The Washington College of Law (WCL) welcomes students from other law schools who wish to participate in our Externship Program. WCL offers students the opportunity to earn academic credit for unpaid legal work at government agencies, not-for-profit organizations, courts and tribunals and law firms engaged in pro bono activities. Requirements for Field Placements. All students participating in an externship must be enrolled in a WCL externship seminar. Requirements for Seminars/Supervision.
All students participating in the Externship Program are responsible for securing their own field placements. The Externship Program can assist accepted visiting students by providing contact information for organizations that have hosted externs in the past, or have requested an extern for the
summer semester, but the responsibility for applying to organizations and securing field placements rests with the student.
The summer semester runs from May to August. During the summer, WCL offers three programs through which students can participate in externships:
The Washington, D.C. Program
The Externship Program has a database of over 1,000 field placements in the Washington metropolitan area who have hosted externs in the past, or have specifically requested students to apply in the future. The law school's location in Washington, D.C., and its proximity to governmental and non-governmental organizations provides students with an exceptional opportunity for experiential learning.
The National Program
If you would like to extern in the state in which you currently reside, or another state outside of D.C., Maryland and Virginia, then our U.S. National (Long-Distance) Program is for you. Students participate in an intensive 3-day seminar in May, which prepares them for the fieldwork experience. The students then disperse to their externship sites where they normally work full-time for 8-10 weeks. Students will gather at WCL again for 3-4 days in August for an intensive debriefing of the summer experience. Attendance at all 6 seminar meetings is mandatory to participate in this program.
The International Program
Students can earn academic credit while performing fieldwork in human rights organizations, non-governmental and governmental organizations, and courts in countries around the world. They are linked to faculty supervisors and their classmates via the latest long distance learning technologies for on-going discussion and reflection on their work experiences. Students participate in the Long-Distance seminars referenced above.
- Completed minimum of one year of course work at an ABA accredited law school
- A non-refundable $65 fee (Check payable to Washington College of Law)
- A letter of good standing from your law school
- Permission to participate from your law school
- A resume
- An official transcript
- A personal statement (1-2 pgs) discussing why you would like to participate in the WCL Externship Program
Credit From Your Law School
Check with your law school's Office of the Registrar to determine whether your school will permit you to transfer the credits you earn in your field placement (pass/fail) and your seminar (graded).
Information on the Program
Please review our website, as it contains the descriptions and requirements for participating in the program. If you would like a hard-copy of our program materials, please send a self-addressed, 8.5'' x 11'' envelope to the WCL Externship Program, 4801 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 413, Washington, DC 20016.
Securing a Field Placement
Acceptance as a visiting student does not guarantee that you can secure a placement. Students participating in the Externship Program are responsible for securing their own field placements. Students conduct their own research, schedule interviews directly with organizations, and secure a placement.
We recommend that students plan to interview with organizations during the winter and/or spring semester breaks. Also, some organizations are willing to conduct phone interviews for students visiting from another state.
Click here for more information on field placements.
First, check with your law school Office of Financial Aid to determine their deadlines. Once accepted into the WCL Externship Program, visiting students must apply for/receive financial aid through their "home" law school. The home law school determines whether aid can be made available for your study at the Washington College of Law. The second step in this process is to request that your Office of Financial Aid send the WCL Office of Financial Aid a Consortium Form. WCL completes the form, indicating the tuition costs, and sends it back to your law school. Once your school has received this form, they can determine the status of your application.
Visiting student externs are responsible for their own transportation, housing, and meal expenses. If you provide our office with an advertisement/request for housing, we will post your ad on our bulletin board, but we cannot guarantee the response. Please include important details such as gender of desired roommates, location preferences (you will want to be close to public transportation), smoking preferences, desired rent, and email address so that people may reach you directly. Another resource is to search for housing online at www.washingtonpost.com or other websites.
Registration for Accepted Visiting Students
Once you have been accepted as a visiting student, and secured a field placement that you believe meets the requirements, please speak with the Externship Office to determine which seminar fits your particular externship. Click here for a list of course offerings.
You will receive a registration form from the WCL Office of the Registrar. Please complete and return this form to register for the seminar.
Field Placement Registration
You need to enter all of your field placement information online and submit it electronically for approval. The Request for Approval is located on our website www.wcl.american.edu. All field placements must be approved; simply because the externship is listed in our database does not signify automatic approval. If your field placement is not already in our database, you will be adding a "new placement," so please expect a slight delay for our review. When your placement is approved, you will receive an email approval email which is your Registration Form and contains links for the two required contracts (Student and Field Placement). You are responsible for: printing the contracts and signature page; obtaining the signature of your attorney field supervisor;** and signing that you have read the Student Contract. Finally, obtain a signature from the Externship Office and submit the form to the Registrar.
**Your supervisor's signature may be sent via fax to you or to our office: fax 202-730-4591.
Most externship professors submit course packets for duplication and purchase through the Materials Room located at WCL. Check the course page from the WCL website to see if the syllabus and first readings have been posted. You may also contact the Externship Office to check the status of course materials.