Externships provide students the chance to use theories they learn in class on real cases. Students earn class credit while working with non-profits, government agencies, corporations and law firms. Students are paired with attorneys who help them develop their skills. They also work with a faculty supervisor who helps guide their learning experience. Externships allow students to serve the public, make contacts in the field, and learn skills for daily law practice.
Externship applications are usually accepted in late September for spring semester placements and late February or early March for summer and fall semester placements. Externship applications will be accepted through Symplicity.
Fall 2023 Application Period: Feb. 15 - Mar. 1, 2023
- Students must be in good academic standing with a grade point average of at least 2.2 to participate in an externship.
- Students must successfully complete all required first-year, first-semester courses or be currently enrolled in all required first-year, second-semester courses.
- Students participating in the Externship Program at a government agency, judicial or non-profit placement are subject to the Georgia Student Practice Rule. They must complete the Law Student Certification and Oath when they accept an externship. The law school will certify the student to the Office of Bar Admissions, which will assign the student a registration number.
- Some externships require 3L status because students will represent clients in court. Many (not all) of the criminal prosecution externships include this requirement.
- Several externships, particularly those in federal agencies, require a security clearance before a student can begin.
- Students who need clearance to perform legal work, but have not secured it-- within two weeks of their start date in the fall and spring and within one week of their start date in the summer-- will have to withdraw from their externship.
Students who have not previously completed an externship are required to take the Externship Seminar. This is a one-credit hour graded class.
The Externship Seminar meets every week for the first seven weeks of the semester. All Externship Seminar classes meet for an hour and 40 minutes. Absences will not be excused barring exceptional circumstances. Please refer to the class schedule for the days and times the Externship Seminar will be offered.
The externship fieldwork course is graded as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory.
The course is typically offered for three credits. Higher credit options are available for some predesignated externship placements. Part-time students may elect two credits with pre-approval from the Externship Program and the externship placement. Students must choose the number of credits they plan to take prior to class registration.
The externship fieldwork course credit breakdown is as follows:
|Academic Credit Hours||2*||3||4||5||6|
|Externship Field Work Hours (per semester)||93||140||186||233||280|
|Externship Field Work Hours x 14 weeks (Fall/Spring)||6.5||10||13.5||16.5||20|
|Externship Field Work Hours x 7 weeks (Summer)||13.5||20||26.5||33.5||40|
*This option is available for part-time students only.
Completion of Coursework
All work for externship credit must be done within the semester for which credit is to be earned.
In the absence of extraordinary circumstances, students who accept a two-semester placement, but complete only one semester of the assignment will receive no credit for either semester.
Students must work their class schedule around their planned externships. Before accepting a placement offer, discuss scheduling expectations with the site supervisor.
There is no particular schedule required by the externship program outside of the total externship course fieldwork hours. Some sites require students to be present on particular days because of court or work schedules.
Students may not frontload or backload externship hours. Students must work a minimum of 14 weeks throughout the fall or spring semester and seven consecutive weeks during the summer semester.
- Legislative Placements
Students enrolled in legislative externships during the spring semester must ensure that all externship hours are complete before the end of the legislative session.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a cost to participate in an externship?
Can I work more than one semester at the same site?
Students may extern at the same externship placement for more than one semester only if they can demonstrate that the work is substantially different from the work they plan to do in the subsequent semester and the work will provide increased educational value. Students must provide to Professor Kerew a written memo signed by the externship site supervisor that outlines this information.
Is there a limit on how many externships I can take?
Can I participate in a clinic and externship in the same semester?
Please be mindful that some external clinics will not allow a student to participate in an externship and the clinic during the same semester.
Are there any externships that aren't allowed?
Can I do more than one externship in the same semester?
What happens if I withdraw?
- A student will not be permitted to withdraw from an externship, either before or during the semester, in the absence of significant hardship.
- In the event of a significant hardship, the student must contact Professor Kerew and request permission to withdraw.
