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JD Externship Programs


Information for Students

Overview and Goal of Program

The Externship Programs at Vermont Law School provide students the opportunity to participate in three different offerings:  Full-time JD Externship-Semester in Practice (SiP), Part-time JD Externship, and Judicial Externship (offered on a full- and part-time basis). In each offering, students apprentice (without pay) with lawyers in all areas of practice or in judicial chambers. These externships provide an opportunity—through observation, participation, practice, and reflection—to improve students' legal knowledge and skills and to inform and expand their vision of what the practice and profession of law can be.

The overarching goal of the externship programs is to provide opportunities for students to develop lawyering skills, learn substantive law, and engage in critical reflection about the legal profession, their legal career, and their priorities and values as lawyers and individuals through supervised field experiences and the contemporaneous seminar.

Components of the Externship Experience

There are two different components to the externship program:  a practicum component and a classroom component. Students are provided supervision on each aspect of the program. For the practicum, students are designated an on-site field mentor. The field mentor is the person at the work site who has the responsibility to oversee student work and complete VLS program requirements. In the classroom, each student is assigned a faculty supervisor from Vermont Law School. The faculty supervisor is the person who will be reviewing the various classroom requirements throughout the semester. The faculty supervisor is also the person who will conduct any required site visit between weeks four and seven of the semester.

Placement

Externship students can work in any number of different legal settings including:  nonprofits, law firms, legal services, government agencies, NGOs, or judicial chambers in state and federal court, at either the trial or appellate level. Students work with externship faculty to select, pursue, and confirm an appropriate placement for their externship.

Program Specific Requirements

A.      Full-time Externships (SiP and Judicial)

1.     Credits: 

Students enrolled in the full-time program work for 15 weeks, 40 hours each week, and receive 11 experiential credits and 2 classroom credits. Experiential credits are awarded on a pass-fail basis. Classroom credits are letter-graded.

2.     Eligibility: 

a.       Eligible Semester Participation:

i.      JD students are eligible to participate in their 4th, 5th and 6th semesters;

ii.      AJD students are eligible to participate in their 5th and 6th semesters. 

b.      GPA:  All students interested in participating in an externship need to have a GPA of 2.4 or higher to be eligible to participate.

c.       Timely Submission of Request to Enroll Form and submission of required materials.  A list of required materials is included on the Request to Enroll Form.

B.     Part-time Externships

1.     Credits: 

Students must work 3 hours per week for 15 weeks for each credit earned. For example, a six-credit externship requires 2.4 days or 18 hours of work per week, totaling 270 hours for the semester. Students may earn from four to six credits, depending on the time committed. All credits awarded are "experiential credits," and they are awarded on a pass-fail basis. There is a classroom component for all part-time externship students. The classroom component is not separately graded.

2.     Eligibility:

a. Eligible Semester Participation:

i. JD students are eligible to participate in their 4th, 5th and 6th semesters;

ii. AJD students are eligible to participate in their 5th and 6th semesters.

b. GPA: All students interested in participating in an externship need to have a GPA of 2.4 or higher to be eligible to participate.

c. Timely Submission of Request to Enroll Form and submission of required materials. A list of required materials is included on the Request to Enroll Form.

Application Deadline

Fall Semester:  Students interested in doing an externship during the Fall Semester:

  • Full-Time: February 1
  • Part-Time: A request to enroll in the part-time program must be completed by April 15, and students must meet with an SiP faculty member and identify a likely field supervisor no later than April 30.

Spring Semester:  Students interested in doing an externship during the Spring Semester (Full and Part-time)

  • September 30th