Learning from Practice - The Role of the Seminar in the Externship Program

 

Seminars give students an opportunity to reflect on their experience, hear from other students about other externship experience, build important legal skills.

The externship students field work experiences are enhanced by the close supervision they receive from faculty members, by participating in an externship seminar.

Most students who are externing for the first time enroll in the two-credit graded externship seminar, which meets every week.  Students who have completed an externship enroll in the one credit Advanced Supervision seminar.  During the summer semester, all students, including those who have not yet  externed, may enroll in a one credit pass/fail externship seminar. Note: All students participating in an externship must be enrolled in an externship seminar or supervised individually by faculty.

Each two credit seminar can have a different focus or format.  On the right side of this page, you can access course descriptions for each professor's course.

Seminars/Supervision Options

Seminar Option Breakdown

The Two-Credit Externship Seminar is intended for first time externs. This seminar is 2 credits and graded A-F.

Requirements:

The requirements for each externship section may be different, and are listed in each professor's course syllabus. All seminars, however, will require the following:

  • Weekly Seminar Classes:

    • Spring/Fall: In the Fall and Spring semesters, the class meets 1 hour, 50 minutes per week for a 14-week semester.

    • Summer: In the Summer semester, the class meets 2 hours, 50 minutes per week for a 9-week semester.

  • Small Group Supervision Meetings:

    In addition to leading the externship seminars, faculty meet regularly with externship students in smaller groups to explore the students’ personal experiences of work in greater depth and detail – often taking the students’ journal entries as a starting point. Generally, these meetings take place every other week.

  • Journals:

Students must submit journals reflecting on the externship experience. Students must follow their professor’s guidelines and requirements regarding format, length, and submission.

  • Reading Assignments:

Professors may assign students reading assignments pertaining to the content of the seminar class.

  • A Substantial Written Project:

This is generally one 10-15 page research or reflective paper, or a series of shorter papers assigned throughout the semester.

  • Log of Hours Worked:

Students must keep a contemporaneous log of hours worked. Your professor will require you to have your field supervisor confirm the hours worked either by email or by signing the hours log.

  • Other Assignments:

This may be a class presentation, a final paper, or a combination of assignments.

NOTE: Students can only receive credit for the Two-Credit Supervised Externship Seminar once. The only exception is for students who have completed a two-credit seminar and subsequently enroll in the long distance program.

The Advanced Supervision seminar is for students who have already participated in a two-credit externship seminar. This seminar is 1 credit and graded Pass/Fail.

Requirements:

Although the requirements for each particular seminar differ and are listed in the professor’s course syllabus, all advanced supervision seminar will require the following:

  • Seminar Classes

    • Fall & Spring: In the Fall and Spring semesters, the advanced seminar meets 8 times for 50 minutes over the course of the semester. The seminar typically meets for the first three weeks of the semester and then every other week for the rest of the semester.

    • Summer: In the Summer semester, the seminar will meet weekly.

  • Journals:

Students must submit journals reflecting on the externship experience. Students must follow their professor’s guidelines and requirements regarding format, length, and submission. The frequency of journal submissions will depend on whether the course is taken in the fall/spring semester or during the summer. 

  • Reading Assignments:

Professors may assign students reading assignments pertaining to the content of the seminar class.

  • A Substantial Written Project

Generally, the professor will assign an 8 to 10 research or reflective paper, or a series of shorter papers throughout the semester.

  • Log of Hours Worked:

Students must keep a contemporaneous log of hours worked. Your professor will require you to have your field supervisor confirm the hours worked either by email or by signing the hours log.

Small Group Supervision Seminar (Summer Only)

During the summer semester, the Externship Program offers first time externs a one-credit Small Group Supervision Seminar option as an alternative to the Two-Credit Supervised Externship Seminar. It allows for more flexible summer scheduling. This seminar is 1 credit and graded Pass/Fail.

Requirements:

  • Seminar Classes

This class meets once each week for 50 minutes.

  • Journals:

Students must submit weekly journals reflecting on their externship experience. Students must follow their professor’s guidelines and requirements regarding format, length, and submission.

  • Reading Assignments:

Professors may assign students reading assignments pertaining to the content of the seminar class.

  • A Substantial Written Project:

Generally, the professor will assign an 8 to 10 page research or reflective paper, or a series of shorter papers throughout the semester.

  • Log of Hours Worked:

Students must keep a contemporaneous log of hours worked. Your professor will require you to have your field supervisor confirm the hours worked either by email or by signing the hours log.

Individual Supervision by a Faculty member (Fall & Spring Only)

During the Fall and Spring semesters, students unable to attend any of the Externship Seminar offerings due to scheduling issues or other constraints may ask individual faculty members to provide supervision. The faculty member must be a full-time professor, or must have an office within the WCL law school building. Faculty members, who agree to individually supervise externship students, must sign the Individual Faculty Supervision Guidelines.

Requirements:

  • Faculty Advisor/Student Meetings

Students are required to meet with their professor between 5-7 hours per semester. Topics for meetings may include: the progress of the externship, problems, insights and strategies for getting the most out of the externship, and reflection on broader issues concerning the practice of law that relate to observations and experiences in the field.

  • Journals:

Students must submit biweekly journals reflecting on the externship experience. Students must follow their professor’s guidelines and requirements regarding format, length, and submission.

  • Reading Assignments:

Professors may assign students reading assignments pertaining to the content of the seminar class.

  • A Substantial Written Project:

Generally, the professor will assign an 8 to 10 page research or reflective paper, or a series of shorter papers throughout the semester.

  • Log of Hours Worked:

Students must keep a contemporaneous log of hours worked. Your professor will require you to have your field supervisor confirm the hours worked either by email or by signing the hours log.

  • Monthly Progress Report Due to the Director of the Externship Program:

All students participating in individually supervised externships are responsible for contacting the Director of the Externship Program on the last day of each month to report on the status of their supervision.   This includes the dates and times they met with their professors, the dates on which journals were submitted and the status of additional writing assignments.  Failure to report to the Director of the Externship Program each month could result in a denial of credit for both the supervision component and the field placement.