VLS was one of the first law schools to allow students to earn a full semester of academic credit in an off-campus apprenticeship. Our individualized approach to experiential learning allows second- and third-year students to learn from practice by working directly with judges and lawyers across the nation and the globe. Placements cover a wide variety of practice settings, including government agencies, state and federal judicial chambers, public interest organizations, corporations, and private firms. VLS faculty teach and coach students and their supervisors using online class discussion, journals, site visits, individual and group conferences, and frequent communications throughout the semester.
We offer three externship courses: the Semester in Practice (SiP), Judicial Externship, and Part-time JD Externship
Semester in Practice
Through a full-time, semester-long externship, VLS students apprentice in legal practice with experienced attorney-supervisors at government agencies, nonprofits, corporations, and law firms in the U.S. and abroad.
This semester-long practicum places students in judges' chambers, where they learn about the process of judicial decision making by observing and participating in the functions of a court. Students work closely with a supervising judge to develop legal skills such as writing, research, and analytical skills.
Part-Time JD Externship
Similar to the Semester in Practice, the Part-Time JD Externship is a semester-long externship in which students work part-time with attorney-supervisors in a variety of legal settings, including courts as well as other traditional public and private practice settings.
Additional information for students and mentors can be found by visiting: http://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/clinics-and-externships/jd-externships .
Jeffry White, Director of JD Externship Programs, Assistant Professor of Law
JD, Vermont Law School; BA, Sarah Lawrence College; private and public sector practice experience, following a post-graduate judicial clerkship, with a concentration in medical malpractice, insurance coverage, and employment litigation with special emphasis in appellate practice.
Nicole Killoran, Assistant Professor of Law
JD, Vermont Law School; MELP, Vermont Law School; BS, University of Utah; private practice experience with a concentration in land use, zoning, and environmental litigation, bankruptcy, collections, estate planning, and landlord-tenant law.
Professors White and Killoran are often joined by other experienced faculty supervisors.
Our students work with attorneys who are experienced in their chosen specialty, respected by the legal community, and interested in the never-ending process of improving the legal profession. Our ideal supervising attorneys take students under their wing because they have a commitment to providing students with practical, hands-on legal education, and because they appreciate the benefits a fresh and inquiring mind can bring to their practice.
Our supervising attorneys directly supervise students to ensure the quality of their educational experience during the 15-week semester. They are expected to provide opportunities for students to observe and participate in all aspects of practice, work with students to help them meet their educational goals, provide formal feedback, and meet and/or communicate with faculty about the student's experience. Administrative expectations for supervising attorneys include:
- Reviewing a student's educational goals for the semester during the first week of work, and helping the student refine those goals in light of the anticipated work of the semester;
- Meeting with the student twice (in the 5th and 10th weeks) to review the student's narrative self-evaluation, and discuss progress toward meeting the student's goals;
- Meeting with faculty for an in-person site visit in the first half of the semester, and communicating with faculty about the externship during the semester; and
- Preparing a final evaluation of the student on a form provided by the Program and reviewing it with the student during the final (15th) week of the semester.
Recent Semester in Practice placements include:
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (regional offices, and Washington, D.C.)
- Guild Yule, LLP (Vancouver, BC)
- City of Houston Legal Department (Houston, TX)
- State Prosecutors' Offices (VT, FL, MA, NH, ME, NY, CT, NE)
- State Public Defenders' Offices (CO, NY, VT, PR, TX)
- Nature Conservancy (VA; MA, CA, CO)
- Sternberg Reed Solicitors (Essex, UK)
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Washington, D.C.)
- Mayer & Mayer (South Royalton, VT)
- Utah Attorney General, Environmental Division (Salt Lake City, UT)
- Refugee Legal Aid Project (Cairo, Egypt)
Recent Judicial Externship placements include:
- United States District Courts, Districts of Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont
- United States Court of International Trade
- Colorado District Court
- Florida Circuit Court
- Virginia Supreme Court
- Vermont Superior and Supreme Courts
- United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
Recent Part-Time JD Externship placements include:
- New Hampshire Attorney General's Office
- Vermont Superior and Supreme Courts
- United States District Court, District of Vermont
- Conservation Law Foundation
- Vermont State's Attorney's Offices (Addison, Chittenden, Rutland, Washington Counties)
- Vermont Public Interest Research Group
- Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
- Have Justice Will Travel
- Vermont Department of Public Service
If you are interested in becoming a supervising attorney please complete our JD Externships Site Description Form.pdf.