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Student FAQ

What is the difference between an externship versus an internship?

The term "internship" and "externship" are commonly misused; both opportunities offer students real world experience but are structured differently.  An internship is a voluntary or paid opportunity.  Student interns do not receive academic credit and may receive compensation. Interns are sometimes limited to observe or participate for a brief period of time. 

 In contrast, an externship is best thought of as 'flipping the classroom'.  Students receive academic credit and the experience in the field is then incorporated into the classroom.  Each field placement office ("FPO") signs a memorandum of understanding and there  there is a working relationship with the professor and the field supervisor.  The experience is substantive, rigorous and practical. Externships are founded upon experiential learning where students experience, reflect, re-conceptualize, and then apply learned skills  in context. Externs are supervised by both the field placement supervisor ("FPS") and the professor. Students in an externships have many requirements to satisfy including classroom attendance, timesheets, journals and written assignments. Externships help prime students for clinic and ultimately, the transition into practice. 

May all students apply for an externship?

Any student who completed the first year of law school and who is in good academic standing with a GPA of 2.0 or higher is eligible to apply. Some placements do have specific requirements and we encourage students to learn about the opportunity before applying. 

How do I apply for an externship? 

Students are encouraged to apply early.  Some externships have deadlines; others accept applications on a rolling basis.  The Office of Skills and Experiential Learning will stop processing applications by certain announced deadlines each semester.  To apply, students should first browse 'externship opportunities' and then visit the Office of Skills and Experiential Learning (OSEL) to discuss various options. Once a student narrows their selection to the top three choices, they should apply online. The application process also requires you to upload materials to Symplicity.  Once complete, OSEL will send the materials to the field office who may require an interview and ultimately make the final decision.  Placements are filled on a first come, first serve basis. The application timeline and deadlines are announced through Symplicity and on the externship webpages.

How many externship placements are offered each semester?

Every semester we have more placements than students to fill the opportunity. Visit the 'externship opportunities' for detailed information about particular placements. Loyola offers placements in  judicial, governmental and non-profit organizations. At this time, externs are not placed in for-profit firms.  Some students may wish to convert an internship into an externship, we ask that you apply through our website and explain. The Office of Skills needs time to speak with the placement office and ensure it is a structured experience that is appropriate for academic credit.   If you are interested in paid internships, please visit Career Development and Gillis Long.

Does Loyola find my externship placement for me?

All externship placements must be approved by the Office of Skills and Experiential Learning. If you would like to pursue an opportunity not on the externship website, visit the Office of Skills.  Pre-approved externships are listed under 'externship opportunities'  and students are encouraged to browse and apply online.      

Who supervises externships?

Once selected for an externship, students may have one single attorney mentor/supervisor or several within an office.  Both the field placement supervisor (FPS) and the professor oversee the externship. The supervisor is an experienced attorney or judge who is primarily responsible for the extern during field hours. Supervisors regularly meet with externs to evaluate performance, answer questions, explain the activities of the organization and provide guidance throughout the placement period. Students will also regularly meet with the professor to discuss the experience. 

May students participate in an externship in the summer, spring and/or fall?

Yes, students may use an externship to gain valuable experience over the summer, spring and/or fall semesters. Externship opportunities in the summer, spring and/or fall may be offered for one (1); two (2) or three (3) academic credits. There is no fee for summer externships because Loyola encourages students to gain practical experience. 

May students participate in more than one externship?

Yes. Many students participate in a second or third semester of externships at different placements. Two semesters of an externship at one office leads to a more indepth experience and context learned in the field. Some students seek externship placements to explore career choices or areas of law.   Students may not participate in two externships during the same semester. Also, students should read the law bulletin to ensure they do not exceed the requirements under L900 enrollment which includes a maximum 6 credit hours of pooled courses including independent studies. 

May students participate in an externship and clinic in the same semester?

It is strongly recommended that students do not participate in both clinic and an externship opportunity, as both require a high degree of concentration and time.  It is very difficult to provide enough time to effectively put forth your best work in both environments in the same semester. 

May students seek an externship placement outside of the New Orleans area?

Yes. Students may receive externship credit in a placement outside of the New Orleans area provided that placement is approved.  Please contact the Office of Skills and Experiential Learning for additional information regarding the requirements for externship placements outside of the New Orleans area. 

Does an externship satisfy Loyola's writing and/or skills requirements?

No, the final written portfolio does not fulfill Loyola's writing requirement. However, many students ask permission to use as a possible writing sample for future job applications. Externs do earn one skills credit per semester. If students go above and beyond the externship hours, students may seek to obtain Pro Bono hours.   

May students accept payment while at my externship?

Students may not be compensated while earning academic credit. Academic credit will not be awarded if a student is receiving financial compensation for field work. Students may receive "reimbursement of reasonable out-of-pocket expenses related to the field placement."  Please visit OSEL if you have any questions regarding this policy.  

May students use their Lexis, Westlaw or Bloomberg account to perform research in connection with my externship?

Yes. The Externship course is an academic course and may use their student Lexis, Westlaw or Bloomberg accounts to research assignments given by the Field Placement Office.  Students should always check with the research representatives before using their student account.