- Students who withdraw from an externship without approval will have a letter of reprimand placed in their permanent file and will not be allowed to participate in the Externship Program in the future.
- Class conflicts are not sufficient grounds for withdrawal from the program or being excused from the class component of the externship.
- Securing a paid position outside of the Externship Program will almost never be a sufficient reason for withdrawal from the program.
Does this count toward my Pro Bono hours?
Will this get me a job?
Can I be paid for my externship?
GSU Law awards academic credit for student work at externships, for which the student receives compensation, provided the requirements below have been met. This policy applies to externships during the fall, spring, and summer semesters.
An externship is considered paid if the extern receives any financial compensation, provided by the placement or another outside source, while also receiving academic credit. Financial compensation can include, but is not limited to: an hourly/weekly/monthly wage, stipend, fellowship, and/or grant. Such financial compensation can be provided by the field placement OR another outside source. GSU Law does not provide any payment for externships.
A student's time may not be billed in any externship
Regardless of pay status, both the student and supervisor must abide by all of the requirements, rules, and regulations surrounding externships for credit.
Students cannot record paid externship hours toward Pro Bono.
Site Supervisor Resources
Thank you for your interest in participating in the Georgia State Law Externship Program. The training and mentorship that site supervisors give our students better prepares them to be ethical, responsible and effective lawyers. Our site supervisors provide students with a significant educational experience and one-on-one mentoring.
Since the heart of the externship experience is on-site legal work, the site supervisors serve as the teachers and mentors at the externship placement. Accordingly, site supervisors are carefully screened to ensure they will provide students with meaningful legal work, mentor students, provide extensive feedback on student work, timely submit student evaluations, and otherwise comply with program requirements.
Externship Program Support
85 Park Place NE
Atlanta, GA 30303
A. EXTERNSHIP SITE SUPERVISOR’S RESPONSIBILITIES
- The externship site description as posted on the Georgia State University College of Law externship website along with the student extern’s completed Goals Form describes the substantial lawyering experience and opportunities for performance available to the student extern.
- I will ensure that each extern has a supervising attorney who will be primarily responsible for the supervision of the student extern at the externship site, as outlined below in Section B. If I am serving as the supervising attorney as well as the site supervisor, I agree to the responsibilities outlined below in Section B.
- I will ensure that the externship site facilitates a method of orientation, which shall include a discussion of the rules, policies, procedures, methods, and operation of the externship site, confidentiality rules, and an overview of the work and expectations of the student extern.
- I will secure a designated workspace for the student extern, and provide him/her access to system networks and any other resources necessary for the student extern to complete assignments.
- I will maintain email and/or telephone communication with the faculty supervisor regarding any relevant issues related to the student extern, supervising attorney, and/or the externship site.
B. SUPERVISING ATTORNEY’S RESPONSIBILITIES
- I have authority or have been delegated authority to supervise the student extern and designate a portion of my work time to supervising the student extern.
- I accept primary responsibility for supervision of the student extern at the externship site.
- I will supervise and mentor the student extern throughout the semester.
- I will meet with the student extern at the start of the semester to review and sign the Goals Form, which sets forth the student extern’s goals/expectations for the externship, and will approve stated goals/expectations only if it appears that the student extern will have the opportunity to achieve them. I will also indicate any additional goals/expectations I have for the student extern.
- I will have a discussion with the student extern about the externship site’s confidentiality rules at the start of the semester, and will review and sign the Confidentiality Form completed by the student extern.
- I will review and sign the Conflicts Form completed by the student extern at the start of the semester and will discuss and resolve any potential conflicts identified.
- I will complete the Preliminary Performance Assessment at mid-semester and will meet with the student extern to review his/her performance and to discuss whether the student extern is meeting all identified goals/expectations.
- I will complete the Student Evaluation Form at the end of the semester and will meet with the student to discuss his/her performance, and provide specific, individualized feedback regarding the student extern’s overall performance.
