Externships offer an exciting opportunity to augment classroom study with real-world work experience. Michigan’s externship program is designed to provide individual students with advanced training and research opportunities in areas of particular interest to them that go beyond what is traditionally offered in a classroom setting.

Externships must be with nonprofit or government agencies; for-profit placements are not allowed. Further, students may not be compensated for their work beyond reimbursement for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses.

Key Information

  • Mid-Semester Meeting

    We typically ask a faculty member to visit each externship placement, either in person or via video conference. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss:

    • The student’s progress toward his or her goals
    • The quality of the student’s work and performance thus far
    • Whether the student has received quality supervision and specific feedback to help improve his or her performance, and
    • The student and site’s plans for the second half of the semester, including the type of work, skills and proceedings the student will focus on.
  • Educational Commitment and Supervising Attorney Agreement

    The host organization must be shown to have undertaken a specifically educational commitment to the student, including an explicit statement that the student will be supervised by an identified attorney or group of attorneys. There must be a commitment to participate with the student in analyzing and discussing the intellectual lessons to be drawn from the student’s experience. A formal program of seminars or like activities is not required, but such programs are especially desirable.

    The attorneys who supervise the student must assume responsibility for continuous evaluation of the student’s work, with particular attention paid to ways in which it can be improved.

    The host organization must commit itself to provide an experience that can be integrated directly with the faculty-supervised research project undertaken by the student as a required part of the external studies.

    The host organization must also agree not to use student externs primarily for undesirable make-work tasks, such as cite-checking or perfunctory research projects.

    Therefore, the host organization must sign a Supervising Attorney Agreement that demonstrates its commitment to the student and his or her learning, as well as a resume for one supervising attorney, or equivalent documentation of qualifications.

  • Evaluations

    The student’s supervising attorney at the host organization must submit two formal written evaluations, once at the midterm point in the externship and again at the conclusion. These evaluations should detail the work the extern has done and the supervisor’s evaluation of the student’s performance during the time period covered. 

    It is the responsibility of the student to ensure these evaluations are submitted.

    Midterm Evaluation

    Final Evaluation

    Full-Time Supervising Attorney Agreement (pdf)