. Students should also be encouraged to participate in staff meetings, presentations to clients, and other opportunities for oral advocacy.
8. The supervising attorney must meet with the student in conjunction with each written assignment the student selects for submission to the Faculty Field Placement Director to satisfy the writing requirement. The meeting is for the purpose of evaluation of the student's performance on the writing assignment, to suggest areas of excellence, or areas for further improvement in writing or research skills. The supervising attorney must prepare a written evaluation of each student writing assignment submitted to the school during the semester, and submit the critique with the student submission.
9. At the end of the semester, the supervising attorney must prepare a written evaluation of the extern and submit it to the law school. A form for this evaluation will be provided by the law school. It is important that the evaluation is accurate and completed and returned promptly.
10. The supervising attorney must be available to establish a working relationship with the Law School supervising faculty member. The supervising attorney must make the work site available for site inspections by the supervising Law School faculty member as requested. The supervising attorney must promptly communicate with the supervising Law School faculty member as soon as practicable should problems arise.
11. Agencies or attorneys who fail to comply with these designated responsibilities on a repeated basis will be discontinued for student placement.