What is a Semester in Practice (private field placement)?
It is an opportunity for students to work in a private law firm or corporate setting (i.e. in-house in a corporate legal department), to experience the day-to-day operations of the firm or corporate office and observe lawyers in practice. Students may enroll in Semester in Practice to receive units for a private field placement during the academic year and during the summer session. Students should note that during the summer session, students must pay for units on a per-unit basis.
Does the Private Field Placement office place students in firms and/or in-house departments at private companies?
No. Students are responsible for identifying, applying to, and securing placements on their own. However, students who have particular areas of interest can set up a meeting with Prof. Grace Parrish, the Director of the Private Field Placement Department to discuss recommendations on potential placements and where to apply. Students can also visit the Field Placements Department to view books that the Department maintains on where prior students have externed.
How do students identify a private field placement?
A student interested in the Semester in Practice program is responsible for identifying both the law firm or corporate office and a licensed attorney at the firm or office who is willing to serve as a supervisor. The supervisor must agree to meet all law school requirements to qualify for an unpaid private field placement, including providing assignments and feedback, signing timesheets, assisting the student in identifying field placement goals, and completing an evaluation.
All private field placements must be vetted and approved by the Program Director for Private Field Placements prior to a student’s enrollment in the Semester in Practice program. Thus, students must adhere to all applicable deadlines in submitting their application for the Semester in Practice program.
Some firms/companies have been “pre-approved,” subject to a site visit to be performed by the Program Director for Private Field Placements, Prof. Grace Parrish. Although a firm/company may be “pre-approved,” students must still apply to the Semester in Practice program and confirm that they meet all program requirements prior to enrollment in the program.
All private field placements must be approved in advance by Professor Grace Parrish. Thus, students should submit their applications for the Semester in Practice program at least 4 weeks prior to the beginning of the semester in which the student seeks to extern. Applications should be submitted online to the Private Field Placements Department. Private Field Placement Application
Who is eligible to participate in the Semester in Practice program?
Students who have completed the first year of law study, either day or evening [a student must have a minimum of 28 units completed], are eligible if they are in good academic standing (not on probation) with a Loyola GPA of 2.33 or higher.
Transfer students cannot participate in the Semester in Practice program until their second semester at Loyola.
What are the unit and time requirements?
Each field placement unit requires 52 hours of supervised legal services. These field placement units will be graded pass/fail. Students should check the JD Handbook for any restrictions on pass/fail units, however, of the 87 units that are needed to graduate, 20 units may be ungraded and 14 units may be field placement units (6 units total for private firms/corporations).
All students participating in the Semester in Practice program must enroll in a concurrent course taught by the Program Director for Private Field Placements during the same term in which they are completing private field placement units. All Semester in Practice externs must also attend a mandatory orientation at the beginning of the semester, whether or not they previously attended the mandatory orientation session in a prior semester at Loyola. Students are also required to complete the online classroom component course requirements in each semester that they are enrolled in a private field placement. Attendance is mandatory for each class as the class does not meet every week of the term. Thus, students should calendar class dates accordingly upon receipt of the syllabus.
Students may take a maximum of 6 units of private field placement units during their tenure at Loyola, subject to the following limits:
- A private field placement requires a minimum commitment of 2 units and is limited to a maximum commitment of 4 units in the Fall or Spring semester. During the Fall or Spring semester, students may choose to do 2, 3 or 4 units.
- During the Summer term, students are permitted to enroll in 1 unit of private field placement, however, students must complete a minimum of 104 hours for the 1 unit. During the Summer, students may choose to do 1, 2, 3, or 4 units. Please note that units taken during the Summer are not part of a student’s regular tuition. Thus, students should check with the Student Accounts office as to tuition costs per unit during the Summer term.
- Students may not do more than one private field placement during the Fall or Spring semester. During the Summer term, students may do more than one private field placement (subject to approval by Prof. Grace Parrish) provided they do not exceed the 6 unit maximum described above. Students must also receive written confirmation from the firms/companies that the student wishes to extern at approving employment at both and confirming that there is no conflict in working at both placements.
- Private Placement Application
How do I apply for Semester in Practice?
A student interested in Semester in Practice should begin planning at least one semester before the student intends to participate in the private field placement. The application process is as follows:
- Identify the firm or office for the private field placement and a licensed attorney at that firm or office who will serve as a supervisor.
- Complete the Semester in Practice Application online, including attaching a resume. As part of the application, students must also identify the firm/company and supervising attorney. Thus, students should not apply until they have secured a placement.
- Submit the completed documents online within the following deadlines:
- At least 4 weeks prior to the beginning of the Fall semester for a Spring semester
- At least 4 weeks prior to the beginning of the Summer term
- Professor Parrish will contact the supervising attorney to confirm the field placement, conduct a site visit, and ensure that the supervising attorney will agree to the Duties of Supervising Attorneys for off-campus field placements.
- If the private field placement is approved, the Field Placement Office will assist you with enrollment and field placement procedures.
- Private Field Application
- When is the deadline to apply for Semester in Practice?
Can I receive academic credit and receive pay from the employer?
No. Private field placements must be unpaid. Students should check the JD Handbook for the school’s guidelines relating to field placements.
How do I enroll in units?
After attendance at the mandatory orientation session and the Field Placement Department’s receipt of a signed Performance Agreement from the student, the Field Placement Department will provide the student with instructions on how to enroll in units for the term.
Do I have to attend the mandatory orientation each semester I participate in the Semester in Practice program?
Yes. The orientation is part of the mandatory classes that the student must attend during the term in which the extern. Attendance is required in all in-person and online courses.
Can I extern at the same firm/company in multiples semesters?
Yes, so long as the student does not exceed the 6 unit maximum for private field placement units.
I am a transfer student, can I participate in the Semester in Practice program?
Transfer students cannot participate in the Semester in Practice program during the first semester at Loyola. They may participate beginning in their second semester at Loyola.
Does my supervisor have to be licensed in California?
No. However, all students must be supervised by a currently licensed attorney. Paralegals and/or support staff cannot act as supervisors.
Does the Semester in Practice program count towards experiential unit requirements?
Yes. All private field placement units count toward the student’s experiential unit requirements.
Can I get credit for a placement that I did previously but was not enrolled in the Semester in Practice Program?
No. Students must complete all hours during the semester in which they are enrolled in private field placement units. Students must take a concurrent course component during the term in which they extern and thus, students cannot retroactively apply to receive credit for work performed in a semester or summer term in which they were not enrolled in the Semester in Practice program.
I signed up for 2 units but completed more than 104 hours, can I increase the number of units I receive?
No. Students must select the number of units they wish to receive at the beginning of the semester. Students often complete more hours than the 52 hour/unit minimum, however, they will not retroactively receive additional units at the end of the semester for completing more hours.
Aside from the course component, what else is required to receive units for private field placements?
During the semester, students will be required to, among other things, submit journals, respond to reflection questions, submit timesheets, and a writing sample. Students will receive access to the Private Field Placement Handbook and Syllabus on TWEN, which discusses all of the private field placement requirements, at the beginning of the semester.