Annual Externship Fair Welcomes Over 120 Potential Employers to Campus

American University Washington College of Law students took time out from a busy third week of classes to meet with more than 120 potential employers at the annual Externship Fair in January.

The building’s sixth floor was packed with representatives from organizations ranging from the Department of Justice to the Service Employees International Union, the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia to the Office of the Inspector General.

The annual event pairs 1Ls and 2Ls with organizations across the Washington, D.C. area where students can intern for academic credit during the school year or over the summer.

“Overall, I thought the fair went extremely well,” said Avis Sanders, director of the Externship Program. “We had a great showing from the first year class, and many 2Ls attended as well. The employers told me that they were very pleased — they said the students were very enthusiastic and showed a real interest in their work.”

 Heather Posey, a 1L who is interested in public health, health care law, and women’s legal issues, viewed the list of employers who planned to attend the event before the fair and decided to narrow her search.

“I have a specific interest, so I targeted people ahead of time based on the list the Externship Office provided,” Dorsey said. Her legwork paid off — one of the organizations she applied to invited her to an interview at the Externship Fair. Dorsey estimated that she spoke with representatives from 12 organizations in total, including Kids In Need of Defense, AEquitas, and the American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic Violence.

“It’s definitely overwhelming, but in a good way,” she said, adding that she felt the employers were extremely receptive to her and fellow students, even in the competitive D.C. internship market.

Alum Employer Offers Advice for WCL Externs

Andy Gibbs attended as an employer at the fair.  The 2007 Washington College of Law graduate is an attorney adviser at the Officer of the Tenant Advocate in Washington, D.C. Gibbs had returned to the fair to recruit potential externs.

Gibbs said he remembers what it was like on the other side of the table, and had some advice for hopeful externs at the law school.

“Follow up,” he said. “If you make contacts, shoot them an e-mail within the month and ask ‘How can I apply?’”

(Photo: Amir Sadeghy & Andy Gibbs (alum) from the D.C. Office of the Tenant Advocate talk with student Monika Mastell)

“As an alum, I know WCL students are awesome,” he said. “It’s an excellent school, and I want to support continued employment by WCL students.  I’m looking forward to this summer and getting a student into the office.”

Sanders said this year’s list of attending organizations broke previous records, with 13 divisions from the Department of Justice and new attendees, such as the National Association of Manufacturers, among the group. Sanders said this was the result of some strong outreach over the past year to government agencies and trade associations.

“These will be great opportunities for our students,” she said.