Experiential Learning

In addition to enrolling in cutting-edge courses, the Program's location in Washington, D.C. provides unparalleled learning opportunities. Up to 6 of the 24 credits required for the LL.M. in Law and Government degree may be for out-of-classroom learning opportunities, including externships and independent studies.


Externships are a critical way to fuse the classroom experience at Washington College of Law with the greater Washington, D.C. classroom. Students can engage in legal work in a number of organizations in the D.C. area.* Fieldwork experience is enhanced by regular advising sessions with the externship professor and supervising attorney. Externships expand a student's network of contacts and provide hands-on experience in a specialized area of interest.

Each semester LL.M. in Law and Government students extern in a variety of places. Recent externships include:

  • Center for American Progress, LGBT team
  • Campaign Legal Center
  • D.C. Office of the Attorney General
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • DHS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement- Human Rights Law Section
  • Embassy of Chile
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • Maryland Aviation Administration, Office of the Attorney General
  • National Abortion Federation
  • National Association of Federal Credit Unions
  • Pan American Health Organization
  • Project Vote
  • Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI)
  • The World Bank
  • U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
  • U.S. Departmen of Interior, Office of Inspector General
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Immigration Litigation
  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • U.S. Senate

Students obtain externships in a variety of ways, including applying for positions listed in the Law School's regularly updated Externship Database, applying directly to organizations of interest, attending WCL's annual Externship Fair, and working with the Program's faculty and staff to identify organizations of interest.

Current students may register for an externship online at www.wcl.american.edu/llm/externship.

*International students on an F-1 or J-1 visa may be subject to limitations regarding externships and internships. Please contact the Program for more complete details.

Student Feedback

Students who recently completed externships shared feedback about their experiences and the benefits of completing an externship.

"This externship will further my career goals because it provided substantive experience in my issues of interest, helped me become familiar with the workings of a prominent advocacy group, and introduced me to a whole new range of people in my field."

"This externship allowed me to hone my legal research and writing skills... I was able to apply these skills that I learned in law school to an area of law that I actually want to practice and have an interest in litigating."

"I was supervised by my attorney who... offered feedback on all assignments and weekly lunch meetings to discuss cases, issues, and career advice."

"Working in a legislative environment is unique, challenging, and exciting."

Independent Study Credits

With the prior approval of the Associate Director and a sponsoring faculty member, students may earn credit through independent study. A student pursuing independent study will, under the supervision of a faculty member, research and write about a U.S. public law topic of interest to the student. Each independent study credit hour equals approximately 25 double-spaced typed pages of text. In the past, students have found the independent study a means to delve deeply into a specific topic with the personalized attention of an expert faculty member. In some cases, students will use the independent study to prepare for future publication.