Externships offer an exciting opportunity to augment classroom study with real-world work experience. Under the guidance of Michigan faculty and a field placement supervisor, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in legal work with nonprofit organizations across the country and around the world.
My externship “always gets the most attention on my resume”
"I always tell people the Geneva Externship program is why I decided to attend the University of Michigan Law School," starts Christian Husby, ’17, as he describes his externship with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva....
Litigating for education reform in South Africa
Katie Joh, ’17, recounts her experience with the Legal Resources Centre in Eastern Cape, South Africa. She coordinated with schools, administrators, and parents in support of education reform litigation...
Our Externship Programs
Michigan Law offers five distinct externship programs. You may propose your own full- or part-time externship with an organization, or you may choose from Michigan Law’s established international externship programs. If you would like to participate in one of our externship programs, schedule a conversation with Professor Amy Sankaran, director of our externship and pro bono programs, or attend one of our information sessions.
If you are interested in an externship, speak with Professor Amy Sankaran, Externship Program Director.
Which Externship is Right for Me?
Full-time Externships vs. International Externships
Geneva and South Africa placements are based on existing relationships with Michigan Law—you can choose from a list of options. You may propose other placements if you wish, but most students choose to rely on the established Michigan Law placement options.
For international externships, Michigan Law applies on your behalf. For the regular full-time program, you apply directly.
Geneva, South Africa, and India are only offered in the winter semester, while other full-time externships are offered in both fall and winter.
What are the costs?
There is no fee for any of these programs. Rather, you pay regular tuition, and any financial aid that you already receive (loans, grants, scholarships) applies to the externship credits just like taking classes in Ann Arbor.
There is a $3,000 fellowship award for the Geneva Program, to defray expenses in that city, for those participating at in-person placements.
For all programs, you can speak with the Financial Aid Office and request a higher budget to cover additional costs you anticipate incurring, such as your flights, vaccinations, and other paperwork.
Can I apply to more than one externship program?
Yes, you are welcome to apply to more than one.
However, remember that you can only participate in one full-time externship or study abroad semester during your time at Michigan Law.
To avoid wasted time and effort, schedule a chat with us, and we can help you sort out which program would be the best fit for your interests and goals.
Can I do a clinic and a full-time externship?
Yes, there are no conflicts with this at all.
For example, while the fieldwork of an externship does not count toward the 64-credit rule, clinics fully count toward that rule. Similarly, as to Honors requirements of 63-graded credits, while portions of externships are ungraded, most clinics are fully graded or partially graded.
You can also do the Geneva, South Africa, or India Externship and a part-time externship; you just cannot do more than one full-time externship or study abroad program during your six semesters.
Am I committed to participating by applying?
You are not committing to a program simply by applying. Each program has different rules for when we need a final commitment from you.
- For Geneva, we will give you the date by which we need a commitment, which will be after Professors Nicols and Sankaran have a chance to meet with you to discuss your application, usually in late March.
- For India and South Africa, the timing is different, but we will not send your materials anywhere until we have a 100-percent commitment from you.
- For other part-time and full-time externships, your commitment will be determined by the individual application process (since you apply directly).
However, for all international externship programs, once we have asked for your commitment, we take that very, very seriously.
We are putting your application in front of an organization we have worked very hard to build a relationship with, and we are putting your application forward instead of someone else who might have wanted that spot.
Your commitment is what helps us maintain our special relationships with these competitive, outstanding organizations. Without it, our partners cannot trust us and will find other sources for externs.
What if my externship takes place during my last semester?
If you will be away during your last semester, we require a Degree Audit Report (in MCompass during the application process) from the registrar to help ensure that you will graduate on time. (It’s best to know what is required before you leave the country!)
You will have the fall semester to make up for any discrepancies, of course; this is just helpful notice to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.