General Questions

What are the requirements of the J.D. Externship Program?
In order to participate in the J.D. Externship Program,
all of the following statements must be true:

  • You will have completed one year of study as a full-time or part-time student BEFORE your externship begins.
  • You have secured a placement in a judicial, governmental, or nonprofit office.
  • Your work at the field placement will be legal in nature.
  • You will work on an unpaid basis.
  • For fall or spring externships, you will work 10 or 15 hours per week for at least 11 weeks (i.e. 110 hours or 165 hours total). For summer externships, you will work 18.5 or 27.5 hours per week for at least 6 weeks (i.e. 110 or 165 hours total).

How do I find a field placement?
Students are responsible for finding and securing their own judicial, governmental, or nonprofit placements. Fortunately, by virtue of our location in the nation's capital, opportunities for eligible externship placements abound.

Tips on your search:

First, do some pre-planning. Generate a list of judicial, governmental, or nonprofit offices that interest you as possible field placements.

Second, check internal and external Law Center resources for externship listings:

  • Internal:  Log onto Symplicity to scan the list of externship opportunities submitted by offices looking for law student externs. Symplicity also contains numerous student evaluations of various externship placement sites.
  • External:  Search PSJD or Idealist for public sector opportunities. Search the USAJOBS website for opportunities at government agencies. Whenever available, search an agency's and/or organization's specific website for directions on how to apply for externship opportunities. Many agencies have well-developed externship programs with very specific application procedures. Follow any published procedures. If you do not see a listing for a specific office of interest, contact the office directly and ask about openings for legal externs.

Third, make an appointment:

Finally, think about the areas of law that interest you and contact Law Center faculty in those areas to set up appointments to identify organizations that perform such work.

How are externships graded?
Field placement credits are graded on a Pass/Fail basis. To receive credit for the fieldwork component of the course, students must complete their required number of hours by the last day of classes for the semester, submit timely weekly time sheets, receive a satisfactory Field Supervisor End-of-Semester Evaluation, and ensure timely submission of all Externship Program forms.

Students receive a letter grade for the 1-credit seminar, which is based on attendance, the frequency and quality of the classroom participation, and the timeliness and quality of any written work product or other assignments, e.g., assigned readings and student presentations.

Can I take an externship and another experiential course at the same time?
The following chart shows whether certain experiential courses may/may not be taken together in the same semester. Please note that any exceptions to these general policies are made clear in the course descriptions in the Curriculum Guide. Please read those descriptions carefully.

externships and exp courses

Can I get paid and receive academic credit from the Externship Program?
No. Students cannot receive academic credit through the Externship Program for any work that they receive financial compensation to perform.

Can I earn externship credit for work at a for-profit placement?
No. Students cannot receive academic credit through the Externship Program for work at a for-profit placement.

Can I participate in more than one externship during law school?
Students may take one externship during their time at Georgetown Law. Students can, however, request permission to take a second externship at a different field placement through the externship application.

Can I withdraw from the Externship Program?
Please see the 2016-17 Georgetown Law Student Handbook of Academic Policies regarding Withdrawing from Courses in the Upperclass Program of Study, which provides in relevant part, "[t]o withdraw from an externship, students must complete a
Course Withdrawal Request Form and also obtain written permission from the Director of Externships and the Associate Dean for Experiential Education."

For a general overview of the Upperclass Course Withdrawal Policy, please see Course Withdrawals –Upperclass Students.

How much does the summer Externship Program cost?
For full-time students, there is no charge for the summer Externship Program. For students in the evening division, regular tuition rates apply.

PLEASE NOTE: For full-time J.D. students who elect to transfer to the part-time division or transfer to another law school in the fall after their summer externship, a retroactive tuition charge for academic credits earned through the J.D. Externship Program will be posted to their student accounts.

Eligibility

I haven't secured a field placement yet; can/should I still apply for the Externship Program?
Students must secure a placement prior to submitting an application for the J.D. Externship Program.

When can I participate in an externship?
Any J.D. student who has successfully completed one year of study as a full-time or part-time student is eligible to participate in the J.D. Externship Program.

I'm a transfer student, can I participate in the Externship Program?
Yes, transfer students can participate in the Externship Program under the same conditions as any other student.

I'm a part-time student, can I participate in the Externship Program?
Yes, so long as you have completed your first-year coursework, part-time students can participate in the Externship Program under the same conditions as any other student.

Applying To and Registering for the J.D. Externship Program

What if I don't know who my field supervisor is before applications are due?
Students must provide complete contact information (name, title, phone number) for either their field supervisor or someone at the proposed field placement when applying to the Externship Program. Upon learning who your field supervisor is, you must promptly provide updated contact information through the Field Supervision Agreement that students upload to Canvas during Add/Drop week.

How should I rank the externship course during preregistration to ensure that I get selected?
Students cannot register for the externship course as part of the Pre-Registration process. If you apply during the relevant application window, meet all eligibility requirements, and your proposed externship placement is approved, you are guaranteed a seat in the Externship Program for that semester. If there are any issues with your application, you will be contacted directly.

PLEASE NOTE: Students who apply to the Externship Program after the application window closes will be added to the waitlist. The waitlist will run until the last day of the Add/Drop period or until there's no space left in the Externship Program, whichever comes first.

Why don't I see the externship course on my schedule?
After your application is approved and you've been placed in a seminar by the J.D. Externships Office, the Office of the Registrar will manually update your schedule on MyAccess to add the externship course. The beginning of the semester is an extraordinarily busy time for the Registrar's Office, so you will not immediately see the externship course on your schedule.

