Externship Frequently Asked Questions
For more information about externships, please review the information below.
If you are searching for an externship placement, Career Development is available to help you complete your application materials. You should now schedule a meeting with your Career Development advisor to share your interest in these externship opportunities and to receive assistance in completing your application materials. In some cases, certain placements prefer that the Externship Program Director (Professor Finger) submit the materials directly. If you have listed a placement that fits into that category, Professor Finger will let you know after you submit your application. Please check the box on the externship application to confirm that you will schedule a meeting with your Career Development advisor to discuss your placement interests and to complete your application materials.
- Field Work: Externs must devote a minimum of 60 hours per credit hour earned to their externship experience over the course of a semester (120 hours for 2-credit students and 180 hours for 3-credit students. The time required includes time spent on field work, reflective journals, time sheets, and other class assignments as well as class time and time spent meeting individually with the externship professor.
- Time Sheets: Term-time externs must submit detailed time sheets twice a month. Summer extern must submit a time sheet each week.
- Reflective Journal Entries: Externs must submit a number of reflective journal entries throughout the semester. Students can select from a number of suggested journal topics or write on a topic of their own choosing.
- Individualized Learning Goals & Self-Assessment: Externs develop individual learning goals in specific areas tied to the program's course-level learning outcomes early in the semester with input from their placement supervisors and professor. Students assess themselves on the individualized goals they develop at the beginning and end of the semester and can refine the goals throughout their externship. The placement supervisors and professor also assess the student on these goals.
- Writing Portfolio: Externs are required to produce 10 pages of legal writing for their placement for each credit hour earned (20 pages for 2-credit students and 30-pages for 3-credit students).
- Court Observation: Externs must observe at least 1 hour of court proceedings during the semester of enrollment.
Any student who has completed the first year of law school, including part-time students, and who is in good academic standing with a GPA of 2.0 or higher is eligible to apply. Some placements have additional eligibility criteria such as class year, class rank, or completed coursework requirements that are listed under their descriptions in the Externship Placements section of the website.
The average weekly time commitment depends on whether a student is enrolled for 1, 2, or 3 credits. Students are required to devote a minimum of 60 hours during the course of a semester for each credit hour earned. The time commitment includes time spent in the externship class and on assignments for the class. Students can expect to devote approximately 4.5 hours per week for a one-credit externship during the fall or spring semester. Two-credit term-time externships require approximately 8.5 hours per week while three-credit externships require approximately 12.5 hours per week. Some externship placements may require a student be enrolled in a minimum of two or three credits or may have higher or more specific scheduling requirements of their own. Any hours worked in an externship beyond the minimum may be registered as pro bono hours going towards the fulfillment of the law & poverty graduation requirement.
Most externship placements are one semester in length, but some placements may allow or require a yearlong commitment. Many students participate in a second or third externship semester at different placements. Students may not split their externship between two placements during the same semester. Also, students should read the law bulletin to ensure they do not exceed a maximum of 6 credit hours of pooled courses including the academic externship course and certain independent studies courses (L898, G898, L899, and G899).
Students are generally not allowed to participate in both clinic and an externship during the same semester because of the intense time commitments required for both experiences and the potential for conflicts of interest. In rare circumstances, a student may be allowed to participate in both a clinic and the externship program during the same semester with the approval of the clinic professor and externship placement.
Yes. Students enrolled in term-time externships may work at placements in any location as long as their schedule can accommodate the travel time, which does not count towards externship hours. Long-distance externship placements during the summer semester are common. Students can use the self-created externship process to find a placement anywhere in the country and enroll in the online externship course available during the summer.
Yes, Experiential Credit Requirement: All externship credits count towards satisfying a student's experiential credit-requirement. Students need 9 experiential credits to graduate.
Yes, Skills Graduation Requirement: Students receive one general skills credit upon successful completion of each semester of the externship course. Students need 8 skills credits to graduate.
Maybe, Law & Poverty Requirement Pro Bono Hours: Any externship hours logged beyond the minimum time requirements may be registered as pro bono hours going toward the satisfaction of the Law & Poverty requirement.
No, Writing Requirement: The externship program's writing portfolio requirement consisting of written work completed for one's placement does NOT fulfill Loyola's graduation writing requirement. However, many students ask permission to use their redacted externship work as a writing sample for future job applications.
Students may not receive compensation for externship work from either the placement or from a third-source through a grant or stipend. Students may receive "reimbursement of reasonable out-of-pocket expenses related to the field placement."
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 at any type of organization or law office. 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 a highly structured educational experience for academic credit subject to all the requirements described on this website. If you are interested in paid internships, please visit Career Development or Gillis Long.
Only courts, government agencies, and non-profit legal organizations are eligible for approval as Loyola externship placements. Loyola does not place students in for-profit settings of any kind, even if the student is only assigned to pro bono work. Any proposed new placement is vetted prior to approval and must be willing to sign a Memorandum of Understanding and meet the expectations contained in Loyola's Externship Supervisor Manual.
Yes, the externship placement supervisor must be a licensed attorney or an experienced J.D. (with prior approval of the externship professor).
LLM & MA students are welcome to enroll in the externship seminar after the first semester of your program has been completed. Please discuss appropriate placements with your program advisor.