JD students may, under limited circumstances, 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 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).
In accordance with faculty policy, the University of Pennsylvania Law School does not grant academic credit for externships performed at for-profit organizations or institutions, including law firms and corporate legal departments. The Ad Hoc Externship Program is not intended for 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.
- 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 a Proposal Form to firstname.lastname@example.org . The deadline for submitting the Proposal Form for 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.
- 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, will be posted shortly.
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 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 will be met. Proposals for Ad Hoc Externships based on personal reasons will not be approved.
- 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 generally approved solely for four, five, or seven academic 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 at least 12 hours per week. A five credit Externship requires that the student work at the site at least 15 hours per week. A seven credit Externship requires that the student work at the site at least 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 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.
Regardless of the number of credits received for the externship, all students will be required to submit to their faculty supervisor bi-weekly reflective journals of their Externship activities. In accordance with ABA requirements, students will also be required to attend a bi-weekly tutorial or seminar 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 for remote bi-weekly meetings.
Students can pursue an Ad Hoc Externship with a federal or state judge within commuting distance of the law school. Students may only earn four (4) academic credits for this externship, and only semester long externships are permitted. Academic credits earned in Judicial Externships 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 that will be taught by Professor Barrett. Students do not need to enroll in this course during Advance Registration. A mutually convenient meeting date and time will be set closer to the start of the semester.
Students seeking approval of a Judicial Externship must submit a completed Judicial Externship Proposal Form before the deadline listed under “Deadlines”. Students will also need to complete a Judicial Externship Statement of Understanding Form before the deadline set forth under “Deadlines”.
The deadlines for submitting Proposals and Statement of Understanding forms are as follows:
- Proposal Forms - deadlines will be posted shortly. The Proposal Form must be submitted even if the student has not received an offer yet from the placement site. Late Proposal submissions will not be considered.
- Statement of Understanding Forms - deadlines will be posted shortly. This form is to be signed electronically by all parties via DocuSign.
These deadlines were established in recognition that some placement sites have early deadlines, and that in all cases ample time is needed for the Externship Program’s careful review of all proposals. In addition, these deadlines are consistent with the Law School’s Advance Registration period.
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 guidelines, 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 email@example.com.