Externship Registration

All Externships must be approved by the Curriculum Committee before a student will be allowed to begin working. Students must be registered and pay the tuition for externships in order to receive credit. Because of American Bar Association regulations, students cannot receive academic credit for an externship for which they are compensated.

Pre-Approved Externships

Look at the list of externships that are available for the semester. You will find a wide variety of transactional and litigation options. Some require students to be chosen in competition with students from many law schools. The list includes information about how to apply – some direct you to the Faculty Supervisor, and others require that you first apply directly to the placement itself. Follow those directions. The sooner you begin this process, the better. Multiple students may be applying, the faculty member may have only a limited number of slots available, and some externships require a security clearance before you can begin work.

Student-Initiated Externships

If you have secured a legal position at a court, non-profit organization, or government agency where you will be supervised by an attorney, and you will not be paid for your work, it may be possible to turn that position into an externship for credit, BUT ONLY: 1) if it will include the kind of supervision, reflection, and feedback required by these rules; 2) you find a faculty member willing to act as the Faculty Supervisor for that externship; 3) you and the faculty member complete this New Externship Application Form and submit it to the Curriculum Committee; and 4) the Curriculum Committee approves it before you begin your work.

All Externships

  1. If you are selected for a pre-approved externship, or your student-initiated externship has been approved by the Curriculum Committee, print this Externship Registration Permission Form, fill it out, get the Faculty Supervisor to sign it, and take it to the law school Registrar’s office for processing. Be sure to indicate the number of credit hours and the semester to which those hours should be applied. The hours will be added to your schedule and payment will be due by the applicable deadline for that semester.
  2. The credit will be posted to your transcript once the Registrar has received notice from the Faculty Supervisor that you have successfully completed the requirements for the externship. Externships are graded Pass/Fail.
  3. The credit will not affect your cumulative GPA, but will count toward the hours needed for graduation. Externships do not count toward SMU’s six-hour maximum for non-graded courses. Note, however, that ABA rules require students to earn at least 64 hours’ credit through “courses that require attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction.” Externships do not qualify for these 64 required hours. Before registering for an externship, please consult with the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs or the Registrar if you are uncertain about whether you are on track to accumulate the 64 required hours.
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