Turn Your Aspirations into Practice

There is no place for law students quite like the nation’s capital. With government agencies, international organizations, top law firms, and numerous NGOs located within a short metro ride of American University Washington College of Law, opportunities to gain practical experience and to access DC’s greatest legal minds abound.

While law students from other areas are limited to summers or a single semester in DC, AUWCL students hone their skills and build resumes year round at federal government agencies, international organizations, and top NGOs. Jamie Rosenberg ’19 completed a legal internship at the Department of Justice Civil Division following her 1L year.
Each year, more than 500 AUWCL students participate in DC-area legal externships and internships. Our law school is home to the largest single-school Externship Fair of its kind, welcoming more than 150 employers to campus each January.
Through our Externship Program, students receive academic credit for unpaid legal work performed in courts, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and most recently, in-house counsel corporate placements.
Externships at sites such as the International Monetary Fund, Department of State, or the World Bank help students gain international exposure.
During his time at American University, Allen Liu ’18 interned at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and the Department of Justice. Today he is completing a post-graduate clerkship at DC Superior Court!

Year-Round Access to Top DC Externships and Internships

Top Programs with a DC Focus

Washington, DC Capitol Building

Our location in the nation's capital allows the entire city to become an extension of the classroom. An American University Washington College of Law education builds upon the first year doctrinal courses with a wide variety of experiential opportunities as you enter your second year and beyond. And our 8.5 acre campus connects students with hundreds of DC internship and externship opportunities each year. See examples of our government and policy-related programs below.

Our location in Washington, DC gives American University Washington College of Law access to the greatest legal minds the nation’s capital has to offer, and our innovative programs continuously invite policymakers and top speakers to campus to address today’s hottest topics. At AUWCL, you will hear from, meet, and network with the best!
Over the years, U.S. Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer (seen here), Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonya Sotomayor, Antonin Scalia, and more have given keynote addresses and met with students at AUWCL. Justice Ginsburg gave the keynote address at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for opening of our new law campus!
Our law school welcomed David Hogg, Samantha Fuentes, and Jaclyn Corin –  survivors of the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – to campus last fall, where they talked about their experiences and how they aim to promote positive change in the areas of gun law reform and voter registration.
David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity investment firms, based in Washington, DC addressed students, faculty, and staff at an event sponsored by the JD-MBA Club and the Business Law Program.
Then Attorney General Loretta Lynch delivers the address at AUWCL’s spring 2016 Commencement. Lynch, who received an honorary doctor of laws degree from AUWCL as part of the ceremony, encouraged the class to face the choices ahead, and to truly live by our motto to “Champion What Matters.”
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim discusses opportunities and challenges in developing nations during a visit to the law school in 2018. The discussion focused on the World Bank’s efforts of tackling ongoing global challenges, and the role technology plays in the development of rich and poor countries.
AUWCL hosted the largest gathering of minority legal scholars in history at the Fourth National People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference in March 2019. The keynote conversation, moderated by AUWCL Professor Angela J. Davis (left), featured President of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund  Sherrilyn Ifill and AU Professor Ibram Kendi.
Vanita Gupta, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference, delivered the commencement address to AUWCL graduates in 2018. Gupta (center) is pictured with AU President Sylvia M. Burwell and Dean Camille A. Nelson.
Congressman Jamie Raskin, who represents Maryland’s 8th District, speaks at the 20th anniversary of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project. Raskin was a professor at AUWCL until fall 2018 and he founded the Marshall-Brennan Project along with Professor Stephen Wermiel.

Conferences and Symposia Bring the World to AUWCL

Faculty With a DC Impact

Professor Jeremi Duru
Professor Jeremi Duru

This is a law school with tremendous faculty who are both practitioners and top scholars in their fields. They take on some of the latest issues in intellectual property, international law, environmental law, and more. Our professors have connections in Washington, DC, and around the world, and they stand ready to introduce you to their networks and work side by side with students in our specialized programs. Check out a few of our faculty members’ latest activities, congressional testimony, and service outside the classroom.

The Environmental Law Society (ELS) is a student organization dedicated to creating an awareness of current environmental matters. The ELS keeps students and the community informed of important issues in environmental law and policy, promotes scholarship, and provides opportunities to protect the natural environment and its irreplaceable creatures.
The AUWCL Equal Justice Foundation (EJF) is a student-run organization dedicated to closing the justice gap for the most vulnerable members of our community. EJF raises funds to provide stipends to AUWCL students who take unpaid summer internships with public interest organizations. Since 1989, EJF has given out nearly 1,000 stipends.
The AUWCL Pro Bono Honors Pledge program – committing to completing 75 hours of pro bono and community services projects – recognizes the voluntary, uncompensated work undertaken by AUWCL students while at the law school on behalf of low-income and underrepresented populations or for the public good.
Simply put, our In My Back Yard (IMBY) Day of Service sets the tone for the spirit of public service that pervades at AUWCL as students, faculty, and staff spend a day volunteering at community-oriented organizations all over the District. For 1Ls, IMBY is a fun way to kick off orientation week, get out and see the city, and meet new classmates in a relaxed environment.

Public Interest – Your Opportunity to Give Back