Washington, D.C. Externship Program

The University of San Diego School of Law offers a unique educational experience that enables students to work in a semester-long externship in Washington, D.C. The USD School of Law Washington, D.C. Externship Program is an experiential way of understanding the role of government, public policy or agency lawyers or advocates in our legal system. Students who work in government or related entities in Washington, D.C. will ultimately acquire an enhanced perspective and more sophisticated view of the role of government in law and society. Under the program, students work under supervision of an on-site attorney, for a government, or public interest agency, non-profit trade association or think tank, or with a judge; students will also be enrolled in a program of graded coursework. In addition to practical legal training, the program allows students to cement new professional contacts and enhance their professional profile. Students who have participated in the program worked at the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Justice, Department of State and the House Subcommittee on Education and Labor.

The program will be offered in fall and spring semesters for up to 20 students—spring classes begin in Washington, D.C. on Monday, January 5, 2015. Second and third year students in good academic standing may apply. (Students within the academic supervision program must receive permission to apply for the program from the Assistant Dean for JD Student Affairs and 3L applicants must meet with the assistant dean to discuss enrollment.) Applicants should inquire about implications of an externship with respect to other law school activities (e.g., law review and law journal writing, moot court, clinical opportunities, spring recruiting, etc.) Students will earn 12 credits by participating in the spring program. Seven pass/fail credits will be earned through the work component of the externship; students can petition the Office for JD Student Affairs to have three of these pass/fail credits accumulate outside the school’s regular 18-unit non-graded credit rule. Students work 60 hours per unit of credit. Five graded credits will be earned in: (a) a two-credit, two-week intensive course on administrative law, agency practice, or legislative process offered in Washington, D.C., prior to the students taking up their agency work; and (b) a three-credit course that has a final exam, meets weekly in the evening and fully complies with ABA standards for academic supervision and instruction. Students must enroll for all components of the Washington, D.C. program. The program has been established as a partnership with Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Courses will be taught by professors from both institutions.

It is recommended that students work together with USD School of Law Office of Career and Professional Development to locate semester-long placements based on individual student interests and career aspirations. The USD School of Law Dean’s office determines the suitability of the placement. Students enrolling in the program will pay all standard tuition and fees required by the law school.

If you would like to enroll, please fill out the DC Program application form. You will be contacted by the Career and Professional Development Office to help coordinate your placement.

Questions can be directed to Assistant Dean for Career and Professional Development, Julie Caron Remer or Vice Dean, Mary Jo Wiggins. They can be reached at lawinternships@sandiego.edu.

The following locations offer short term housing options for student interns in Washington, D.C.

In addition, the Office of Career and Professional Development can connect you with other participating students so you may coordinate living arrangements. 


Career and Professional Development
Warren Hall, Room 113
Phone: (619) 260-4529
Fax: (619) 260-6828


M, T, Th, F: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
W: 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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