The Penn Carey Law School’s experience has shown that working in person at an externship placement site generally provides a superior learning experience for students. For Spring 2024, the Law School will continue to require students to complete their placements in person to the maximum extent allowed by the placement site. It will consider externships with a remote component only if the placement site requires students to work remotely. If a student needs to work remotely on occasion for special circumstances, that may be done with permission from the student’s faculty supervisor. The Law School’s externship Travel Policy, described below, is available to support in-person externship work.
JD students may seek approval to create an individualized Ad Hoc Externship for academic credit.
Occasionally, we are contacted by potential Ad Hoc Externship placement offices who are seeking one or more externs. As these opportunities are received, they will be posted on our ad hoc opportunities page for any interested students to review and apply directly to the offices. These are listed as one of many resources for students to use when thinking about possible placements.
An Ad Hoc Externship is intended to provide an experiential learning opportunity at a government or non-profit organization, or within judicial chambers for a student who has demonstrated a strong interest in a specific subject area, which does not have a current experiential offering in the curriculum. Requests for approval of Ad Hoc Externships must be timely submitted to be considered (please see the deadline dates below).
Penn Carey Law School does not grant academic credit for externships performed at for-profit organizations or institutions, including law firms and corporate legal departments. Positions that are posted on the Law School’s OCS Symplicity job board may not necessarily qualify as an Ad Hoc Externship. Please consult all of the Externship Program requirements that are detailed on this website, and email the Externship Program with any questions.
Each Ad Hoc Externship application is considered on its own merits according to Penn Carey Law’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.
- 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 should apply to other placement sites that interest them as well.
- In addition to applying directly to the placement site, you must submit an online Ad Hoc Externship Proposal Form (once the form is completed it is sent automatically to the Externship Program Office). This Proposal Form must be submitted even if the student has not received an offer yet from the placement site. Late Proposals will not be accepted. Please see the “Deadlines” section below for the Proposal date.
- Once an offer is received, the student must complete the Statement of Understanding Form and then review of the Ad Hoc Proposal will commence. 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 DocuSign Form is listed in the “Deadlines” section below.
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, not covered directly by a similar course or seminar offering (including clinical courses and current standing Gittis 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 Carey Law Externships will be met. Proposals for Ad Hoc Externships based on personal reasons will not be approved.
- The student plans to complete the externship in person to the maximum extent allowed by the placement site. To the extent that remote work is anticipated as part of the student’s required work commitment, the student has shown that the placement site requires remote work and cannot accommodate the student in person.
- 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.
Ad Hoc Externships are considered co-curricular credit and students should review the JD Requirements section of the Registrar’s website before enrolling in an externship. Externships are generally approved for four, five, or seven Co-Curricular credits per semester (in rare cases, a full time 12 credit externship may be approved). A four credit Externship requires that the student work at the placement site approximately 12 hours per week. A five credit Externship requires that the student work at the site approximately 15 hours per week. A seven credit Externship requires that the student work at the site approximately 21 hours per week. Students are required to start their Externship the week that classes begin that semester 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 the placement site strictly 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. No travel funding is available for full-time externships.
REQUIRED EXTERNSHIP SEMINARS:
To receive academic credit for externships, students will be enrolled in an in-person, semester-long externship seminar at the same time as the field placement. Students in a criminal law placement will be enrolled in the Criminal Justice Externship Seminar and students in a civil placement will be placed in the Civil Law Externship Seminar. Students who have a placement with a judge will be enrolled in the Judicial Externship Seminar. Advanced externship seminars will be available to students who have already taken the foundational courses in the same type of placement (criminal, civil, or judicial).
Externship seminars meet as a group for one hour every other week during the semester for a total of six meetings. In addition, students will meet individually with the professor mid-semester and at the end of the semester.
In the seminar, students will reflect on their field placement experience; examine topics such as their roles as lawyers and professionals; develop their professional identity; engage in difficult conversations related to the role of racism, bias, discrimination, power, and privilege in personal, professional, and societal settings; problem-solve; set career goals; and more.
All externships, including seminars are graded on a Credit/No Credit basis.
Before the semester begins, students must choose one of two seminar times and should plan their course and work schedules accordingly. Students may not switch the seminar day and time once they have committed to one of the options.
Students can pursue a semester-long Ad Hoc Externship with a federal, state or administrative law judge within commuting distance of the Law School. Approved judicial placements earn four (4) Co-Curricular credits. These credits earned may not be exchanged for Toll Public Interest Center pro bono credit. All judicial externships must be performed entirely in person and no remote placements are permitted. Judicial externs will be required to attend a Judicial Externship Seminar course every other week during the semester with an assigned faculty supervisor. Students do not need to enroll in this course during Advance Registration.
Students seeking approval of a Judicial Externship must submit a completed Judicial Externship Proposal Form before the deadline listed under “Deadlines”. This form is to be completed online and will be sent automatically to the Externship Program. Students will also need to complete a Judicial Externship Statement of Understanding Form (DocuSign) before the deadline set forth under “Deadlines”.
The deadlines for submitting Proposals and Statement of Understanding forms are as follows:
- Ad Hoc Externship and Judicial Externship Proposal Forms for S’24: The deadline for Spring 2024 proposals is midnight on November 13, 2023. Students must have formally applied to the proposed placement site by this date. The Proposal Form must be submitted even if the student has not yet been contacted by the placement site or received an externship offer before the deadline. Late Proposal submissions will not be considered.
- Ad Hoc Externship and Judicial Externship Statement of Understanding Forms for S’24: This form is to be signed electronically via DocuSign. The deadline for Spring 2024 SOU submission is December 1, 2023. If you are unable to submit your completed SOU by this date, please email the Externship Program.
The Penn Carey Law School is uniquely situated for students to commute to externship placements in Washington, DC and New York. The Law School is pleased to be able to offer travel reimbursement for in-person commuting expenses to assist students who choose to pursue externships outside of Philadelphia between Washington, DC and New York. In conjunction with University travel guidelines, for these qualifying externships, 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, and will submit receipts and reimbursement requests through Concur. 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, Delaware, and New Jersey reachable through SEPTA public transportation, Penn Carey Law School will provide students with pre-purchased SEPTA transit tickets that are for use on all SEPTA modes of transportation except Regional Rail. These tickets will be available for pick up in the Student Affairs Office. 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 Penn Carey Law School and the externship travel policy are governed by the Code of Student Conduct.