Agency Externship Program
Course Requirements for Students
The Agency Internship Program consists of a work component, a writing component and a class component.
The student’s work in a legal internship position must meet the following requirements:
- Time Log: The student must record all hours worked at his or her internship.
- Breadth of Responsibilities: The student must receive a wide range of duties which may include (i) conducting legal research, (ii) writing memoranda or briefs, (iii) drafting pleadings or transactional documents, (iv) interacting with clients and opposing attorneys, (v) observing or participating in legal conferences such as client conferences, negotiation meetings or transactional closings, and/or (vi) observing or participating in legal proceedings such as depositions, hearings and trials. While it is rare for a placement to include all of these duties, a wide array of assignments is essential. Placements that involve only research and writing will not be approved.
- Student Certification: In California, students who have completed or are currently enrolled in Civil Procedure and Evidence have the option of becoming "certified" through the California Bar’s Practical Training of Law Students Program. "Certified" students with adequate supervision are allowed to make court appearances, appear in depositions and negotiate on behalf of clients under proscribed circumstances. Any student interested in becoming certified should (i) discuss the program requirements and procedures with the Internship Director, and (ii) ensure the employer has the capacity and desire to incorporate a "certified" student into its internship program. Note that "certification" or its equivalent applies only to the state court system; federal courts are not included. The actual certification process for USD law students, regardless of jurisdiction, is administered by the USD Law Records Office.
- Employer Responsibilities: The employer must commit to providing (i) adequate student supervision, (ii) periodic student progress reports to the Internship Director via email/phone communications, (iii) a final written evaluation of the student’s performance, and (iv) a final confirmation of student internship hours.
- Journal: The student must maintain a written journal documenting the hours worked and tasks performed each week. Journals must be submitted to the Faculty Supervisor each week through Blackboard, a web-based online learning system.
- Work Product: The student must submit an example of his or her work product to the Faculty Supervisor after obtaining the onsite attorney supervisor’s permission. If necessary, the work may be redacted or edited. If the onsite attorney supervisor prohibits actual work product submission, the student may submit a one to two page written synopsis of the relevant work product.
- Final Paper: The student must write a paper about his or her legal internship placement. The final paper must be 3-5 pages in length, summarizing the student’s work experiences, thoughts on the areas of law practiced, future plans within these practice areas, and new skills acquired during internship placement. Final papers may be submitted to the Faculty Supervisor at any time prior to the close of the semester final exam period.
- Blackboard Discussions: The class discussions will be hosted via Blackboard discussion forums. Students must enroll in Blackboard during the first week of class and post comments to discussion board forums weekly. Failure to post comments and participate in any of the mandatory discussions will be considered absences affecting a student’s final grade.
- Practical Study: Students will review practice-oriented coursework throughout the semester including an overview of legal research, an introduction to office culture, legal ethics, client interviewing, and career planning. Each week, related materials will be posted on Blackboard and students must complete a quiz on each topic.