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Frequently Asked Questions

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).
  • You will be fully eligible to start work at your field placement (i.e., security clearances and/or background checks complete) by the day before Add/Drop ends.

FIELDWORK

  • Students must be closely supervised by a licensed attorney (or someone otherwise qualified to supervise).
  • Students must complete the Externship Application. For detailed application information, click here.

SEMINAR

  • Students must enroll themselves in the externship seminar of their choice. For detailed registration information, click here.
  • Students must attend all class sessions and any required mid-semester meetings with the seminar professor.

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. For helpful tips on your search, click here.

How are externships graded?
Field placement credits are graded on a Pass/Fail basis. Students receive a letter grade for the 1-credit seminar. Detailed course mechanics and requirements will be outlined in the seminar syllabus.

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.

Mutually Exclusive Chart IICan I do an externship if I have already taken a D.C. Advantage practicum course or plan to take the Government Lawyering (Fieldwork Practicum) course?
The J.D. Externship course is mutually exclusive with all prior D.C. Advantage practicum courses and the Government Lawyering (Fieldwork Practicum) course.

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 can request permission to participate in a second externship for academic credit through the Externship Application. Students may take a maximum of two externships for credit through the J.D. Externship Program. To review the second externship criteria, click here

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?
For the Summer 2017 Externship Program
, students must secure a judicial, governmental, or nonprofit field placement prior to submitting an application for the Externship Program.

For the 2017-18 school year, as part of the course registration process, students can enroll themselves in the Externship Program, via MyAccess, before they have secured a qualifying field placement.

  • For the Fall 2017 semester, enrolled students have until Tuesday, August 1, 2017 to submit a completed externship application, identifying their secured field placement, to finalize their enrollment in the fall Externship Program.
  • For the Spring 2018 semester, enrolled students have until Tuesday, January 2, 2018 to submit a completed externship application, identifying their secured field placement, to finalize their enrollment in the spring Externship Program.

If you do not (i) have a qualifying field placement, (ii) meet the program eligibility criteria, or (iii) you have not submitted an application by the applicable deadlines noted above (August 1 or January 2), you will be dropped from the Externship Program and companion seminar.

Students who secure a qualifying field placement after the applicable application deadlines (August 1 for fall externships or January 2 for spring externships) should simultaneously register themselves for an available seminar (or add themselves to a waitlist) and submit the externship application. If, after August 1 or January 2, you have not submitted an application within 48 hours of your enrollment in an externship seminar or it is determined that you do not have a qualifying field placement and/or meet the eligibility criteria, you will be dropped from the Externship Program and companion seminar.

Registration for the J.D. Externship Program will remain open until there are no seats left in the program or through the last day of Add/Drop (for each semester), whichever occurs first.

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, part-time students can participate in the Externship Program under the same conditions as any other student.

Registration and Application

How do I enroll in the J.D. Externship Program?
To review how to enroll and apply for the J.D. Externship Program, see the How to Apply page.

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 the relevant human resources contact 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?
Students should preregister for the externship seminar of their choice like they do for any other course. If the externship seminar of your choice or all seminars are full, place yourself on a waitlist.

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. Students must take the seminar in the same semester that they perform their fieldwork. Attendance is mandatory at all class sessions and any required mid-semester meetings with the seminar professor.

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

Field Placements

Can I count hours/week worked at my field  before the start of the semester (or summer session)?
Students can begin working toward their hours/weeks requirements from the first day of regular, semester-long classes (or first day of summer session). Students must complete their hours/weeks requirements by the last day of classes.

How many credits can I earn for my fieldwork?
Website Chart - Credits OnlyCan 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 at a government or poverty law-related field placement that will require you to work more than 15 hours per week, please explore whether the Government Lawyering (Fieldwork Practicum) or Poverty Law and Policy (Fieldwork Practicum) courses 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. 

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 your work hours during those periods.

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). 

My field placement requires a security clearance and/or background check.What do I do?
Students must be fully eligible to start work at their field placement (i.e., security clearance and/or background checks complete) by the day before Add/Drop ends or they will be dropped from the J.D. Externship Program and companion seminar.

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, DC metropolitan area.

During the summer session, in addition to the Washington, DC area, students can also earn academic credit for an externship at a judicial, governmental, or nonprofit field placement anywhere in the country.

Other questions? Please email lawexp@georgetown.edu.

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