(Revised October 2012)
The faculty recognizes the value of externship placements as a means of achieving educational and professional objectives such as developing or enhancing professional skills and responsibility, improving legal research and writing skills, and acquiring knowledge of legal process and practice, as well as knowledge of specific substantive areas of the law and establishing professional relationships with practitioners in the legal community. The faculty therefore adopts the following policy governing externships.
An externship program may be approved by the Dean or the Dean's designate, without being presented to the Faculty for approval, if it meets the following criteria:
1. It is proposed or supported by a faculty member.
2. The student is placed with a public agency, not-for-profit organization, the legal department of a private entity, or a law firm (hereinafter referred to as the host organization).
3. The student will be supervised by one attorney at the host organization (hereinafter referred to as the supervising attorney), but may work also with other attorneys actively involved in the work of the host organization.
4. The student will meet with the sponsoring faculty member for at least one hour every other week during the semester. The meeting need not be an individual meeting, but may be a meeting of a group of students involved in similar or related externship placements. The meeting may take place electronically if the student is in an externship remote from the Law School.
5. The student will keep a journal or log of activities at the host organization. The faculty member will review and evaluate the log at least every other week.
6. The faculty member will discuss the planned experience for the semester with the supervising attorney before the externship commences and will discuss the progress of the externship with the supervising attorney periodically during the semester. The faculty member is required periodically to visit the host organization unless the externship bears only three credits or if the host organization is remote from the Law School. If the host organization is remote from the Law School and the externship bears four or more credits, the faculty member must arrange to have a representative from a different law school visit the host organization as a proxy, unless the faculty member is able to visit in person.
7. The externship should expose the student to substantive aspects of legal practice in the host organization. The student's time should not be spent on clerical work except to the extent it is a normal incident of the law-related experience in the host organization. The externship experiences should normally include several of the following:
8. The faculty member will engage the student(s) in critical evaluation of the externship. The faculty member and student(s) will normally discuss the professional experience at the host agency, identify legal and ethical issues raised by the externship experience, and explore the issues of substantive law or procedure that relate to the student(s) experience while maintaining appropriate confidentiality.
9. The number of credits earned by the student will be proportionate to the amount of time the student is required to spend on the work of the externship, not including time the student spends conferencing with the faculty supervisor or commuting. The time allocated to the externship should normally be spent at the host agency. The following are approved credit allocations:
10. Externship credits will be awarded on an Honors, Pass, or Fail basis. The student’s grade should be determined by the supervising attorney at the host organization in consultation with the faculty member.
Third year students will be given preference for enrollment in externships. No student will be permitted to earn more than 9 externship credits without the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; these credits are counted toward the total of 13 non-instructional credits that a student is permitted to take without approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The credits a student receives for participation in an externship program will be included when computing the student's total clinical credits, which are subject to a cap of 16 credits.
12. Proposing a new externship program:
The student or faculty member who wishes to propose an externship placement has the burden to make the case and put together the necessary record. The program proposed must meet the standard requirements of other externships as outlined above. A faculty member must agree to serve as the faculty sponsor. If the externship is geographically removed from the greater Philadelphia area, the faculty sponsor may supervise the student through a combination of videoconferencing, phone conferencing, and written exchanges. The following criteria will be used to evaluate proposed new externships:
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Director of Experiential Learning
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Through Villanova Law's Summer Externship Program, you can earn 3 academic credits by working during the summer in a judicial chambers, government office, non-profit organization, or private firm.
To be eligible for summer externship credit, you must attend the Summer Externship Orientation, which is held each May. Additional details about the Summer Externship Orientation will be posted as the summer approaches.