Finding a Field Placement

Don't know where to get started? consider the following questions:

What kind of experience are you looking for?

Check out where our students have externed in the past .

What areas of substantive law do you want to explore?

Explore some of the practice areas that you might be interested in.

Was there a course you took that you found particularly interesting?

If you do not have a particular substantive area in mind, consider courses that you found interesting and why they interested you. Would you consider exploring these areas of law through an externship?

What kind of experience or skills do you want to gain or improve?

Some externships will focus on legal research and writing skills, while others may focus more on interviewing clients and offering direct services. Think about the skills you want to gain or improve and the types of experiences you want to have, whether it is drafting policies or talking to clients, and try to focus your search on those aspects.

Keep in mind that your actual tasks and responsibilities are as important as the substantive area you are working in. For example, if you are interested in having client contact in the immigration law area, you will probably be disappointed in an externship at an immigration policy organization.

Where to look for a field placement

 

The Externship Database

The Externship Program Field Placement Database contains listings from organizations that have requested a legal extern from WCL or that have sponsored a law student through the Externship Program.

Employers listed in the Externship Database include:

Government agencies on the local, state, and federal levels

Not-for-profit organizations (including public interest organizations, lobbying groups, trade associations)

Courts and judicial institutions (including administrative tribunals; and local, state, and federal courts)

Law firms that are engaged in pro bono projects

Note that the Externship Database is not the same as CareerLink, which is offered by OCPD. The Externship Database primarily lists places where WCL students have externed in the past.

For more information on how to use the Externship Database click here.

 

Practice Area Lists

The Externship Program has developed lists of externship field placements by practice area. They are available on the Externship Program's MyWCL page and they are available outside Yuma 413.

List of Practice Areas:

 

Posted Listings 

The Externship Office frequently posts announcements from employers currently seeking interns for field placement opportunities. Stay tuned for updates by following us on Facebook and Twitter

MyWCL announcements

Twitter account

Facebook account

Outside Externship Office (Y341)

Office of Career & Professional Development (OCPD)

WCL career counselors are available for students who want to consider how to most effectively take advantage of an externship to assist them in meeting their long-term career goals. Career counselors also provide the following services: reviewing resumes and cover letters; conducting mock interviews; and assisting in planning an effective job search.

For more information about OCPD or to schedule an appointment with a career counselors, click here.

Faculty Practice Groups

WCL Faculty have created eleven practice groups to provide students with more subject matter-specific and practice-specific career information and counseling. The practice groups are comprised of full-time faculty members, alumni, and adjunct professors specific to each field. 

For a full list of the faculty practice groups and their co-convenors, and to register for a Faculty Practice Group, click here.

Office of Public Interest (OPI)

The Office of Public Interest offers valuable resources for students who are seeking public interest opportunities, some of which can be turned into externships.

Sign up to receive the OPI Informer: this is a weekly newsletter from OPI that includes information for students and alumni about public interest events, internship postings, pro bono opportunities, and more.

Student Evaluations

After reviewing the database listings, stop by the Externship Office in Yuma 413 to read through field placement evaluations written by WCL students, who have worked there in the past. These evaluations can be helpful in providing additional information about the field placements and supervisors.

Design Your Own Externship

Rather than selecting from externships used by the law school in the past, you may design your own field placement, if it fits our program criteria. You may use outside resources, other sources like CareerLink and USAJobs, organization listservs, and personal contacts to find a field placement. To find extensive information about government agencies and other legal organizations in Washington DC, use the "Leadership Directory" available through the Pence Law Library Resources A-Z. This provides voluminous information including contacts, email addresses, and phone numbers.

Networking

Networking is an important aspect of developing professional contacts and building relationships. It can help you obtain an externship that may turn into a job post-graduation. OCPD offers students many valuable resources on how to network, where to network, and who to network with.

Mentor Database: The WCL Alumni Mentor Database enables students and alumni to contact practicing WCL graduates for the purposes of networking, seeking general career advice, and informational interviews.

The Art of Networking: This is a valuable resource providing information on topics such as informational interviews, table talk, developing contacts, and more.