FAQs About Externships/Clinics
(1) Will LPP help me find an externship?
LPP students are responsible for searching for, applying to, and obtaining their own externships. However, LPP faculty and staff provide guidance regarding the types of externships that will further the specific goals of each student. Students should begin by researching potential placements of interest to them and consulting the LPP Guide to Externships and Clinics. Then, for additional information or advice regarding placement selection, contact Bryan McDermott, Director of Experiential Curriculum, at firstname.lastname@example.org and (202) 319-5996.
LPP students interested in participating in a clinic should consult the law school’s legal externships & clinics website for information.
(2) When do I need to apply for an externship?
Generally, students search for fall semester externships the summer before they wish to begin the externship and search for spring semester externships during the fall semester before they wish to begin the externship. Because LPP students ordinarily must have externships during the fall semesters of their second and third years, they normally search for fall externships during the summer before the fall semester that they need the externship.
However, please note that certain externships, such as those with the government, have particularly early deadlines due to the extensive background checks and/or security clearances required for those positions. Therefore, as soon as you know you are interested in a specific externship, contact the Office of Career and Professional Development to get information about application deadlines.
(3) How do I find an externship?
The law school hosts an externship fair at which numerous organizations recruit law student externs. These fairs are open to all law students, including first year students.
(4) Are LPP students required to have certain types of externships?LPP students generally should seek externships related to law and public policy. However, students may also participate in other externships if they have opportunities to consider the effect of public policy on particular aspects of their externships for purposes of completing class (BAPPL for 2Ls or the Public Policy Practicum for 3Ls) requirements. For example, a student in a judicial externship may encounter issues related to the ways in which sentencing guidelines affect the decision-making of various actors, such as prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges.
(5) Are LPP evening students required to complete the externships requirement?Some flexibility is permitted for the completion of externship requirements for evening students. Evening students having scheduling difficulties should discuss alternatives with Professor Colinvaux.
(6) Can I register for an externship before finding a placement?Yes. You may register for your externship (either “Legal Externship” for the 2L fall semester or “Legal Externship: Supervised Fieldwork” for the 3L fall semester) before you have secured an externship. Most students find placements before the beginning of the semester in which they will complete the externships, but some students find placements during the first two weeks of the semester. If you do not have a placement when the semester begins, you should treat your search as a top priority. Consult with your BAPPL or Public Policy Practicum instructor(s) and/or see Director Bryan McDermott, at mcdermottb@law. for assistance.
(7) I have been offered a placement, is there anything I have to do before I can accept it?Yes. You must get the placement approved before you can accept it. As soon as you have been offered a placement, you should fill out the online placement approval form to request approval from the Coordinator of Clinical Programs. The form can be found here. You will need your CUA username and password to log in. If you do not know your CUA username or password, please contact CSLHelp@law.edu.
(8) Can I participate in a clinic instead of an externship?Clinics can be taken instead of a second externship.
(9) How and when do I turn in my externship hours?All student externs must register for the TWEN site entitled “Legal Externships” and submit time logs to the “Time Log Submission Box” on the site every two weeks. Students signed up for the Legal Externship TWEN site are usually emailed reminders when externship time logs are due.
(10) What must be included in my externship time log?Each time log should list all of the following:
(a) Dates and hours worked,
(b) Tasks accomplished during those hours,
(c) The total number of hours logged during that period,
Note: Students may “count” hours spent doing research or other work for the placement at the library or elsewhere. Students may not “count” hours spent traveling to and from the placement, or hours spent at the placement doing schoolwork, socializing, etc. Because the law school is awarding academic credit based on the hours worked, students must be careful in recording hours.
(d) A running total number of hours for the semester, and
(e) A description of the work completed (without disclosing confidential information)
(11) Is there anything I have to do at the end of my externship?
Yes. At the end of each externship semester, student externs must do all of the following:
(a) Fill out the online placement evaluation form, which can be found here.
(b) Make sure your externship supervisor has submitted a letter describing your performance to:Bryan McDermottDirector of Experiential CurriculumColumbus School of LawThe Catholic University of America
Washington, D.C. 20064
(c) Make sure you have completed the required hours and submitted time logs for those hours
(d) Make sure you have completed all work assigned for the externship
(12) What is the difference between an externship and an internship?There is no difference. “Externship” is generally used to refer to placements outside (external) of the law school in which students are supervised by lawyers who are not faculty members.