Field Placement Program

Students can receive academic credit for legal work performed at government agencies, nonprofit organizations, business companies, and courthouses. In addition to hands-on work, students enroll in a pass/fail course consisting of written and academic components. Students earn one academic credit for 50 hours of legal work. For more information, please refer to thFIELD PLACEMENT PROGRAM Manual for Agency Externship and Corporate Counsel Externship. 

Already secured an externship with a government agency, nonprofit organization, or business company? To enroll, fill out the Agency or Corporate Counsel Externship form.

Already secured an externship with a judge? To enroll, fill out the Judicial Externship form.

Washington DC Externship

Students earn up to 15 units during a fall semester in D.C. working for a government agency, public interest organization, nonprofit trade association, or think tank while attending night courses. During summer, students working in D.C. may earn 1-4 academic credits through the Agency Externship program.

View more detailed information on the D.C. Externship program web page.

Agency Externship

During academic semesters or summer, students may earn 1-6 units of academic credit (enrollment for additional credits permitted in exceptional cases subject to approval from supervising faculty) for work with a local government agency or nonprofit organization.

Students earn academic credit for the Agency Externship program between the start of classes and the last day of final exams. Students may count any externship work outside this time period as pro bono hours. Students who previously enrolled in Agency Externship I may enroll in Agency Externship II.

To enroll, please fill out the Agency Externship form.

Corporate Counsel Externship

During academic semesters or summer, students may earn 1-6 units of academic credit (enrollment for additional credits permitted in exceptional cases subject to approval from supervising faculty) for work in the legal department of a local business entity. Work in non-legal departments may qualify for academic credit as long as an approved on-site supervisor oversees the student’s work. Students earn academic credit for the Corporate Counsel Externship program between the start of classes and the last day of final exams. Students may not count towards academic credit requirements work performed outside this time period. Students who previously enrolled in Corporate Counsel Externship I may enroll in Corporate Counsel Externship II.

 To enroll, fill out the Corporate Counsel Externship course form.

Judicial Externship

The Judicial Externship Program allows students to earn academic credit (typically 4-6 credits) for working with judges in state or federal trial or appellate courts. The primary purpose of these placements is to translate academic legal education into practical adjudicative decision making, thus helping students understand how the courts work and how attorneys, judges and litigants succeed and fail in the process. By virtue of the variety of work in their placements, judicial externs also improve their skills in research, writing, observation and oral communication.

Apply by filling out the Judicial Externship form.

Corporate Tech Externship

The Corporate Tech Externship places students at local law firms and companies to provide legal assistance to technology companies in the areas of corporate formation, financings, M & A, contracting, employment, and related areas. Students are supervised by law firm and company attorneys as well as the professor. The course begins with six class sessions covering the core types of transactions encountered in technology startups. Students typically perform 5-15 hours of work at the law firm or company per week, earning 1 unit of pass/fail credit for every 50 hours worked. An application process in the spring semester is used to select students for the following academic year. For more information, contact Professor Ted Sichelman (tsichelman@sandiego.edu).

IP Externship

The IP Externship places students at local law firms and companies to provide legal assistance to individuals (inventors, artists, musicians, and others) and tech and media companies in the area of IP law (patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and related fields). Students are supervised by law firm and company attorneys as well as the professor.  The course will begin with six class sessions covering patent and trademark searching, prosecution, and litigation; copyrights registrations; IP licensing; and related topics. Students typically perform 5-15 hours of work at the law firm or company per week, earning 1 unit of pass/fail credit for every 50 hours worked. An application process in the spring semester is used to select students for the following academic year. For more information, contact Professor Ted Sichelman (tsichelman@sandiego.edu).


Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Do I Find an Externship?
  • Can I Receive Both Academic Credit and Compensation?
  • What Types of Legal Opportunities are Eligible for Externships?
  • I Found a Field Placement, What's Next?
  • Other Questions