Seton Hall Law's Externship Program provides exciting and varied experiential learning opportunities for students to do substantive legal work at a field placement while simultaneously taking a course with a full-time faculty member. Students may secure field placements in the government and not-for-profit sectors, with judges at the federal and state levels, with gaming, hospitality, entertainment, and sports companies, at the European Court of Justice, and at the IRS.
One of the benefits of an externship program is the opportunity for Seton Hall Law students to immerse themselves into a particular placement and into a particular aspect of the legal system while being supervised by a faculty member. The educational goals for the externship program are: to train students in lawyering skills by enabling them to work alongside practicing attorneys; to give students greater understanding and insight into the workings of the legal system and profession; to increase student awareness of the professional responsibility and ethical obligations of attorneys; and to have students reflect on and learn from their work experience.
All externships are supervised by Allison Sigmund, Director of Externships.
What is the difference between an externship and an internship?
Externships are generally defined as unpaid work through which students gain experience in a given field. An "externship" is like an internship, but externs receive academic credit for their unpaid legal work and therefore must satisfy requirements imposed by the American Bar Association and the Seton Hall Law School, which are discussed below. To receive academic credit through externships, students must enroll in an externship course that is taken at the same time as the field placement. In the course, students will reflect on their field placement experience; examine topics such as their roles as lawyers and professionals; develop their professional identity; discuss bias in the workplace; problem-solve; set career goals; and more.
Are externships graded?
The externship course is graded Credit-Fail.
I am a currently in my first year of law school; can I be an extern?
No. Students, including weekend students, are only eligible to participate in externships after they have completed their first year of law school, beginning in the summer after their first year.
Can I get paid and get externship credit?
Can I receive externship credits retroactively?
No. Students must decide before the semester begins that they want to obtain externship credits and must commit to taking the externship course at the same time as the field placement. Students cannot receive externship credit for past work.
Is there a minimum GPA requirement for externships?
Students may only register for externship credit during the Fall or Spring semesters if they are in "good academic standing." Good academic standing requires the student to have a GPA of 2.33 or above.
Students who have between a 2.0 and 2.33 may receive externship credit during the Summer semester if they meet with the Director of Externships prior to registering to confirm the placement site does not require students certify they are in "good academic standing."
Students whose GPA is below a 2.0 after the fall semester of their first year (with their Lawyering grade included), cannot apply for externship credit during the summer. Students may, of course, volunteer, but cannot receive credit from the law school.
Several externships may require a higher GPA, and students are responsible for understanding and complying with those requirements before applying for and accepting a position.
how many externship credits can I take while I am at Seton Hall Law?
Students may earn a maximum of eight externship credits total. However, please be aware that externship credits are included in the 15-credit limit for out-of-classroom credits that can be applied toward graduation requirements. Therefore, if you are interested in participating in a clinic, you should be careful not to overextend on externship credits. Also, please keep in mind for planning purposes that an externship and a clinic cannot be taken in the same semester, and students cannot do more than one externship during the fall and spring semesters.
What qualifies as an externship field placement?
Field placements are limited to the following: a not-for-profit organization; a government agency; a corporate counsel's office; a gaming, hospitality, entertainment or sports placement (GHamES) (formerly sports and entertainment); or a court or tribunal.
Students may not extern at for-profit law firms. Students must be engaged in substantive law-related work, must be supervised by a licensed attorney, and the position must be unpaid. Students who receive Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) funding cannot also receive externship credit.
Can I extern at a for-profit law firm?
No. Students cannot obtain externship credit for work at a for-profit law firm.
Is prior approval required for all externships?
Students who have any questions about whether a potential placement qualifies for externship credit must make an appointment with Professor Allison Sigmund, Director of Externships. Students who have secured a placement must complete the Externship Registration Form and submit it to the Director of Externships for approval and registration. Generally, approvals and registration for externships must be completed before the first week of the semester for which the externship is sought.
Do you allow remote placements?
Yes. Students may extern in a fully remote or hybrid placement, but the supervisor must agree to certain requirements. For example, attorney supervisors must agree to integrate remote students into the work of the office on a regular basis and must meet with remote students at least once per week via video conference.
What type of work does an extern engage in?
Under ABA Standards, externs should engage in work that “is reasonably similar to the experience of a lawyer advising or representing a client or engaging in other lawyering tasks in a setting outside a law clinic under the supervision of a licensed attorney or an individual otherwise qualified to supervise.” Work will vary by placement, but typical activities include: conducting legal or factual research; conducting client or witness interviews; drafting memoranda and other legal documents; reviewing and preparing transactional documents; attending a negotiation, business meeting, or court hearing; and observing attorneys performing lawyering activities.
What if the attorney is not licensed in the state in which I am externing?
Students must always be supervised by a licensed attorney. In addition, the attorney supervisor must be an employee of the field placement. Sometimes the attorneys are members of the board of an organization or are volunteers but are not actually employees. They may not act as supervising attorneys.
Are there any pre-requisites to doing an externship besides completing my first year of law school?
No, although some placements may require them. We suggest discussing this with the field placement attorney supervisor before accepting an offer.
How many credits can I earn for my fieldwork?
Most externships during the Fall and Spring semesters are two credits and require a student to work at the placement office 120 hours during the semester. In certain circumstances, the Director of Externships may approve a one-credit externship.
Students are permitted to earn three credits for one externship during the Summer semester.
All fieldwork credits are graded credit-fail.
How many hours must I work to earn the credits?