- In assigning work, I will clearly describe the task to be completed, set forth my objectives for the assignment, and discuss the relationship of the work to the larger substantive, procedural and/or practical issues pertaining to the matter assigned.
- As appropriate, I will include the student extern in discussions of strategy and implementation that arise out of matters handled by the externship site.
- In general, I will not assign the student extern clerical tasks (filing, library updating, photocopying, etc.).
- In supervising the student extern, I will keep in mind the objectives of the externship course: to explore the student extern’s developing professional identity as a lawyer; to develop practices necessary to self-directed professional learning, including goal-setting and reflective skills for future law practice; to develop strategies to help initiate and sustain professional relationships; to develop strategies to facilitate working with others toward a common goal; to develop a deeper understanding of key communication skills; to develop strategies to interact effectively with people across cultural differences; to develop a sense of professional responsibility; to develop time management techniques including timekeeping, meeting deadlines and managing multiple assignments; and to observe and critique a specific practice area and how the legal system works.
- I will be available to meet with the student extern as needed to provide support and feedback on assignments.
- I will consistently provide timely, specific feedback to the student extern on his/her work. The feedback will constructively assess his/her lawyering skills and advise the extern on his/her strengths and areas of improvement.
- I will ensure compliance with O.C.G.A. §§ 15-19-50, 15-19-51 and 15-19-56 pertaining to the unauthorized practice of law and Georgia Supreme Court Rules 91-95.
C. STUDENT EXTERN RESPONSIBILITIES
- I will perform the assigned work at my externship site for the total hours required based on the number of S/U externship credit hours I have registered for this semester in no less than 14 weeks without the express permission of my externship site and faculty supervisor.
- I understand that the purpose of the externship program is to grant me the opportunity to receive hands-on lawyering experience and, in doing so, I must be familiar with and abide by the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct and other rules, guidelines, or policies applicable to my externship site.
- I will articulate specific, measurable goals and discuss both my goals and strategies for achieving them with my supervising attorney at the beginning of the semester. I will assess my progress in meeting my articulated goals throughout the semester.
- I will meet separately with my supervising attorney and with my faculty supervisor at mid-semester and at the end of the semester.
- I will complete the academic component of the externship program, which includes participating in the externship seminar (if applicable) and the timely submission of all evaluations, reflection papers, timesheets, and/or other assignments required by my faculty supervisor.
- I will reflect on and self-assess my lawyering competencies throughout the externship experience.
D. FACULTY SUPERVISOR RESPONSIBILITIES
- I will review all forms submitted by the student extern to ensure that he/she is adhering to the requirements of the externship program and that the student extern is receiving substantial lawyering experience.
- I will review the student extern’s signed Goals Form at the beginning of the semester to ensure that the student extern has articulated specific goals that are in line with the purpose of the externship program.
- I will review the student extern’s signed Confidentiality Form to confirm that the student is abiding by the confidentiality rules of the externship site when engaged in class discussion, if applicable, and when completing class assignments.
- I will meet with the student extern at the middle and end of the semester to discuss his/her progress on meeting his/her goals and to provide an opportunity for the student extern to express any questions or concerns regarding his/her externship experience. I will also be available throughout the semester should any concerns or issues arise.
- I will evaluate the student extern’s academic performance throughout the semester based upon performance in the externship seminar (if applicable), reflection papers, timesheets, evaluations completed by the student extern and/or supervising attorney, and any other relevant information.
- I will regularly communicate with the site supervisor and/or supervising attorney about the student extern and the externship site.
The training and mentorship that our Externship Program site supervisors give our students is invaluable in preparing them to be ethical, responsible and effective lawyers. We thank you for your willingness to become directly involved with our program. We could not offer this enriching educational experience to our students without your partnership.
Georgia State Law is a member of the Georgia Association of Legal Externships (GALE), which includes Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Emory University School of Law, Mercer University School of Law and the University of Georgia School of Law.
To ensure you and your office have an equally rewarding experience while working with Georgia State Law externs, we have prepared these resources.
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