Southwestern's Externship Program enhances the students’ in-class learning by providing an opportunity to directly experience the attorney's role through a variety of on-site placements. Every year, we provide hundreds of externships to our students (last year, over 400 externships), as an elective course for traditional students and a required course for SCALE students. Well over 70% of our students complete at least one externship, and one third take two externships as part of their J.D. curriculum.
Students gain legal education and test out career goals through real-life practice experiences, by externing at select off-campus placements in Southern California, with governmental agencies, public interest entities, state and federal judicial chambers, and the legal departments of companies (primarily entertainment). A limited number of select law firm externships are also available. During the summer session, placements are possible nationally as well as internationally. Click here for a sampling of some of the placements available to students through the Externship Program.
Click here for general Externship Office and Program information, such as office hours, staff members and events.
The objectives of the Externship Program are to help students:
- Develop and improve professional skills;
- Develop the ability to solve legal problems in real-life situations;
- Reflect on values and responsibilities of the legal profession;
- Adjust to the role of the legal professional; and
- Learn how to learn from experience.
Students’ fieldwork is complemented by an academic component. For example, to optimize the benefit derived from the fieldwork, externs participate online in "Guided Reflections," discussing their learning objectives for the externship, reflecting on their training, and discussing ethical concerns that may have come up, among other topics. The "Guided Reflections" and other course requirements are discussed at an Orientation for the course and detailed in the Externship Syllabus/Handbook.
Course Number 680A
1 to 10 units
depending on semester of participation
and nature of placement
Students are encouraged to visit the Externship Office in W231, as well as the Externship page on the student portal to learn more about Southwestern's rich and diverse Externship Program and start planning ahead for placements they may be interested in.