SECURING AN EXTERNSHIP & REQUIREMENTS

The law school has over 50 approved externship placements, covering a broad range of practice areas. For current students, instructions for how to apply and enroll, as well as information on judicial externships and independent placements, are below.

All students considering an externship should review the law school's externship policy. This policy governs the approval of externship placements and sets the requirements a student must satisfy to earn academic credit through an externship. The law school has also developed administrative procedures to give effect to the provisions of the Externship Policy. This page provides an overview of the curricular rules and administrative procedures that apply to externships.

Approved externships can be obtained through Symplicity, Novasis or Employment Fairs and On-Campus Interviews. These are noted in the Approved Externships section. Externships secured through NOVASIS will automatically appear on your course schedule. When you secure an externship through one of the other methods, you must submit the Externship Enrollment Application for approval to be enrolled in the externship. Once approved, the Director of Experiential Learning will communicate with the Registrar to make sure the externship is added to your course load for the semester. After the externship is added to your course load, you may make other adjustments to your course schedule until the end of the Add/Drop period.  If you have any questions regarding whether a placement site is appropriate for the award of academic credit, please contact Matthew McGovern, Director of Experiential Learning.

  • You must complete the minimum required hours for the placement.
  • You must complete the Experiential Learning Objectives Worksheet.
  • You must maintain a journal reflecting on your experience. Your Advising Faculty Member will provide you with instructions on submitting your journal.
  • Judicial externs must attend classroom meetings with their faculty advisor for a minimum of one hour approximately every other week during the externship.
  • Non-Judicial externs must meet with their Advising Faculty Member for a minimum of one hour four times during the externship and must attend four classroom meetings organized by the Director of Experiential Learning during the externship.
  • You must submit an hours log, Field Instructor Final Report, and Course Evaluation at the conclusion of the externship. These forms are available on the Forms & Documents page. Both forms are due on or before the last day of classes.
  • Your Advising Faculty Member may have additional requirements.

Below is a list of externship placements that have been pre-approved for academic credit and how to apply for them.  

Symplicity:  Some externship opportunities are announced through Symplicity, the Law School's electronic job posting system. Application instructions are included and you submit your résumé and other application materials much like you would submit an application to a prospective employer. We regularly post these externship opportunities – check often.  Externships secured this way do not automatically appear on your course schedule.  When you receive an offer from an externship host organization, you must submit the externship enrollment application available via the link at the bottom of this page. 

  • Judicial Externship Lottery
  • The Barnes Foundation Counsel's Office
  • Brandywine Realty Trust
  • Compliance Office for the Villanova Athletics Department
  • Consumer Bankruptcy Assistance Project
  • Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
  • Philadelphia District Attorney's Office (Law Division)
  • Pennsylvania Health Law Project
  • Montgomery County District Attorney Office Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (ADR Unit)
  • Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program
  • Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Office of Disciplinary Counsel
  • UGI Corp.-Amerigas Counsel's Office
  • Wawa, Inc. Counsel's Office

NOVASIS:  Some semester externships are gained by registering via Novasis.  Like classes, participants will be selected for these externships based on the order in which they registered.  The externships for which you are permitted to apply in this manner are:

  • DA Philadelphia
  • Defender Association of Philadelphia
  • Montgomery County Public Defender
  • Villanova Capital Defense Practicum

Employment Fairs and On-Campus Interviews:  Some externships are secured through interviews or other contacts made at employment fairs held at the Law School and other sites in Philadelphia.  Externships secured this way do not automatically appear on your course schedule.  When you receive an offer from an externship host organization, you must submit the externship enrollment application available via the link at the bottom of this page.  

  • Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office (NJ)
  • Camden County Prosecutor's Office (NJ)
  • Chester County DA's Office
  • Community Legal Services
  • Montgomery County DA's Office
  • New Jersey Office of the Attorney General
  • Philadelphia DA's Office
  • Philadelphia Legal Aid
  • Pennsylvania Department of Human Relations
  • Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
  • U.S. Social Security Administration

Purpose of Independent Placements

If no available clinic or established externship offers the experience you seek, students may propose and seek approval for an independent placement. To do so, please review the law school's Externship Policy to determine whether your proposed externship experience will qualify. The policy requires an Advising Faculty Member and an identifiable Field Instructor at the placement site.

Work Time Requirements

The work time requirement for various credit amounts are as follows: 135 hours for three (3) credits; 180 hours for four (4) credits; 270 hours for six (6) credits. In special circumstances, students have been approved for fulltime, twelve (12) credit externships requiring 540 work hours during the semester. Please note that experiential hours do not include time spent conferencing with the Advising Faculty Member or commuting to and from the Field Placement.

Special Exceptions

An externship that does not comply with any aspect of the policy must be approved by the full faculty after review by the Curriculum Committee. In special circumstances, when truly unusual and valuable opportunities have presented themselves, students have obtained approval of externships outside the specific provisions of the policy.

Enrollment

Once you have secured an externship, you must submit the Externship Enrollment Form to be enrolled in the externship. If approved, you should make any necessary adjustments to your course schedule after the Registrar adds the externship to your course load for the semester.

Application periods

The Law School offers its Judicial Externship Program in the Summer, Fall and Spring semesters. The Judicial Externship enrollment and application process usually takes place approximately two months before the externships begin: in October-November for spring semester placements, in February-March for summer placements, and in June-July for fall placements. However, supplemental enrollment periods may happen at different times to fill newly available externship spots.  When the application period begins, an announcement with instructions will appear in Symplicity, the electronic job posting system.

The Externship Lottery

Each year, more than 15 judges in the Philadelphia area participate in the lottery. A majority of judicial externships are filled through the lottery for the fall and spring semesters. During the summer, more externships are arranged by students applying directly to judges' chambers rather than through the lottery. The application periods for the lottery are as follows: February for summer positions, June for fall positions, and late September for spring positions. Students who do not participate in the lottery, or who participate but are not matched with a judge, are still eligible to apply for externship credit for externships secured independently. 

The Judicial Externship is just one method for securing a temporary clerkship with a state or federal judge to experience the judicial process from the perspective of the judge and the law clerks. Students may also pursue employment with state or federal judges by applying through Career Strategy Recruitment Programs or by developing a customized job search campaign.

For more information about Villanova Law's Judicial Externship Program, please see the Judicial Externship Program Description.  

Program Characteristics

  • commitment to 8 - 10 weeks of closely guided experiential learning
  • the ability to earn three (3) experiential education academic credits through an immersive experience (grading is pass/fail)
  • a pre-summer experiential-learning based orientation that primes the experience
  • guided written reflections to support better lawyering
  • live online class meetings providing the opportunity to gain practice insights from a range of legal work settings

 Student Requirements

  • submission of externship application (deadlinethe last day of spring semester classes)
  • attendance at an experiential-learning based orientation
  • participation in two online Summer Externship class sessions, one in June and one in July (dates to be determined)
  • submission of:
    • an executed Memorandum of Understanding (due at the beginning of the externship)
    • a completed Learning Objectives Worksheet (due at the beginning of the externship)
    • a completed Time Sheet (due at the end of the externship)
    • a Supervisor's Report (due at the end of the externship)
    • a Course Evaluation (due at the end of the externship)
    • online submission (via Blackboard) of: four reflective writing assignments

Additional forms can be found here.