Full-time externships offer you the opportunity to integrate practical experience in a legal setting outside the Law School with a Law School classroom experience. You’ll work full-time under the supervision of an attorney at a U.S. or international nonprofit or government agency.

You’ll arrange your own placement, though if you need guidance on how to pursue a placement, please make an appointment with Professor Amy Sankaran. We are more than happy to counsel you about site selection; in fact, we welcome the opportunity. 

There is also a one-credit classroom component to the full-time externship program that discusses topics such as professionalism, supervision, and wellness in the legal profession. Please check the upcoming class schedule for the date and time of the seminar. If you cannot attend the seminar, contact Amy Sankaran to explore alternative arrangements.

Externship programs are under the jurisdiction of the Curriculum Committee. You are responsible for following the correct procedures for your externship application/proposal as outlined below. You may not receive any compensation for your work.

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Full-time Externship Program Details

  • Credits

    You will earn 12 credits for an approved externship program in a regular academic term. One credit is allocated to a seminar with the balance awarded for full-time work at a nonprofit or government agency during the course of the entire semester. The fieldwork credits will be graded on a mandatory pass/fail basis, while the one-credit seminar is graded.

    A student who would like to receive additional credits may propose an optional paper or project for either one, two, or three credits. You must secure a faculty sponsor and submit that information with your proposal, as well as noting the number of credits you would like to receive. The paper/project is typically graded.

    You may not enroll in an additional course beyond the externship courses, either here at Michigan Law or another law school, unless there are extraordinary circumstances.

    It is expected that you will devote full time to the externship for the duration of the term of enrollment. You may not engage in both the externship and study abroad program during your matriculation at the Law School.

  • Eligibility

    Only students who have completed their first-year core requirements are eligible for an externship program. Only students in good academic standing are eligible to participate in an externship. In deciding whether to approve an externship program, the members of the committee may take into account the student's academic performance at the Law School.

    The committee will more than likely not approve a proposal from a student who has two or more outstanding iincompletes on his or her transcript at the time the proposal is submitted. You are not permitted to enroll in an externship with more than one Incomplete grade on your transcript at the time of your departure.

How to Apply

After you have identified possible externship placements or finalized an externship placement (you must apply by the deadline whether or not you have finalized your placement) and secured a faculty sponsor, please submit your application on MCompass.

Applications are reviewed by Professor Amy Sankaran and then sent for approval to the Curriculum Committee. In considering the application, the committee may take into account multiple factors, including the Law School's experience with the agency, your academic record, the demonstrated quality of the agency's educational and supervisory commitment, and the final recommendation of Professor Sankaran. 

  • The deadline to submit a proposal for a Fall externship is April 1
  • The deadline to submit a proposal for the Winter externship is November 1

Externs should bid on a full slate of classes during class bidding. That will ensure that externs will never lose their full-time status, plus, if anything falls through for you or the site, you will have classes you selected, not just what is left. Please do NOT bid on clinics, as dropping clinics at the last minute is very challenging for those programs. We will work with you and the Registrar to get you enrolled in the proper externship classes a week or two before the semester begins.

Questions?

  • Application Process

    The application package consists of five parts:

    • Find your opportunity and fill out an application form in M-Compass
    • Your written proposal
    • Your resume
    • And if seeking to do an optional paper/project, an email statement from a faculty member committing to supervising the paper/project and the number of additional credits sought, which can be sent to lawexternships@umich.edu. If you have not yet decided whether to add a paper or project, it can be added at a later date.
    • Once your application is confirmed you must complete the full-time supervising attorney agreement and upload it to your application. It is due one week before classes start.

    If you are proposing a final semester externship, there is one additional requirement: A completed externship checklist showing that at the end of the externship all requirements for your degree will have been met.

    It is your responsibility to make sure that all parts of the externship application package have been received by the deadline.

    YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE A POSITION SECURED TO APPLY.

    Instead, you must list all the sites you are considering in your proposal. Failure to list a possible placement might lead to you being unable to extern at that placement.

  • Proposal

    You should enumerate the specific educational objectives you hope to achieve through the proposed externship and the manner in which this will occur. The written proposal should address the following:

    • Name and description of the host organization(s). Again, you do not have to have a placement finalized to apply; you may list more than one possibility.
    • Work to be performed/duties and responsibilities.
    • Specific educational objectives.
    • Why the educational objectives cannot be achieved in the classroom.
    • How the externship will build on your academic experience.
    • How the externship will build on your prior work experience.
    • If you have ever worked at this placement before (or will be working there before the externship commences), please describe how your externship will be substantially different from your past experience(s).
    • If you are doing a research paper, the name of your faculty sponsor for your paper, and as specific a description as possible of the topic for your research paper.
  • Faculty Sponsor Statement (Optional)

    If you are undertaking an optional paper/project, the faculty sponsor must provide written confirmation of his or her commitment to supervise and grade your paper/project at the end of the externship.

    This confirmation may be sent via email to lawexternships@umich.edu. If you have not yet decided whether to add a paper or project, it can be added at a later date.

  • Host Supervisor Statement

    The host organization must provide a signed Supervising Attorney Agreement which describes the site's obligation to our student and a resume of a supervising attorney or the equivalent.

    Once an externship proposal has been approved by the Committee, Professor Sankaran will vet the proposed site by discussing the program with the supervising attorney at the host organization and confirming the commitments.