National & International Externships
During the summer, WCL students can gain legal experience through an externship across the country or around the world, on any coast.
Students interested in participating in a national or international externship enroll in a Long Distance Seminar, which meets remotely to expand student opportunities to outside the Washington, DC metro area.
The Summer Long Distance Externship Seminar will take on a new format in Summer 2018 and going forward. The Seminar will take place in the format of a virtual classroom. Students will need to reserve 2 hours each week to attend this live online class in a quiet space where they can hear and speak with a headset. The time of the seminar will vary depending on the time zone in which a student is externing. The class may meet during the workday for some students and in the evening for others. Enrollment and Attendance is MANDATORY for all students planning to extern outside of the Washington DC Metro Area this summer.
Long Distance students disperse to their externship sites in time to begin working at the start of the summer academic session (typically the last week of May). Students normally work full-time for 7-10 weeks. During this period, students will communicate regularly with one another and with their seminar professor via a virtual classroom. There will be a live class session each week. There will also be an asynchronous portion of the class. For example, the "classroom" also contains a discussion board where students can update classmates on their experiences as well as participate in on-line class discussion of challenging issues they may be confronting in their externships. In some weeks, students may circulate their journals to one another via the technology links and comment on issues raised in the journal entries. Students find the opportunity to communicate with one another from around the country and to compare their work experiences, one of the richest aspects of the program.
You may want to take advantage of this program if you have decided to return home to be with family or friends for the summer or you have made contact with a specific organization in another state. If you would like to extern in a state outside of DC, Maryland and Virginia, our Long Distance Program is for you!
Full-time/part-time J.D. candidates, who have completed their first year of law school can participate in a long-distance externship. Please note that every employer will list their own eligibility criteria.
Students typically earn 6 credits for participation in the Long Distance Program - 2 graded credits for the seminar component and 4 pass/fail credits for the field work component. Students who wish to work less than 260 hours in the field may earn fewer field credits. We usually offer one seminar for long distance externs within the United States and another seminar for long distance externs working abroad. Enrollment in both seminar and field credits is mandatory in order to take part in the program. See the Field Credit Hour Requirements page for more details about how many credits you may be eligible for.
Students cannot participate in a Study Abroad program and earn externship credit as students may only earn a total of seven credits over the summer semester.
The Externship Long Distance seminar is two credits and the field credit varies from two to four credits, depending on the hours the student works. Tuition for the summer is calculated per-credit. Students must enroll in at least 6 credits for the summer to be eligible for financial aid. Please click here to view how you can save money by taking an externship.
Housing & Travel
Students are responsible for their own housing and travel arrangements. Some externship employers may provide housing or assistance in locating housing.
Finding An International Placement
The Externship Program has forged relationships with organizations around the world, and many of these organizations have agreed to accept qualified WCL students as externs during the Summer semester.
Students will be able to find international externships through many of the Externship Program’s resources, such as the Externship Database. Click here for more information on finding a field placement. Additionally, during the Fall semester, the Externship Program hosts an information session for students, who are interested in participating in international externships.
After the Fall information session, the Externship Program Office will reach out to international employers and curate a list of which employers are willing to accept externs, application instructions, deadlines, and other important information. This list will be sent out to those who attended the Fall information session, anyone who contacts our office with interest in international externships, and ultimately, the opportunities will be posted to CareerLink.
Depending on the organizations, applications for these externships may be submitted directly to the organization itself, or may be submitted to the Externship Program first, which will then be reviewed and recommended to the organization. It is important to note that each employer will have their own eligibility criteria, such as specific language requirements.
Alternatively, students may also use their own contacts to find international externships, as long as the placements meet Externship Program requirements and do not raise high risk safety concerns.
We strongly encourage students to come into our office and speak with the Externship Program staff if they are thinking of doing an international externship or in the process of finding an opportunity.
University approval required for travel
Once you have accepted an offer for an international placement, please fill out the approval forms below and return them to the Externship Office. If approved by the Externship Office, your forms, along with a program description, and a copy of the country's risk assessment, will be submitted for approval to the Office of the Dean, and to the Office of the Provost. You will not be permitted to receive academic credit for an international externship unless you have received approval for international travel from the University. All externships must be approved by the University and the law school. Placements deemed unsafe will not be permitted.
Travel Health Insurance
Upon approval, the University will provide travel health insurance. For more information on the travel insurance coverage provided, please visit www.american.edu/finance/rmehs/inttravel.cfm/.
It is the student’s responsibility to get a visa. We recommend students to start the process early and plan ahead, because the visa process has tightened considerably.