Externship Requirements

SMU DEDMAN SCHOOL OF LAW
Externship Requirements

 
  1. All externships for credit must provide substantial lawyering experience that is reasonably similar to the experience of a lawyer advising or representing a client or engaging in other lawyering tasks under the supervision of a licensed attorney or an individual otherwise qualified to supervise (hereinafter Field Supervisor).

  2. All externships for credit must include the following: 
    1. direct supervision of the student’s performance by the Faculty Supervisor member or Field Supervisor;
    2. opportunities for performance, feedback from either the Faculty Supervisor or a Field Supervisor, and self-evaluation;
    3. a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or other written understanding among the student, the Faculty Supervisor, and a person in authority at the placement that describes both (A) the substantial lawyering experience and opportunities for performance, feedback and self-evaluation; and (B) the respective roles of Faculty Supervisor and Field Supervisor in supervising the student and in assuring the educational quality of the experience for the student, including a clearly articulated method of evaluating the student’s academic       performance;
    4. a method for selecting, training, evaluating and communicating with Field Supervisors, including regular contact between the Faculty and Field Supervisors through in-person visits or other methods of communication that will assure the quality of the student educational experience.
    5. a classroom instructional component, regularly scheduled tutorials, or other means of ongoing, contemporaneous, faculty-guided reflection;
    6. evaluation of each student’s educational achievement by the Faculty Supervisor; and
    7. sufficient control of the student experience to ensure that the requirements of these rules and ABA Standard 304 are met.

  3. The faculty has approved 3 externship courses: Federal Judicial Externship; Corporate Counsel Externship; and Government & Public Interest Externship. Each course is headed by a Faculty Supervisor, who supervises all of the field placements within the course. Students enrolling in an externship in the Corporate Counsel Externship or Federal Judicial Externship Programs must concurrently enroll in the classroom component, and may take that externship only once.  Students enrolling in the externships in the Government & Public Interest Program must concurrently enroll in the classroom component the first time they take such an externship.  If a student subsequently enrolls in another externship in the Government & Public Interest Program, the student will be supervised by a Faculty Supervisor who will provide other means of ongoing, contemporaneous, faculty-guided reflection and comply with all of the other requirements of these rules. 

  4. The Faculty Supervisors who teach the externship courses may approve new field placements with the approval of the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. To be approved by the Faculty Supervisor & Associate Dean, any new field placement must meet all of the requirements of these rules and ABA Standard 304. Every field placement requires a written understanding among the Field Supervisor, Student, and Faculty Supervisor that meets the requirements of Rule 2(c). The Curriculum Committee may approve new externship placements that fall outside the structure provided by these rules, so long as they comply with ABA Standard 304. 

  5. The Faculty Supervisor of the Government & Public Interest Program and the Office of Career Services will work together to maintain and publicize an accurate list of approved externships so that students will have access to current information about available field placements. The Faculty Supervisors will provide a list of actual student placements in the spring semester by February 1st of each year, and of summer and fall placements by September 15th of each year, to the deans for academic affairs, student affairs, and clinics.

  6. Limits on Externship Credit.
    1. No field placement may be awarded more than 6 hours of credit.
    2. No student may apply more than 6 externship field placement credits toward the 87 credits required for the J.D.  Credits earned for the classroom components do not count toward this 6 credit limit.

  7. Externship students are graded Credit/No Credit for their field placement work absent approval by the Curriculum Committee of an alternative grading system.  Classroom components, however, may be graded on the usual law school scale. 

  8. To be eligible to enroll in an externship, the student must have successfully completed sufficient prerequisites or shall receive sufficient contemporaneous training to assure the quality of the student educational experience.  A student on academic probation may not enroll in an externship. 

  9. J.D. students who are applying for an externship for credit have priority over LL.M. students and J.D. students who wish to enroll in the externship for no credit. LL.M. students must have the prior approval of the Graduate Committee to be eligible to enroll in an externship. 

  10. A student extern must work a minimum of 60 hours per semester at the field placement for every credit hour earned at the field placement unless otherwise approved by the Curriculum Committee. 

  11. The student may not be compensated for any work done at the externship placement.  With the prior approval of the Faculty Supervisor, a student may receive reimbursement for the reasonable expenses incurred as part of the field placement. 

  12. A  J.D. degree candidate at this law school may not enroll in an externship while attending another school without the prior approval of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.  If the externship has not been previously approved by the other law school, the externship must be approved by the Curriculum Committee. 

  13. The Field Supervisor must evaluate the performance of the extern student(s) in writing (which includes electronic communications) twice during a full-semester externship. The first evaluation must be done at mid-semester, the second at the end of the externship.  The Field Supervisor must send copies of the evaluations to the Faculty Supervisor. As soon as possible thereafter, both the Field and Faculty Supervisors must meet with the student to discuss the evaluations.  The Faculty Supervisor must keep copies of these evaluation forms for at least three years. 

  14. The student extern must complete two written evaluations of the student’s own work and of the Field Supervisor, at mid-semester and at the conclusion of the externship. The student must give a copy of the evaluations to the Faculty Supervisor. 

  15. While working at the extern placement, the student must keep a record of the dates and times spent at the placement, the nature of the work done, and for whom it was done. The log must be submitted to the Faculty Supervisor on a regular basis. The student’s work product must be submitted to the Faculty Supervisor on a regular basis during the student’s tenure at the externship, unless providing the work product would violate the legal duties or policies regarding confidentiality of the placement. The student will regularly communicate with the Faculty Supervisor (in a manner to be specified) the student’s reflections on the externship experience and self-evaluation of the student’s work. 

  16. Either in the form of an essay, research paper, a journal, or other writing, each student must submit to the Faculty Supervisor at the end of the externship an evaluation of the student’s educational experience while working at the externship placement. This evaluation should include a critical self-evaluation by the student reflecting how the placement has changed or improved the student’s legal skills and values, and how the experience contributed to the student’s understanding of the legal system and the role of lawyers and judges therein.


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