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Clinical and Externship Programs

Guidelines for Sponsors

Description of Work

The purpose of an externship is to provide a student with firsthand experience in the areas of public policy, environmental law and science. It must include some writing assignments. Because our students’ backgrounds are so diverse, individual externs have different capabilities. Generally speaking, students are most useful performing legal research and preparing memoranda, collecting and analyzing data, preparing for and attending administrative hearings and court proceedings.

 

Timeline

Fall Term
(late August to early December) 15 weeks.
When to post your openings: spring and early summer.

Spring Term
(mid-January to mid-May) 15 weeks.
When to post your openings: summer and early fall.

Summer Term
(flexible; mid-May or early June to early or mid August) 8 to 14 weeks.
When to post your openings: fall or early spring.


Selecting Externs

Arrangements can be made individually with the student(s). Most mentors require resumes and writing samples before scheduling interviews. Interviews should take place at least one term before the externship is scheduled to start.


Faculty Supervisor

The student will be in contact with his/her faculty supervisor on a regular basis before the externship begins and throughout the externship. Students are required to keep journals reflecting on the days they work and submit these journals to their faculty supervisors on a bi-weekly basis. Please feel free to call the faculty supervisor with any questions or problems you may have.


Hours

The student will earn credit for successfully completing work required and by working a certain number of hours. 45 hours equals one credit.


Supervision and Evaluation of Work

Structure the externship so that it is clear to the extern what your expectations are, and provide the extern with regularly scheduled supervision including discussions of work problems and development. It may take a few initial meetings to determine what assignments are both challenging to the intern and appropriate to his or her level of skill.

Meet with the extern on a regular basis, such as bi-weekly. At mid-term, a formal evaluation meeting with the extern and phone contact or a letter to the faculty sponsor should take place. Within one week after the end of the term, a detailed written letter of evaluation should be mailed to the faculty supervisor. If evaluations are not complete by that date, the extern receives an Incomplete on the transcript. If not received by the end of the following term, the intern receives an automatic F.

The pass/fail standard should be used. Your job is to recommend a grade to the faculty supervisor. If you have any questions about evaluation, give the faculty supervisor a call. The letter of evaluation and grading should stress the extern’s writing and oral advocacy skills, legal and technical research capabilities, judgement, responsibility, and maturity. Your letter of evaluation is confidential. Please provide the extern with a copy of the evaluation if you wish the extern to receive one.

The extern is required to submit a sample of written work completed during the externship to the faculty supervisor. You may want to assist the extern to selecting this work product. If confidentiality is an issue, the extern can black out names, etc.


Contracts

The student is required to prepare an Externship Contract before the externship begins. We provide contract guidelines to follow. The contract is reviewed and signed by whoever will be supervising the student’s work at your office as well as the faculty supervisor and the student.


Questions?

Feel free to call the program coordinator at any time with questions:

Shannon Lovely
Masters Externship Coordinator
Vermont Law School
slovely@vermontlaw.edu
802.831.1259