Levin College of Law

Externship Program

Welcome from the Director of Externship Programs

Welcome to the University of Florida Levin College of Law Academic Externship Program. Each year, between 250 and 300 Levin law students participate in academic externships and our intensive Semester in Practice Program. Externships combine work experience in a law practice setting with an academic component and allow students to earn academic credit for their experiences. Student pay for externship credits like any other course.

On a year-round basis, our students participate in a wide variety of externships at sites throughout the United States, including local public defenders’ offices, the United Nations, Judge Advocate Generals’ offices, state and federal trial and appellate courts, and corporate in-house counsel, to name just a few places where our students have worked.

We encourage students to participate in externships in order to: begin applying the doctrine learned in school to the practice of law; explore practice areas in which they have an interest; develop the professional skills needed in their future careers; develop a career network; and begin creating their legal resumes.

Our office works with students to identify existing opportunities that match the student’s interests or to find new opportunities.

We also work with attorneys and judges who express an interest in working with our students. If you are interested in becoming an approved externship site, please see the information below.

Thank you for your interest in our program. We look forward to working with you!

Silvia Menendez
Associate Dean for Experiential Learning

Overview

All externships are made up of two parts: a field placement and an academic component.

Permissible Field Placement Sites:

Courts – Federal and State, Trial and Appellate

State and Federal Agencies, including State’s Attorneys and Public Defenders; US Attorneys

Local Agencies, including City and County Attorneys

Nonprofit Legal Services and Advocacy Organizations

In-house counsel for non-profit and for-profit organizations

Students may access a list of currently available and previously approved externships on Symplicity. Students may also propose new field placement sites that fit within the permissible types. Students wishing to have a new placement approved must submit the application early during the semester prior to the proposed externship (See the Externship Calendar for deadlines).

The Academic Component

During their externships, students are closely supervised by lawyers and judges at the field placement as well as by a faculty member who provides the academic framework for the placement. Depending upon the time of year, a faculty supervisor provides academic guidance through an online class or one-on-one tutorial. All students participating in an externship are required to complete the academic portion of the externship in order to receive a passing grade.

For second-semester third-year law students, a more intensive version of the externship program is available through Semester in Practice (SIP). SIP students spend the entire spring semester working between 18 and 36 hours per week in an externship located where the student wishes to practice after graduation. During our first SIP, students participated in externships in South Florida and Washington, DC.

Externships are a class, so students register and pay for credits like any other course. Financial aid is available for the academic year and summer externships; please see the Office of Financial Aid in Student Affairs for detailed information.

Externship Eligibility

In order for a student to participate in an externship, the student must have completed the first year of law school. SIP has additional eligibility requirements; please see below.

All students who intend to participate in an externship must attend an externship orientation held towards the end of the semester prior to the externship.

Externships during the Summer: 2-6 credits

SIP externships during the Spring Semester- 6-10 credits

Finding an Externship

Prospective externs are responsible for identifying and securing a position at an approved externship site. Although the externship program does not place students in externships, it has a list of previously approved externship sites. A student who is interested in working at a site that has not been approved needs to obtain all the information necessary for approval and submit the request for approval to the Director of Academic Externships. Approval of a proposed externship is not guaranteed, and any request for a new externship needs to be submitted at least one month prior to registration for the semester in which the student intends to participate in the externship.

Minimum Credit and Hours Requirement

The total and average weekly hour requirements for credits, during a 15-week fall or spring semester, and during a 9-week summer term are as follows:

Credit Total Hours HOURS PER WEEK15 WK SEMESTER HOURS PER WEEK9 WK SEMESTER
2 110 7.3 12.25
3 165 11 18.33
4 220 14.67 24.5
5 275 18.3 30.5
6** 330 22 36.67
7* 385 25.67
8* 440 29.33
9* 495 33
10* 550 36.67

*Semester in Practice Only
**Summer and SIP Only

Externship Announcements


Externship Pathways

 

Summer Externship Information

Summer Externship positions are posted on Symplicity throughout the academic year. Application dates vary. Many federal agencies expect to receive applications during the fall semester, but others don’t request or expect applications until the spring semester.