The Experiential Education team will, however, send you an email after you've been placed in a seminar, confirming your seat in the J.D. Externship Program and your seminar assignment.

Field Placements

What type of field placements are eligible for academic credit?
During the fall and spring semesters, students can earn academic credit for externships at judicial, governmental, or nonprofit field placements in the Washington, D.C. area.

During the summer session, in addition to the Washington, D.C. area, students can also earn academic credit for an externship at an out-of-town judicial, governmental, or nonprofit field placement.

How many weeks do I need to work during the semester to earn academic credit for my externship?
During the fall and spring semesters, students must work for at least 11 weeks, totaling 110 hours worked for 2 field placement credits or 165 hours worked for 3 field placement credits.

For summer externships, students must work for at least 6 weeks, totaling 110 hours worked for 2 field placement credits or 165 hours worked for 3 field placement credits.

How many hours per week do I need to work during the semester to earn academic credit for my externship?
To earn academic credit for the fieldwork experience, students must work at least 10 hours per week for 2-credit field placements or at least 15 hours per week for 3-credit field placements.

How many credits can I earn for my fieldwork?
how many credits chart

Can I work more than the required hours per week (i.e. more than 10 or 15 hours)?
To earn academic credit for the fieldwork experience, students must work at least 10 hours per week for 2-credit field placements or at least 15 hours per week for 3-credit field placements. Students may work additional hours beyond the minimum number of hours required by the Externship Program, but no additional academic credit will be granted.

Can I work more than 11 weeks during the semester (or 6 weeks during the summer)?

To earn academic credit for the fieldwork experience, students must work a minimum of 11 weeks during the semester (or 6 weeks during the summer) and complete their total hours requirement within that 6- or 11-week period. Students may work more than 11 weeks during the semester (or 6 weeks during the summer), but no additional academic credit will be provided.

What if my field placement requires more than 10 or 15 hours per week of work?
The Externship Program does not award additional academic credit for students who work more than 110 hours for 2-credit field placements or more than 165 hours for 3-credit field placements.

If you've been offered an externship that will require you to work more than 15 hours per week, please explore whether the D.C. Advantage Program would be a better fit for the opportunity.

Additionally, students whose total hours worked exceed the Externship Program's requirements may be eligible to apply the additional hours worked to their Pro Bono Pledge hours. Students may sign up for the Pro Bono Pledge online through the OPICS website. To determine whether your field placement qualifies for the Pro Bono Pledge, please contact Jen Tschirch, Assistant Director of Pro Bono Programs at jt1133@georgetown.edu.

I'm not going to make my hours requirement this week due to illness/holiday/snow day, etc. What do I do?
Given holidays, sickness, and/or other unforeseen events, it's expected that there may be a week or two during the semester when a student's total hours for the week may be slightly under/over their 10 or 15 hours per week requirement. So long as students are generally working 10 or 15 hours per week across 11 weeks, it's acceptable if there's a week or two where a student works a little less or a little more to make-up missed hours.

I didn't work at my field placement at all last week. Do I have to submit a time sheet?
The J.D. Externship Program only requires students to work a minimum of 11 weeks during the semester (6 weeks during the summer), so it's entirely possible that there will be a week or two where a student does not work at his/her field placement. Students do not need to submit time sheets for any week that he/she does not work.

Students should, however, ensure that their field supervisors know, in advance, any week(s) that they do not anticipate working at their field placement.

Can I work during finals? 
Students must complete their required number of hours by the last day of classes (not the last day of exams). 

Do I have to work on a federal holiday, snow day, a day when the Law Center has a special schedule (e.g. the Faculty Retreat), or during spring break? 
Students must make up any hours missed due to sick days, inclement weather, school breaks, or federal holidays. It is important to discuss any scheduled school closures or special schedules with your field supervisor at the beginning of your fieldwork experience to set mutually agreed upon expectations for working during those periods.

My field placement requires a security clearance.What do I do?
In order to remain in the Externship Program, your security clearance must be finalized by the Friday before the Add/Drop period closes. If you encounter difficulty and/or delay obtaining your security clearance, please make an appointment with an advisor in the Office of Public Interest and Community Service (OPICS) to discuss the situation.

NOTE: For Spring 2017 externships, all security clearances must be completed by Monday, January 23, 2017. 

My field placement requires that I submit a Volunteer Service Agreement, certifying my student status.What do I do?
Please submit the Student Volunteer Service Agreement to the Office of Public Interest and Community Service (OPICS), either in person (McDonough Room 208) or by email to
opics@georgetown.edu. Please allow 1-2 business days for processing.

Can I do an externship outside of Washington D.C.?
During the fall and spring semesters, students can earn academic credit for externships at judicial, governmental, or nonprofit field placements in the Washington, D.C. area only.

During the summer session, in addition to the Washington, D.C. area, students can also earn academic credit for an externship at an out-of-town judicial, governmental, or nonprofit field placement.

Externship Seminars

Do I have to take a seminar?
Yes. The Externship Program includes a 1-credit, companion seminar that is graded on a letter basis. The seminar meets seven times over the course of the semester. Students must take the seminar in the same semester that they perform their fieldwork.

NOTE: During the application process, you will be required to rank your top three seminar preferences. Because you will be directly placed into a seminar based on the three preferences provided, it's imperative that you only select seminar options that are relevant to your fieldwork and compatible with your spring schedule.

None of the available seminars fit my schedule.Can I take the seminar during a different semester than when I complete my fieldwork?
No. Students must take the seminar in the same semester that they perform their fieldwork.

What's the attendance policy for the externship seminar?
Students must attend and participate in all seven seminar classes.

For any other questions, please email lawexp@georgetown.edu.