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Ad Hoc Externships

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

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. 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, except under very limited circumstances involving qualifying pro bono legal work. 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. In short, a prior approval of an Ad Hoc Externship is not precedent for a future application.

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

Approval Process

  1. An interested student must submit a timely written Proposal seeking approval for an Ad Hoc Externship in accordance with the requirements detailed in the Deadline For Proposals section below.  The proposal must be submitted on the following template form. There is no required length for a proposal.  Proposals may only be submitted where the student has actually applied to the placement site before submitting the proposal (however, the student does not need to have interviewed, or received an offer before submitting the Proposal). 
  2. The Ad Hoc Externship Faculty Review Committee will review the student’s proposal and  approvals shall be determined by the Chair of the Committee. All approvals shall be conditioned upon the student obtaining an appropriate Penn Law faculty supervisor. A negative decision by the Chair may be appealed to the full Educational Program Committee.
  3. Ad Hoc Externships will be approved only upon a showing that (i) the externship would allow a student to study experientially a subject or subjects, directly related to their legal education, not covered by course or seminar offerings (including clinical courses and current Gittis Externships) at the Law School and (if distant from Philadelphia) not available through a comparable placement in the Philadelphia area that might be arranged; (ii) the student requesting approval has demonstrated a professional interest and commitment to the subject or subjects to be studied, and (iii) 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.
  4. Some Externships may be subject to pre- or co-requisite clinical courses, depending on the nature of the placement. Application of this requirement will be made by the Director of Clinical Programs, in consultation with the Educational Program Committee Chair.

Credits Awarded

Except as provided herein, Ad Hoc Externships are approved solely for four or seven academic credits. 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 will only be considered if (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. Except for (non-local, non-commuting) Ad Hoc Externships for twelve credits, students will be required to attend bi-weekly tutorials with their Penn Law faculty supervisor. If the distance from Philadelphia makes in-person supervisory sessions impracticable, reasonably comparable supervisory sessions shall be arranged through Skype or through other technological means.

Deadline for Proposals

Ad Hoc Externship proposals for the Fall semester must be submitted by MAY 28 (immediately preceding the Fall semester). Proposals for the Spring semester must be submitted by NOVEMBER 2. Proposals (using the Template Form provided above) should be submitted electronically to the Dean of Students with an email copy to Rachel Mayover, Clinic Administrative Director, on or before the appropriate deadline. Where firm commitments for externships have not been obtained from a proposed placement site by the deadline, a student seeking approval of an Ad Hoc Externship must still submit a proposal by the deadline and should indicate in the proposal that confirmation from the placement site is still pending.  Once an offer is received, the student must email Rachel Mayover.

Late Proposal submissions will not be considered. These deadlines were established in recognition that some placement sites have early deadlines, and that in all cases ample time is needed for the Ad Hoc Externship Faculty Review Committee to carefully consider proposals and conduct due diligence. The Ad Hoc Externship Faculty Review Committee will commence review of all proposals shortly after the submission deadlines, however please contact Rachel Mayover if the placement site needs a response before the committee meets. 

Enrollment Information

If an Ad Hoc Externship proposal is approved, the student must download the faculty supervisory agreement (link for file download coming soon) and have it signed by the faculty supervisor who has agreed to supervise the Externship. Once the agreement is signed, it must be returned to the Registrar’s Office before the end of the first week of classes in order for actual enrollment to occur.   An electronic copy of the signed agreement should also be emailed to Rachel Mayover.  Students are strongly encouraged to secure a faculty supervisor before they submit applications for approval, but may nonetheless submit a proposal without having obtained a faculty supervisor in order to meet application deadlines. 

International students must obtain CPT (Curricular Practical Training) clearance from Penn’s International Student and Scholar Services Office (ISSS) in order to enroll in an Externship.

Travel Expenses

Students are expected to pay for all travel expenses related to participation in the Ad Hoc Externship. However, there may be some limited travel reimbursement provided to externs in government placements outside of Philadelphia, and in placements at the United Nations.  Eligible externship students will be notified prior to the start of the semester if funds are available.

Some examples of prior Ad Hoc Externships:

Aids Law Project of PA Office of General Counsel  (University of Pennsylvania & Temple University)
ACLU of Pennsylvania Open Society Justice Initiative (New York)
Amnesty International Philadelphia Homeless Advocacy Project
Education Law Center (Philadelphia) Southern Poverty Law Center
Federal Bureau of Prisons PA Innocence Project
Federal Trade Commission Philadelphia Law Department (Labor & Employment Unit)
IRS Office of Chief Counsel (Philadelphia Office) U.S. Attorney’s Office (Delaware)
Maryland Office of the Attorney General (Economic Crimes Division) U.S. Attorney’s Office (ED NY)
Mazzoni Center (Legal Services Department) U.S. Department of Commerce
National Labor Relations Board U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
New York City Law Department U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (Philadelphia, NY and Washington Offices)
NY Attorney General’s Office U.S. State Department
NY Legal Aid Society U.S. Federal Communications Commission
Navy JAG U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Department of Justice White House Internship Program