Students are expected to work at the field placement for 8-9 weeks during the summer externship session. All summer externs participate in the externship’s academic component through the Canvas platform. As long as a student is working hours to attain course credits, a faculty member supervises the student to ensure the academic and experiential nature of the placement. Externship hours must be completed on or before the last day of the summer session.

Please let the externship director know about your summer externship plans before the start date of summer registration. If you are waiting to hear from a site, you should let us know what you are planning, so that we may ensure that you have a spot in the program. If, after registration, you tell us about your plans for the first time, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to participate in the externship program.

Available Field Placements

Between their first and second year of law school, students may participate in and earn credit for all types of externship placements (federal and state courts, non-profit organizations, corporate in-house counsel, and government agencies). Between their second and third years, students are permitted to participate in externships with non-profit organizations, federal and state agencies, federal trial courts appellate courts and corporate in-house counsel.

Students may propose new externships for the summer; however, there is no guarantee that a proposal will be approved. If you are interested in an opportunity, but you are not certain if it fits into one of the acceptable categories of externships, please contact Professor Menendez before you accept a position.

Semester in Practice Information

Semester in Practice (SIP) provides second-semester third-year law students the opportunity to work, for academic credit, in the city in which he or she wishes to practice after law school. The objective is to give students work experience and opportunities to network and search for future employment. Students involved in SIP cannot take classes on campus during the SIP. View the Semester in Practice fact sheet.

Eligibility

Semester in Practice (SIP) is available to third-year law students during the spring semester. A student may participate only if he or she will be able to complete all required courses and is able to take the necessary number of credits to graduate.

Key Dates

Students who are interested in participating in SIP should begin looking for a position during the summer prior to the third year, or early in the fall semester. Because many SIP students may be finding externships with sites that have not been previously approved, it is very important that students submit proposals for new externships early during the fall semester — at least one month prior to the spring semester registration date.

Students who participate in SIP need to be particularly proactive and start this process early. Keep in mind that in addition to applying for the program and for positions, a SIP student also needs time to arrange for housing in the location of the externship, as well as make arrangements for any housing in Gainesville. Specific deadlines can be found on the externship calendar.

Available Field Placements for Semester in Practice

SIP students are expected to find and apply for externships on their own. However, as SIP externships are approved, they will be included in the program’s list of approved externships. SIP students may participate in externships with state or federal government agencies, federal or state appellate courts, corporate in-house counsel, or nonprofit entities.

Academic Requirements

In addition to the externship itself, SIP students participate in a 2-credit Bridge to Practice course, taught as a distance course. This course is taken in addition to the faculty supervision that all externship students receive.
If a student needs additional credits to graduate, the student may: take an online class through the law school or through the UF graduate school; arrange for an independent study with a faculty member; or take courses at a law school in the city where the student is working.

Like other externs, SIP students also have faculty supervisors, submit regular journal entries to faculty supervisors. In the journals, students report the work performed and discuss what the student learned; and reflect on any issues that arose while doing the work. This journaling requirement is in addition to the Bridge to Practice class.

Last, before committing to an externship position, SIP students should confirm with Student Affairs that the student’s plans for the semester will allow him or her to graduate on time.


Information for Students in Externships

During the semester prior to the externship

  • Apply for externships using Symplicity or by identifying opportunities on your own
  • Keep up with Application and Registration deadlines. Most externship deadlines occur before the last day of classes during the semester prior to your externship.
  • If your preferred site is not currently approved for externships, you are responsible for submitting, or having the site submit, a request for approval. Due date: 6 weeks before the last day of the semester prior to the externship.
  • Attend all required training and orientation sessions. Failure to do so can result in being dropped from the program.
  • Come to an agreement with the site about how many hours you will work, and when you will work.
  • Do not accept an externship unless you intend to fulfill the commitment. Except for extraordinary circumstances, we will not allow a student to drop an externship.

