Course Requirements & FAQs

Basic course requirements for the General Externship Program:

An externship in the General Program requires students to complete fieldwork hours, which vary depending on the credit hours sought, and participate in a corresponding seminar, which is not separately graded.

  1. Credit – Students may earn two (2), three (3) or four (4) credit pass/fail hours in a single semester.
    • The number of credits available for a particular placement will depend on the type of experiences available at the specific placement, what best meets the needs of the organization and the work assigned, and the student’s needs.
    • Students can enroll in a two (2) credit externship only once
    • Students can take a maximum of six (6) credits in the General Program.

  2. Experiential Credit Requirement – ​All externships ​can count toward satisfying the school's six (6) credit experiential requirement.

  3. Field Hours & Length – ​
    In their first externship,  students must complete the following number of hours:
    • Two credits - 73 field work hours
    • Three credits - 115 field work hours
    • Four credits - 158 field work hours
    In their second externship, students must complete the following number of hours:
    • Two credits - 85 field work hours
    • Three credits - 128 field work hours
    • Four credits - 170 field work hours

    • The externship course is not complete until the end of the regular semester. It is expected that the fieldwork hours will be spread out over the duration of the entire semester, although the hours need not be equally distributed per week.
    • For fall and spring semesters, students must work a minimum of ten (10) weeks. For summer, the minimum is five (5) weeks.

  4. Work – Students must engage in legal and law-related tasks. These tasks vary with supervisor and assignment, but usually include legal research, writing briefs and memoranda, drafting pleadings, investigating cases, interviewing clients/witnesses, planning or implementing case strategies with supervisor, observing court hearings and depositions.

  5. Seminar – The seminar is an opportunity for students to critically reflect on their experiences, explore their professional development, and discuss issues to help them succeed at their placements. The seminar is part of the externship course and not separately graded. For first time participants, there is an orientation and class meetings, usually every other week. For students enrolled in a second externship, there are a combination of group and individual meetings. During the term, students set goals, keep a record of hours, submit reflective journals, and engage in self-assessments.

  6. Compensation – Students may receive both compensation and academic credit for an externship only if their externship placement-site has already successfully participated in the Extern Program in the previous two years. See the FAQs section below for further guidelines.

  7. Third-Year Bar Card – Externship students who have completed 45 hours may apply for a Third-Year Bar Card (from the State Bar of Texas), which allows a student to practice law and appear in court under attorney supervision, with client consent. Each student must have a licensed attorney to sponsor the Bar Card.

FAQs

Can a student satisfy their pro bono requirements through the externship?

Possibly. If the placement is a qualifying pro bono placement, then any hours the student completes exceeding the minimum hours required for the number of credits in which the student is enrolled may be applied toward meeting the pro bono requirement. 

Can a student extern where these is a familial relationship?

Students may not receive credit if the field supervisor is a family member or a direct supervisor of the proposed field supervisor. If there is a family relationship between the student and someone at the placement, the student and/or field supervisor must disclose this. 

Can a student enroll in more than one externship in a semester?

No. The potential for conflicts of interest issues are present in addition to concern of students overcommitting their time.

Can a student take a clinic and externship in the same semester?

Generally no, for the same reasons above. Students may petition the Dean of Experiential Education for permission to waive this prohibition.

Can a student work at a job/volunteer and extern at the same time?

Generally yes. However, students must recognize the potential for conflicts of interest issues. Students must disclose the intention to work/volunteer to the Extern Director. The student must get approval from the field supervisor, the work supervisor and Extern Director. Failing to disclose and obtain necessary approval would be considered a violation the Aggie Honor Code Rules and Procedures.

Can a student receive both compensation and academic credit for an externship?

Yes.  Students may receive both compensation and academic credit for an externship only if their externship placement-site has already successfully participated in the Extern Program in the previous two years.  

Paid externships, just like unpaid, must be pre-approved by the Externship Director before a student can be enrolled in the course. See Application Process/Apply. Field supervisors of paid externs, just like those of unpaid externs, must agree to fulfill all of the responsibilities and requirements of the program.  See Field Supervisor Responsibilities, & Field Supervisor Eligibility and Application Process.
 
If receiving pay, the student must notify the Externship Director of this fact at the time of applying for approval to enroll in the course.  If, after approval, the student’s status changes from unpaid to paid, the student must immediately notify the Externship Director.
 
If a student is currently working at an externship site, the student cannot receive credit for work that is similar to what s/he has been doing.  At the time of application, the student must submit a statement detailing the scope of current duties, and outlining proposed new goals and tasks which demonstrate how the student will be engaged in work that can increase the student’s knowledge, skills and ethics through this placement.

Externship sites are under no obligation to pay for a student’s time on an externship. Payment is completely determined by the externship site and the individual student. The law school will not get involved in any negotiation or dispute about payment or the amount thereof.  Please consult Career Services for guidance on typical pay for law clerks at the placement type. 
 
An externship is a class for which students pay tuition and receive credit. The law school’s foremost concern is to ensure a structured educational experience that allows students to gain additional skills and knowledge during their externship.  The goals of the externship program does not change if students are paid for their work. 
 
Only a limited number of externship placements are permitted each semester. If there are more externship applicants than the program can accommodate in any semester, students who are not paid or paid through third party sources such as stipends, grants, and fellowships will be given priority over paid externships.  

Can a student convert a current paid/volunteer position to an externship and receive credit?

Generally yes. The field supervisor/ organization must provide assurances that the student will be engaged in a significantly different learning experience and outline the work the student will be doing. If the organization it not a currently approved placement, the placement must submit an application for approval. Then, upon approval of the Extern Director, the student may complete an additional semester at the same placement. 

Can a student get credit retroactively for an internship in which they are currently working or have completed?

No. All externships must be pre-approved, and credit cannot be awarded to hours completed before approval and enrollment in the course.