Beginning in the second year, students may further their individual learning and career goals by enrolling in one or more of the many clinics and externship (field placement) courses that are part of the Law School’s upper-level curriculum. These courses help students to develop as lawyers by providing them with opportunities to gain practical lawyering experience in real-life settings and encouraging them to reflect on the role of lawyers, as they learn from their work as lawyers-in-training. The ability to enroll in a clinic or externship is guaranteed for every student, although not necessarily in the student’s first choice of course or semester. Students must apply and be accepted before registering for a clinic or externship.
To be eligible for these courses, students must have completed 30 credits (including LAWS 111 and LAWS 112, Legal Research & Writing I and II). They also must take any pre- or corequisite courses. Each course has a seminar component (with the exception of some of the advanced clinical courses). Some seminars meet twice weekly, some once weekly, and others once every two weeks. Students earn both in-class (seminar) and out-of-class (casework/fieldwork) credits. Some courses also satisfy part of the Advanced Writing Requirement.
LAWS 599, Interviewing & Counseling Clients (IRC), a 2-credit simulation course, is a pre- or corequisite for some clinic and externship courses (except for the Appellate Clinic and the Judicial, Legislative and Mediation Externships). IRC is suggested but not required for Civil Justice Clinic and Tax Clinic. IRC is designed to prepare students for individual client representation and work in other practice settings. Students explore the lawyer’s role and develop interviewing, counseling, and negotiation skills by representing each other in mock cases.
The Legal Clinic is an in-house law firm run by the School of Law, offering free legal services in a variety of practice areas to low-income people living in the neighboring communities. The law clinic courses that comprise the Legal Clinic (Civil Justice Clinic and Tax Clinic) are one-semester courses that students may take for 4 to 6 credits and are taught by full-time faculty members. Faculty members may invite a small number of Civil Justice Clinic and Tax Clinic students to take a second-semester course called Advanced Clinic. Other law clinics that are not part of the Legal Clinic offer students alternative scheduling and are taught by experienced practitioners serving as clinical faculty. The Defense Appellate Clinic is a year-long course, for a total of 6 credits, in which students brief and argue appeals in criminal cases. Evening Clinic Projects are one-semester courses for 3 or 4 credits and are designed to permit part-time students to perform casework in the evening, although full-time students may enroll as well. In all in-house clinics, students perform most of their work at the law school, under the direct supervision of a member of the clinical faculty, who is the attorney of record for the client(s).
Defense Appellate Clinic
Civil Justice Clinic
Evening Clinic: Legal Ethics Project
Evening Clinic: Veterans Law Project
In the externship (or field placement) courses, students work off campus under the supervision of experienced lawyers, judges, legislators, policymakers and mediators at established placements in law offices, legal services organizations, public interest advocacy organizations, state agencies, corporate legal departments and courthouses throughout the state. Faculty members select or approve the sites, place the individual students, oversee the on-site supervision process and teach the seminar components of the programs, but do not serve as attorneys for placement-site clients. Externships are usually taken for one semester. Some students spend an additional semester in a similar or different placement, in a 1- to 6-credit externship course (Field Placement II).
All first-time externs come together in a joint, mandatory 1-credit graded seminar, which meets approximately every other week for two hours. Legislative Externship is the only course with a separate class.
In addition to the prerequisites listed, students may be required or encouraged to complete additional courses prior to placement. Placement options may depend upon the number of credits the student elects. Judicial externs earn automatic short paper credit; other externs may earn short paper credit with faculty approval.
All fieldwork programs require hours at the placement according to the following schedule:
3 credits (2 out-of-class field credits): 10 hours/week; 150 hours/semester
4 credits (3 out-of-class field credits): 14 hours/week; 200 hours/semester
5 credits (4 out-of-class field credits): 18 hours/week; 250 hours/semester
6 credits (5 out-of-class field credits): 22 hours/week; 300 hours/semester
Note: Students may not drop an externship after the placement process has begun without written permission of the instructor (see Academic Regulations, section V.B., Withdrawal from a Course). Once placement has been arranged, students may drop an externship only for good cause.
Externship courses are divided into two categories: those courses organized by type of placement setting and those categorized by type of law practices at the setting.
Externship Courses Based on Type of Placement Setting
Corporate Counsel Externship
Legal Services Externship
Public Interest Externship
Semester in Practice Externship
Externship placements are also available in remote locations, approved by the externship professor and associate dean for academic affairs, as a “Semester in Practice.” Students may earn up to 10 fieldwork credits for the time spent at the placement and must be enrolled in either Externship Seminar or Advanced Externship Seminar, in which the student will participate online (either synchronously or asynchronously) for an additional credit. Students may enroll in the university’s “QU in LA Law” program or may arrange for their own placement in any national or international location (for instance, recent placements have been approved in Cape Town, South Africa), in any subject area or type of placement, with the approval of the externship professor. Semester in Practice externships are most feasible in the third year. Note: Participation in this externship does not change or waive any other graduation requirements, nor does it extend the cap of 10 fieldwork credits that may count toward graduation. Interested students should plan ahead and contact the externship professor far in advance to apply.
Externship Courses Based on Subject Matter
Business Law Externship
Criminal Justice Externship
Employment Law Externship
Environmental Law Externship
Family and Juvenile Law Externship
Health Law Externship
Intellectual Property Externship
Sports and Entertainment Law Externship
Tax Law Externship
Field Placement II
Advanced Externship Seminar