Field Placement Credits

In addition to the seminar credits, students enrolled in an externship seminar must apply for and enroll in field work credits. All externship field placements must meet the following requirements: 

  1. The placement must be in a not-for-profit organization, government agency, court, or an in-house counsel office in an approved corporation. Students may not extern with a law firm unless they are assigned exclusively to pro bono matters.
  2. The student must be engaged in substantive legal work.
  3. The student must be supervised by a licensed attorney.
  4. The position must be unpaid, but students may receive stipends to cover out-of-pocket expenses.
  5. The student must work onsite in the same location as the supervising attorney, and may not work remotely (while once waived due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have reinstated this requirement unless the organization is conducting all work remotely.  If this is the case, please contact the Externship Office to determine whether the site will be approved as a remote externship).

Externs earn two, three, or four credits for their fieldwork, depending on the number of hours worked during the course of the semester. All fieldwork credits are graded Pass/Fail. Students may earn no more than 4 credits for fieldwork in any given semester.

During the Fall and Spring Semesters (thirteen week semester):

  • 130 hours = 2 Field Credit (Approx. 10 hours per week for 13 weeks)
  • 195 hours = 3 Field Credits (Approx. 15 hours per week for 13 weeks)
  • 260 hours = 4 Field Credits (Approx. 20 hours per week for 13 weeks)

During the Summer Semester (nine week semester):

  • 130 hours = 2 Field Credit (Approx. 15 hours per week for 9 weeks)
  • 195 hours = 3 Field Credits (Approx. 22 hours per week for 9 weeks)
  • 260 hours = 4 Field Credits (Approx. 29 hours per week for 9 weeks)

Students have the option to register for 1 field credit if they choose, however the minimum hour requirement will remain 130 hours (same as 2 field credits).

Students arrange with the field placement for the appropriate number of hours, depending on the students' hours and the needs of the organization. The hours worked in the field placement must approximately coincide with the seminar/faculty supervision.

Students must keep a log of their hours and must submit the log to their professor at the conclusion of the semester in order to receive academic credit.

Students may extern outside of the United States during the summer semester. There is a remote externship seminar that will meet at 6 pm one night per week. 

The Externship Program attempts to provide accurate, current information, but some of the listings may be outdated. If information is incorrect, please contact the Externship Program at (202) 274-4200 or externship@wcl.american.edu.

Field Placements - Additional Information

  • Students are permitted to participate in externships in subsequent semesters up to a maximum of six credits for fieldwork while they are in school. 
  • Students may not extern at the same field placement twice unless they can demonstrate (in the form of a written memorandum to the Externship Office) that they will be assigned matters that are substantially different or more advanced than in the previous semester, preferably working with different attorneys.  They must confirm this with their supervisors.  Repeat field placements must be approved by the Externship Office.
  • Students must not enroll in two externships during the same semester without approval.  Students who wish to enroll in the WCL Clinic at the same time as an externship must receive the permission of Clinic faculty. 
  • Students may not receive credit for working with a WCL professor or any other educational institutions.
  • Students earn credit only for hours worked. 
    • Students are responsible for taking into account federal holidays and religious holidays when calculating the number of hours for which they will receive credit.
    • Lunch hours can be counted only if the student is meeting with attorneys, discussing work matters, or otherwise involved in work activities.
  • Students are charged tuition for field placements just as they are for any class.