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Legal Externship Program

Get Exposure to the Legal Profession

The goal of the Florida International College of Law Externship Program is to expose law students to the legal profession through a practical educational experience within a variety of contexts.  Externships serve as a framework for a more concrete understanding and management of the professional, ethical, and personal challenges that are an inherent part of legal profession.  The various externship sites offer hands-on opportunities to observe the legal and judicial systems at work.  In most cases, students will interact with and provide advocacy on behalf of “real clients,” and engage in relevant legal work under the supervision of practicing attorneys or judges.

Moreover, externships provide students with an understanding of the practice of law “in the trenches.”  Students are given an opportunity to concretely conceptualize what it means to be an attorney or judge. Students step out of the classroom, into the field, and are afforded the chance to learn by doing and observing under the guidance of a supervising attorney.  The faculty-led seminar accompanying the field placement, serves as a venue for review of substantive issues, self-assessment, and reflection upon the skills, values, and professional obligations that prevail in the practice setting.

Externship Courses

Civil45Professional Responsibility
Criminal48 and letter of clearance from the Florida BarProfessional Responsibility, Evidence and Criminal Procedure – Investigation
JudicialCompletion of Foundation Curriculum (includes all 1L courses).None
Law Firm Placement45Professional Responsibility and Evidence
Advanced ExternshipHaving completed the initial externship

General Information

During the academic year (fall and spring semesters), the Criminal and Civil Externship courses are one semester for FOUR ungraded (pass/fail) credits.  The credit will be awarded based on the completion of the requisite hours per semester at the placement.   These credits are considered in classroom credits and do NOT count as credit for non classroom work.  Credit will also be awarded based on participation in a classroom component designed to encourage students to think critically, ethically and reflectively about the practice of law.  The criteria for admission will depend on the particular program; hence students must meet the admission criteria for the specified placement.   During the summer, all placements (excluding the Advanced Placement) will be comprised of two separate courses for TWO graded and FOUR pass/fail credits.

The courses offered through the Judge Aaron B. Cohen Judicial Externship program vary from four (4) pass/fail credit for most placements to six (6) for those selected for placements at Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee.  Each Judicial Externship entails similar general duties, with some variation from court to court. Duties will be defined by the Faculty Supervisor and the individual Judge. Duties for judicial externships may include, but are not limited to:  performing legal research, preparing legal memoranda, and observing court proceedings.

The Advanced Externship Placement is an externship placement for variable (2 – 4) credit hours for those who have taken a previous externship and wish to continue at the same placement or switch to a different placement for additional experiential opportunities.

Learning Objectives

The Legal Externship Program provides an opportunity for students to work with a legal employer in the corporate, governmental, public or private sector. Through the students’ exposure to the real work environment of law practice, students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law, demonstrate the knowledge and skills for competent and ethical participation with different legal contexts, and exercise proper professional and ethical responsibilities toward clients and the legal system as such.  The learning outcomes and performance measures will be demonstrated as follows:

Demonstrate Legal Knowledge and Understanding

Outcome Measure:  Students will be able to demonstrate substantial knowledge and understanding of legal rules and doctrine by

  1. Articulating legal rules in core substantive areas,
  2. Stating the elements and component parts of rules, the policies and social context that give rise to legal rules, and the trends in these subject areas.
  3. Explain the role of case law and precedent in our legal system.
  4. Explain the role and process of statutory and regulatory law.
  5. Explain the rules of discovery in civil, criminal, and administrative proceedings.
  6. Explain the objectives and processes of structuring civil transactions.
  7. Describe the theoretical frameworks for lawyering skills including interviewing, counseling, negotiation, advocacy and mediation.
  8. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of various processes for resolving problems.

Employ Legal Skills

Outcome Measure:  Students will be able to employ legal skills as measured by the following:

  1. Use of legal doctrine to solve problems.
  2. Applying statutory and regulatory law to solve client issues.
  3. Conducting interviews in a structured and thoughtful manner.
  4. Counselling clients objectively, respectfully, and effectively.
  5. Conducting effective legal research, including:
  6. Creating an efficient and comprehensive research plan and implementing it.
  7. Drafting professional documents for litigation.
  8. Drafting professional documents for transactions.
  9. Communicating effectively, including:
  10. Using other communication skills, including:
  11. Conducting effective negotiations, including:
  12. Advocating for clients within legal settings and/or educating an audience.
  13. Collaborating and working effectively with colleagues, peers, supervisors, and staff.

Exercise and Illustrate Professionalism and Values

Outcome Measure:  Students will be able to exercise professional responsibility and illustrate the values inherent to an ethical legal practice through the following measures:

      1. Demonstrate the ability to conduct themselves with honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, empathy, civility, and cultural competence.
      2. Behave ethically in accordance with the Rules of Professional Responsibility (and relevant state and local rules of practice).
      3. Demonstrate self-awareness and a capacity for reflection, including:

a. Learning from mistakes.
b. Articulating personal preferences and biases, and actively working to counteract them.
c. Demonstrating concern for the experiences of others.

    1. Maintain a commitment to pro bono and public service.

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