Supervised Externship Program


2017 WCL Spring Externship Fair
Thursday, January 26, 2017
4:00 – 6:30 PM
Claudio Grossman Hall

Every year, representatives from over 150 field placements attend the Fair to recruit students for Summer, Fall and Spring Externships and Internships. This event provides an opportunity for students to meet with a wide variety of representatives from not-for-profit organizations, government agencies, courts and law firms engaged in pro bono work. Participants include numerous divisions of the United States Department of Justice and other government agencies such as the FCC, the SEC and the Departments of Commerce, Education, and State. Also in attendance are prosecutors from a variety of jurisdictions and the public defender services for D.C., Virginia, and Maryland, as well as dozens of public interest organizations such as the ACLU and the Legal Aid Society. During the Fair, students gather information, network and participate in informal interviews with organizations. In the past, many organizations were able to complete their summer recruitment in this relaxed environment.


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Among the many advantages of studying law in Washington, D.C. is the opportunity to integrate practical experience with the theory of the classroom. The WCL Externship Program provides students the opportunity to receive academic credit for substantive legal work and to reflect on their experience through seminars conducted by a broad cross-section of WCL full time and adjunct faculty.

During their study at WCL, students can earn a maximum of six credits for field placements and six credits for seminar/supervision. Students must enroll in one seminar credit AND one field credit every time they extern.

Through the program, students find innumerable opportunities to gain valuable on-the-job experience by participating in fieldwork placements within any:

  • federal, state or local government agency,
  • federal, state, or administrative court/tribunal
  • not-for-profit organization, or,
  • law firm, only if they are assigned exclusively to pro bono projects

To maximize the learning opportunity of the fieldwork, students must be supervised by an attorney and must be engaged in substantive legal work. The sponsoring organization must agree to offer students the educational experience and work assignments they would receive as a beginning lawyer at that organization. To optimize the experience, students must work on site and may not work remotely.

The Honorable Stephanie Duncan-Peters meets with her extern
The Honorable Stephanie Duncan-Peters meets with her extern

The Externship Program enables students to explore various career options and other facets of becoming a lawyer, providing direction and insight for their postgraduate legal careers. The fieldwork experience is enhanced by the close supervision they receive from our faculty members by enrolling in one of a wide variety of externship seminars. Externship students must enroll in an externship seminar at WCL in conjunction with their fieldwork. The seminars are taught by full-time faculty and adjunct faculty who are leading practitioners in their respective fields. These seminars provide the forum for analysis of the fieldwork experiences through class discussion, reflective writing, and small group meetings.


Where have our students externed?