During the Externship

  • Act professionally — show up at the site ready and willing to work; at a minimum work the number of hours you have registered for; get approval from the site supervisor before changing your work schedule; dress appropriately (more conservatively than you ordinarily would), and have a good attitude.
  • Keep track of your hours at the externship, have your site supervisor sign off on your hours, and submit your hours to the externship program coordinator.
  • Stay on top of the academic requirement for your externship and stay in regular contact with your faculty supervisor. Externships are more than the site placement; if you fail to complete the academic component, you will not pass the externship. Each faculty supervisor assigns the submission of externship journals; additionally, the faculty supervisor will assign research, writing, or skills assignments intended to supplement the externship experience.
  • Inform your faculty or site supervisor if problems arise. Although problems are not the norm, illness or other issues can interrupt an externship, and the sooner you let us know about a problem, the sooner we can work to correct it.

Information for Faculty Supervisors


Information for Field Placement Sites

Welcome to the Levin College of Law Academic Externship Program. We are very happy for you to be part of our program. The experiences that our students get while working in the field are invaluable and almost impossible to duplicate in the classroom. Your participation is greatly appreciated.

Qualifying as a Field Placement Site

Before a student can earn credit for a field placement, the law school must have approved the site. Sites interested in being approved should complete and submit an approval form. In accordance with standards set by the ABA, we ask sites to demonstrate the following:

  • The student will be provided assignments that only someone with legal training can perform.
  • The student will be supervised on-site by a licensed attorney.
  • The site will provide the student with written feedback on the student’s work and will help to ensure the educational nature of the placement.
  • The student will work on-site with attorneys who can assist the student as needed.

Other requirements

Hours

Students are required to work a minimum number of hours in order to receive credit for an externship. Therefore, we ask the sites to work with the student to ensure that the minimum hours are met and to sign off on student time sheets in order to demonstrate completion of the hours.

Communication

While working at a field placement, the student is also supervised by a faculty supervisor, who provides additional academic support to the student. The faculty supervisor will contact the site supervisor during the externship to ensure that the placement is successful from the site’s perspective. Additionally, we ask the field supervisor to let us know if any concerns or questions come up.

Evaluation

The purpose of an externship is to build on and supplement a student’s in-class education. Therefore, we ask that field supervisors provide students with meaningful feedback on the assignments given. Additionally, at the end of the externship, field supervisors provide written evaluations of the student’s work and professional demeanor.

Other Experiences

Many of our field supervisors go well beyond the minimum requirements for an approved externship. Students benefit from observing court proceedings, meetings with clients and attending networking events. Depending on the type of placement, there are any number of additional experiences in which students can participate, and that will expand their understanding of the practice of law.


Externship Calendar

Fall Term 2018
Fall Externships are open for application Mid March
Fall Classes Begin Monday, August 13, 2018
Drop/Add (Externships may not be added without permission of the externship director) Mon-Fri, August 13-17
Semester In Practice Information Session Room 180 Monday, August 13, noon
Spring Externship (Not SIP) Information Session Tuesday, August 27, noon
Labor Day Holiday Monday, September 3
Spring Externships posted for application. Beginning Early September
Deadline for notification of Intent to participate in Semester in Practice (Submit form to Professor Menendez) Monday, September 24
Last day to submit Applications for approval of new Externship site for Spring 2019 Monday, October 1
Deadline to notify the Director of Externships of a Spring Placement Wednesday, October 25
Advanced Registration for Spring 2019 (Students may not register themselves for externships, the Director will work with the Registrar to register students who have met all registration requirements Tuesday, October 31 – Thursday, November 2
Orientation for Spring Externs TBA – late November
Last Day of Fall Classes Monday, November 26
1Ls may begin applying for Summer 2019 Externships Friday, December 1
Summer Externship Applications accepted for Florida Federal and State Appellate Courts December