Seminars/Supervision

Externship Seminar Goals and Learning Outcomes

The following are the goals and learning outcomes common to all WCL externship seminars.  Individual course syllabi may also include learning outcomes specific to the class.

Reflection allows us to learn from mistakes, build on what we learn and apply those lessons to our future actions.  We can be purposeful in our decision-making and take responsibility for our choices.  Through self-awareness and reflection we can identify and articulate challenges, develop solutions, and learn from our experience. 

1) Goal:  Assist students to develop practical skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a legal workplace.

Learning Outcome: Students will be introduced to and develop a basic understanding of the personal and practical skills and knowledge that they will need to successfully transition from being a law student into a lawyer and to succeed in their first legal jobs. This might include presentation skills, time management, negotiations, billing, client contact, advocacy skills, use of social media,  building relationships with colleagues, staff and supervisors and additional skills relevant to legal practice. 

2) Goal: Provide opportunities for students to reflect upon and critically examine their externship field placement experiences.

Learning Outcome: Students will critically examine their externship experience and demonstrate insights orally (presentations, class discussions and other interactive exercises) and in writing (journals, papers, and other assignments). They will connect fieldwork experiences to seminar readings, class discussions and other coursework and engage in self-evaluation of their performance.

3) Goal:  Encourage students to engage in self-assessment, set goals and take an active role in optimizing the field placement experience.

Learning Outcome:  Students will assess their skills and knowledge, set goals (learning outcomes) for their externships with their supervisors, and devise strategies to accomplish these goals.  Students will take a proactive role in obtaining feedback, guidance and mentoring from supervisors and colleagues and will manage workplace relationships. 

4) Goal: Explore professionalism, professional identity and ethical boundaries within legal practice.

Learning Outcome: Students will examine their professional identities as lawyers, including work/life choices, and demonstrate an understanding of professionalism.  They will be able to recognize ethical issues arising in the legal workplace such as the duties/bounds of zealous advocacy, and reflecting upon issues related to bias and diversity and the lawyer’s obligation to promote justice.

5) Goals:  Ensure students understand the control they exercise over their careers and ways in which to leverage their externships to meet their career goals.

Learning Outcome: Students will explore legal practice in different settings and their own career choices, reflecting on their interests and values.  They will be able to create career development strategies that highlight the knowledge, skills and experience gained in their externships, and will be able to communicate their personal narratives through networking, informal meetings, social media and the job application process.

Methods of Assessment

Externship Seminars use a number of forms of assessment to determine whether the goals and learning outcomes for the course are being met.  They generally include:

  • Class participation
  • Journals
  • In-class presentations
  • Group work
  • Goals meeting and memorandum/form
  • Mid-semester self-evaluation
  • End-of-semester presentations
  • Final paper

Students are responsible for submitting properly executed time logs, journals, initial supervisor meeting form and, mid-semester self-evaluation.

Seminar/Supervision Options

The externship students field work experiences are enhanced by the close supervision they receive from faculty members, by participating in one of the following:

Note: All students participating in an externship must be supervised by faculty or must be enrolled in an externship seminar.

To see how your field placement credits and your seminar/supervision credits add up, see Doing the Math.


Three-credit Externship Seminar
(graded A-F)

Most students participating in the externship program enroll in one of the three credit externship seminars. Externship seminar students meet weekly to share perspectives on the work experience and to discuss and reflect upon issues relating the practice of law.

Some of these seminars are open to students with a wide range of field placements, while others are organized around placements in particular specialty areas.

To read more about the pedagogical goals of the externship seminar, click here.

Requirements

The requirements for each externship seminar are different, and are listed in each professor's course syllabus. Syllabi are generally available from the Externship Office, prior to the commencement of classes. All seminars will require the following:

  • Weekly seminar classes

    Spring/Fall:
    1 hr. 50 min. per week (14 week semester) plus small group supervision meetings

    Summer:
    2 hrs. 50 min. per week (9 week semester) plus small group supervision meetings

  • 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 student's journal entries as a starting point. Generally, these meetings take place every other week.

  • Weekly journals reflecting on the externship experience

  • Reading assignments

  • A substantial written project (generally one 10-15 page research or reflective paper, or a series of shorter papers assigned throughout the semester)

  • Other assignments or combination of projects, such as class presentations, simulations.

Advanced Supervision
(1 credit--pass/fail)

The Advanced Supervision seminar is for students who have already participated in a three-credit externship seminar.

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:

  • Participation: Seminar Classes
    • Fall & Spring: The advance seminar meets 8 times for 50 minutes over the course of the semester. The seminar typically meets every week for the first three of weeks and then every other week for the rest of the semester. Bi-weekly journals reflecting on the externship experience.
    • Summer: During the summer semester, the seminar will meet weekly and journals will also be due weekly.
  • Students must submit weekly journals reflecting on the externship experience. Students must follow their Professor’s guidelines and requirements regarding format, length and submission. Go into further detail about the typical range in length?
  • Reading assignments

  • A substantial written project

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

  • Other assignments/ projects?

  • Contemporaneous 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 - Summer Only
(1 credit--pass/fail)

Small Group Supervision Seminar (summer only)

During the summer semester, the Externship Program provides one-credit small group seminars for those students who do not wish to take the three-credit externship seminar

Requirements

  • Students are required to meet once each week per the seminar schedule.

    Topics covered may include: the progress of the externship, goals, problems, insights and strategies for getting the most out of the externship experiences; and reflection on broader issues concerning the practice of law that relate to observations and experiences in the field.

  • Weekly journals reflecting on the externship experience

  • A substantial written project (generally one 8-10 page research or reflective paper, or a series of shorter papers assigned throughout the semester)

Individual Supervision
(1 credit--pass/fail)

Individual Supervision by a Faculty member (fall and spring only)

During the Spring and Fall semesters, students unable to attend a three-credit externship seminar 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

  • Students are required to meet with their professor between 5-7 hours per semester.

    Topics covered may include: the progress of the externship, goals, problems, insights and strategies for getting the most out of the externship experiences; and reflection on broader issues concerning the practice of law that relate to observations and experiences in the field.

  • Bi-weekly journals reflecting on the externship experience
  • A substantial written project (generally one 10-15 page research or reflective paper, or a series of shorter papers assigned throughout the semester)

  • 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.