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Ad Hoc Externships


Penn Law will be publicizing guidelines and policies for Fall 2021 externships before April 30, 2021. At that time, emails will be sent to students, and this website will be updated accordingly.


JD students may, under limited circumstances, seek faculty approval to create an individualized Ad Hoc Externship for academic credit.

What is an Ad Hoc Externship?

An Ad Hoc Externship is intended to provide an experiential learning opportunity for a student who has demonstrated a strong interest in a specific subject area which does not have an experiential offering in the curriculum.  The Ad Hoc Externship Program involves a structured academic course for four (4) or seven (7) credits requiring appropriate supervision, journaling requirements, and bi-weekly meetings with a faculty supervisor, in addition to all placement site responsibilities. All externships are graded as Pass/Fail.  Requests for approval of Ad Hoc Externships must be timely submitted to be considered (please see the deadline dates below). 

In accordance with faculty policy, Penn Law does not grant academic credit for judicial externships or for externships performed at for-profit organizations or institutions, including law firms and corporate legal departments. The Ad Hoc Externship Program is not intended and may not be used as a means of obtaining academic credit for pro bono hours performed in an external setting which exceed the pro bono requirements of the Toll Public Interest Center.

Each Ad Hoc Externship application is considered on its own merits according to the Law School’s established policies. Past approval of an Ad Hoc Externship is not authority for, and may not be relied upon, when seeking approval for an Ad Hoc Externship.

Ad Hoc Externships may be permitted according to the following guidelines:

Approval Process

  1. Interested JD students should research possible placement sites and apply directly to the site for the externship.  A list of recent Ad Hoc Externship Placement Sites can be found here, but students can apply to other placement sites. 

  2. In addition to applying directly to the placement site, you must submit a Proposal form to . The deadline for submitting the Proposal Form for Fall 2021 Externships will be posted shortly. This Proposal Form must be submitted even if the student has not received an offer yet from the placement site. Late Proposals will be not be accepted.
  3. Once an offer is received, the student must complete the Statement of Understanding” form that is signed by the student, the faculty supervisor and the externship placement supervisor. Instructions on obtaining the necessary electronic signatures can be found once clicking the link to the form above.  The deadline for submitting the Statement of Understanding Form, signed by all parties, for Fall 2021 Externships will be posted shortly.

4.  Proposals will be approved only upon a showing that all three criteria are met:

  • The externship would allow a student to study experientially a subject or subjects, directly related to their legal education, is not covered by a course or seminar offering (including clinical courses and current standing externships with local non profit and government organizations that students bid on during Advance Registration) and, (if distant from Philadelphia), is not available through a comparable placement in the Philadelphia area that might be arranged; 
  • The student requesting approval has demonstrated a professional interest and commitment to the subject or subjects to be studied, and
  • The goals and supervisory requirements applicable to all Penn Law Externships (see above) will be met. Proposals for Ad Hoc Externships based on personal reasons will not be approved.

5.  During the review of the proposal, the Externship Program may request additional information from the student, and/or contact the placement site with any questions. 

Credits Awarded

Except as provided herein below, Ad Hoc Externships are approved solely for four or seven academic credits per semester (yearlong externships are not permitted). A four credit Externship requires that the student work at the placement site on average 12 hours per week. A seven credit Externship requires that the student work at the site on average 21 hours per week. Students are required to start their Externship the week that the semester classes begin, and are required to work until the end of the examination period. Students may start working at their placement site before classes begin if they so desire, but credit will not be awarded for this time, and students will not be permitted to reduce the weekly hourly requirement for any time spent working before the semester begins.

Ad Hoc Externships for twelve academic credits are rare and will only be considered if the placement site requires this and  (1) The site of the Externship is so distant that commuting from Philadelphia would not be feasible, or (2) The Ad Hoc Externship is in the Philadelphia area, but is not available on a part-time basis (i.e., it requires full-time participation) and no reasonably equivalent part-time externship is available in or within reasonable commuting distance from Philadelphia. 

Reporting Requirements

Students will be required to submit to their faculty supervisor bi-weekly reflective journals of their Externship activities. Students will also be required to attend a bi-weekly tutorial or class with their Penn Law faculty supervisor. If the distance from Philadelphia makes in-person attendance of the supervisory sessions or class impracticable, accommodations shall be arranged through Zoom, Skype, or through other technological means.


Penn Law will be publicizing deadlines, guidelines and policies for Fall 2021 externships before April 30, 2021. At that time, emails will be sent to students, and this website will be updated accordingly.

Externship Travel

The Law School is pleased to be able to offer travel funding to assist students who choose to pursue externships with government and non-profit organizations.  In conjunction with University travel policies, for qualifying externships outside of Philadelphia, the Law School will reimburse students for 90% of reasonable travel expenses they incur when traveling to these externship placement sites, up to a per-semester maximum of $2,700.  Students are responsible for the remaining 10% of the cost of their travel. We expect that students will consider using less expensive means of travel (i.e., bus) whenever feasible, and will reserve trips in advance to keep costs to a minimum. 

For qualifying externships in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties reachable through the SEPTA public transportation system, the Law School will provide SEPTA round-trip ticket cards. These cards will be available for to pick up in the Student Affairs Office at the beginning of each month.  Students accepting SEPTA tickets through this policy will be required to sign a form certifying that they are using the tickets to travel to externship placement sites. Use of tickets provided by the Law School and the externship travel policy are governed by the Code of Student Conduct.

Students do not have to submit an application for travel funding, and should direct any questions to .


FALL 2020 SEMESTER: Per University Policy, externship travel has been suspended due to Covid-19.

LLM Students

LLM students may not receive academic credit for externships. LLM students are eligible to participate and receive credit for a range of valuable experiential offerings.  Students can enroll for academic credit in one of the seats that are reserved for LLM students in the Detkin Intellectual Property & Technology Legal Clinic , the Transnational Legal Clinic , the Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic or the Mediation Clinic . Our experiential courses and seminars, many of which are open to LLM students, also provide valuable skills training.