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Judicial Externships

The Judicial Externship Program is an academic program that affords second and third year students the opportunity to earn course credit through semester long clerkships with federal and state judges. Students gain valuable insight and experience learning as law clerk externs in the chambers of judges in eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. In particular, the Judicial Externship Program is intended to improve skills in case and statutory analysis, legal research and writing, as well as their grasp of procedural rules and substantive law principles. The Law School also encourages students to pursue post-graduate judicial clerkships.

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.  


Questions About Externships?

Contact Matthew McGovern
Director of Experiential Learning

Tel: 610-519-3893
Office: Room 158

Check our FAQs page

Director of Experiential Learning, Matt McGovern

Director of Experiential Learning, Matt McGovern

Matt manages the Law School’s Externship Program and teaches the classroom component of the judicial and non-judicial externship courses. Matt joined the Law School in 2007 as a librarian and legal research instructor.  He was appointed Director of Experiential Learning in 2015. Before pursuing a career at Villanova, Matt was a staff pharmacist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He also practiced law with the Maryland Attorney General’s Office where he represented the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Matt holds a J.D. from the University of Maryland and an M.S. in Library and Information Science from Drexel University.