Basic Course Requirements

For the General Externship Program:

  1. Credit - Students may earn two, three or four credit hours.
    • Hours:
      First-time extern students must complete the following number of field work hours:
      • Two credits - 73 field work hours
      • Three credits - 115 field work hours
      • Four credits - 158 field work hours
      For returning externs:
      • Two credits - 85 field work hours
      • Three credits - 128 field work hours
      • Four credits - 170 field work hours
    • 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.
    • 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 weeks. For summer, the minimum is five weeks.

  2. Forms – Throughout the semester and according to the syllabus, students submit learning plans, reflective journals and other self-assessments, and record their time and activities.

  3. Classes – First-time participants attend a seminar component which can consist of an orientation and in-person and/or online class meetings.

  4. Compensation – Students may NOT receive compensation for work performed at their placement at any time during the semester the student is enrolled in the Extern Program. This includes stipends and fellowship funds. However, the student can be reimbursed for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses, which must be approved by the Extern Director.

  5. Duties – 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.

  6. 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.