Externship Seminar (LAW-769-004)
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This is a two-credit seminar to be taken in conjunction with a field placement in a court, government agency, or non-profit organization. Students in all types of field placements are welcome. Externship seminars offer students a chance to engage in critical thinking about the legal profession; providing deeper insights into the various fields and opportunities within the practice of law. The overall goal of this course is to provide you with a framework for reflecting on and learning from your externship experience, beyond the substantive legal work you will be involved in. Developing the capacity to reflect on and examine critically your goals at this stage in your career will prove invaluable as you enter the profession after graduation. We will explore why you want to practice law; evaluate how your goals and career choices align with your interests; and talk about the ways you can maximize your sense of fulfillment as a legal professional. We will also look at various challenges and issues that arise in the practice of law. Topics are likely to include the nature of law practice in different settings (including private firms, public interest organizations, and government agencies), learning effectively from supervision, connecting legal theory to legal practice, balancing your personal and professional life, and navigating complex situations involving legal ethics. Additional topics may include theories of bureaucracy and its effects on lawyering, networking as a powerful tool, and issues of gender, race, and other immutable characteristics in the legal profession. Students are encouraged to explore their professional development through discussions of critique and self-evaluation, the transition from school to work, and career goals and planning. The format of the class will be discussion-based and may include simulations, role-playing, and sometimes voting on issues. Required written work includes a goals memorandum, weekly journal entries, and two 5-page reflective papers. Other writing may be assigned. Additionally, toward the end of the semester, each student will prepare an in-class presentation on a topic of interest that relates in some way to the course. The class will meet weekly (Tuesday, from 4:00 pm to 5:50 pm). General learning outcomes and assessment methods for all WCL externship seminars are available at https://www.wcl.american.edu/externship/seminars.cfm.
Textbooks and Other Materials
The textbook information on this page was provided by the instructor. Students should use this information when considering purchases from the AU Campus Store or other vendors. Students may check to determine if books are currently available for purchase online.
REQUIRED: Leah Wortham, Alexander Scherr, Nancy Maurer, and Susan Brooks, Learning from Practice (West Academic 3rd Edition 2016) - ISBN: 9781634596183. I will attempt to obtain a pay-by-chapter option, so I recommend holding off on purchasing the entire book.
First Class Readings
Please read through the course syllabus prior to the first class.