Vermont Law was one of the first schools to allow students to earn a full semester of academic credit by working as apprentices to practicing lawyers and judges. Over three decades later, an expanded JD Externship Program continues to offer second- and third-year students the opportunity to engage the legal profession before graduation in a highly flexible, yet supervised, guided, and intensive manner.
Three JD Externship Courses are offered each fall and spring semester: Semester in Practice, Judicial Externship, and Part-Time JD Externship. In close collaboration with externship faculty, students identify and then target optimal externships of interest. Through that process, the resulting match is the best possible opportunity for each student within the wide variety of settings that make up the legal profession. VLS students extern in private law firms, offices of prosecutors and public defenders, state and federal courts, NGOs, corporations, government agencies, policy and legislative offices, and other non-profit organizations, firms, and advocacy groups -- in any geographic location of interest to the student.
VLS has an extensive network of experienced lawyers, judges, and qualified JD recipients with whom students may work, but students are not restricted to a finite list of externship options. Each semester, a significant number of students apprentice to legal professionals who are new to the VLS community.
During the externship semester, students also work one-on-one with an assigned faculty supervisor who serves as teacher, coach, mentor, and confidant throughout the semester. Faculty supervisors have significant experience in the legal profession outside of academia, offering students the benefit of their perspectives, along with the support necessary to successfully begin navigating the challenges of early professional experience.
Vermont Law students can begin the transition to a professional career before graduation through one or more JD Externship course.