Field Placement

What is a Field Placement Program?

The Field Placement Program allows students to receive academic credit for part-time legal work performed under the supervision of an attorney at approved placement sites. In addition to hands-on work at the placement sites, students enroll in a faculty taught course designed to enhance the placement experience. Students are able to work with a wide variety of employers and in a range of practice areas. Students can work as an extern at a government agency, a non-profit organization, a corporation, company, or a business entity. Field Placements are available for the following:

  • Washington DC Externships
  • Agency Externships 
  • Corporate Counsel Externships 

Washington DC Externship

The Washington DC Externship is a unique educational experience that enables students to work in a semester-long externship in Washington, D.C. Under the supervision of an on-site attorney, students work for a government or public interest agency, non-profit trade association, think-tank or with a judge. Students can earn from 12-15 units per semester. View more detailed information on the DC Externship program web page.

Agency Externship

The Agency Externship Program allows students to receive academic credit for legal work with a government agency or non-profit organization. Students must work during the academic session for a minimum of 50 hours per unit of credit and may receive 1-4 units for their work at a placement.  For purposes of Agency Externship work, the academic session is from the official start of classes to the last day of final exams. Any externship work outside this time period may be counted towards pro bono hours, but not for academic credit.If students have previously been placed in an Agency Externship, they can register for Agency Externship II.

Corporate Counsel Externship

The Corporate Counsel Externship Program allows students to receive academic credit for working in the legal department of a corporation, company or other business entity. Students may also work in other departments of a corporation as long as they are supervised by an on-site licensed attorney.  Students must work during the academic session for a minimum of 50 hours per unit of credit and may receive 1-4 units for their work at a placement. For purposes of corporate counsel externship work, the academic session is from the official start of classes to the last day of final exams.  No externship work for a corporate counsel placement is permitted outside this time period.   If students have previously been placed in a Corporate Counsel Externship, they can register for Corporate Counsel Externship II. 

How Do I Find an Externship?

Students secure their own externships, drawing from the field placements on the law school’s Approved Placement List. Alternatively, students can create their own externships, subject to faculty approval. The approved placements offer work in many different areas, including civil rights, consumer protection, employment, environmental, health, housing, family, education, criminal, regulatory, and women’s rights. Students should begin the process of locating an externship by searching in the Externship tab in Symplicity. Externships posted in Symplicity will generally provide information on applying to that particular placement site. Students are urged to meet with an advisor in the Office of Career and Professional Development for assistance in identifying appropriate externship opportunities and seeking faculty approval of a placement not currently on the Approved Placement List.

Eligibility Requirements

The proposed externship opportunity must be with a government agency, non-profit organization, a legal department of a corporation or business entity. Compensation: The student may not receive any monetary compensation for the work including, but not limited to, work study, grants, stipends or awards. Supervision Students must be supervised by an on-site licensed attorney at the placement site. The Faculty Supervisor for the externship course will closely monitor and regularly correspond with students throughout the semester. Faculty Supervisors will review samples of students’ written work, assess their externship progress, correspond with placement supervisors and determine course grades.

Course Requirements

The Field Placements (excluding the Washington DC Externship), consist of a work component, a writing component and an academic component. The externships are graded on a Pass-Fail basis. View more information about the Course Requirements. View more information on Course Requirements for the Washington DC Externships.

I Found a Field Placement, What's Next?

If you have been accepted into an externship placement, fill out the Field Placement form and submit it to lawcareers@sandiego.edu. You will receive an email confirmation, which you will then take directly to the Registrar’s office to enroll in person in the relevant course. Be sure to do this during the registration period set by the Registrar’s office to obtain academic credit.

Questions?

For questions about finding a field placement or eligibility, contact the Office of Career and Professional Development at 619-260-4529 or email lawcareers@sandiego.edu. For academic related questions, contact Professor John Sansone, Academic Director, Externship Programs at 619-322-0506 or jsansone@sandiego.edu.

Contact:

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

Hours

Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Evening appointments available upon request.

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