Summer semester students can earn up to three credits for 180 hours of field placement work.
Fall and Spring semester students are capped at two credits for 120 hours of field placement work. This equates to approximately 12-15 hours per week, depending on the start and end date of the externship.
When a one-credit externship is approved, students must work 60 hours over the course of the semester.
Must I take the course at the same time as the field placement?
Yes. The course and the field placement must be taken at the same time. Credit cannot be granted for past work; students must decide prior to the start of the semester that they want externship credit.
Can I start my hours before the start of semester?
The externship credits are earned from the first day of classes and should be completed prior to the Reading period and the Exam period. Please see the Director of Externships if your placement begins prior to the start of the semester.
Can I frontload or backload my hours during the semester?
Not typically. Placements expect that students will work through the entire semester. Students are required to communicate openly with the supervisor and are required to coordinate a weekly schedule with the supervisor prior to the start of the field placement. In addition, students are responsible for calculating holidays and other days off when deciding how many hours they intend to work and when the supervisors expect them to be working.
Can I reduce my hours after I have already registered for two or three (summer only) credits?
Students may not reduce the number of hours to which they have committed to the employer unless there are exigent, unexpected circumstances. Students should immediately contact Professor Sigmund if any problems arise.
What is the time commitment? How many hours should I work in the fall or spring?
Prior to committing to a field placement, students must carefully consider how much time they can realistically set aside for the externship without compromising their schoolwork. Students should seek counseling from the Director of Externships if they are seeking guidance about balancing their regular coursework with an externship and the required externship course.
I am on a journal and participate on a trial team, or I have a job: can I re-arrange my hours at the externship when my workload for the journal, trial team or job is busiest?
Although work schedules can be adjusted for illnesses or other unavoidable conflicts, you should not plan to skip weeks or change your schedule to accommodate a deadline, job or a competition. If you are participating in activities that put large demands on your time, you should wait to apply for an externship during a semester when you will be able to maintain a regular schedule at your placement and when you can attend the externship classes.
If I work more than 120 hours in the Fall or Spring semester, can I earn more than two credits?
No. Currently, students may earn a maximum of two credits for fieldwork in the fall and spring semesters.
If I work more than 120 hours in the Summer semester, can I earn more than two credits?
The maximum credits that a student can receive for a single externship in a given summer is three credits. To obtain three credits students would be required to complete 180 hours of work, instead of the 120 hours required for two credits. Any student doing a three-credit externship must first obtain permission from the Director of Externships and must confirm with the judge or site supervisor that the student can satisfy the 180-hour requirement. Students must also keep track of their externship credits and certify in the registration form that they will not exceed the eight-credit cap on externships.
Students are currently prohibited from doing two externships during the Fall and Spring semesters but are permitted to do two externships in the Summer term. Any student doing two externships during the Summer term must obtain permission from the Director of Externships and must disclose and obtain permission from the externship placements to ensure there are no conflicts between the externships. If one of the externships is for three credits, the second externship cannot exceed two credits.
What is the deadline for submitting my externship request?
Students should register for the course as soon as the student receives an offer. Students who are seeking approval of placements that are new to the Externship Program must provide the Director of Externships with enough time to determine whether the placement meets Program requirements. Do not wait until after the semester has started to request approval or you risk having the request denied after you have already started working and the add/drop period has ended.
Can I participate in more than one externship during my time at Seton Hall Law?
Yes. Students are permitted to participate in externships in subsequent semesters up to a maximum of eight credits for externships while they are in school.
Can I earn credit for hours worked either before the semester begins or after the semester concludes?
Students may begin counting the hours they work towards their semester externship hours on the first day of the semester. Students can continue to count the hours worked until the last day of classes. Students should not extern during the reading period or the exam period. Please consult the Director of Externships if there are extenuating circumstances.
Can I extern at more than one organization during the same semester?
Yes, but only during the summer semester. Students can split their time between two placements during the summer semester if there is no conflict between the two placements. Students are not permitted to extern at more than one organization during the fall and spring semesters because the hourly total per week would severely limit the number of hours at each placement.
Can I participate in a clinic at the same time as an externship?
Only during the summer, and with permission from the Director of Externships and the Clinic Director. Students may not participate in a clinic and an externship during the Fall and Spring semesters.
Can I split time between externing and working for pay at the same placement?
Can I earn externship credit for working for a professor?
Students cannot earn externship credit for working with a professor on research projects or scholarship. Students can earn externship credit for work in a legal services setting, such as the Seton Hall Law School Center for Social Justice or the Last Resort Exoneration Project.
I really enjoy my externship. Can I continue next semester and earn credit?
Typically, no. Students may not receive externship credit at the same field placement twice unless they can demonstrate, in the form of a written memorandum to the Director of Externships, that they will be assigned matters that are substantially different than in the previous semester (for example, moving to a different group with different supervisors within the placement). Repeat field placements must always be approved by the Director of Externships. If not approved, the student always has a choice of working on a voluntary basis without receiving credit.
|REGISTRATION AND COURSES|
Where is the form for registration?
Is there a limit on the number of externships I can do while in law school?
Yes. During their study at Seton Hall Law, students can earn a maximum of eight credits for externships. The credits count toward the law school's maximum number of fifteen "out of classroom" credits.
Should I complete the registration form if I don’t have an offer yet?
No. Do not complete the registration form until you have successfully secured a placement.
What externship course should I take? How do I register?
Seton Hall Law does not separate the credits for the course component from the field placement. What that means is that a student receives one, two, or three (in summer) credits total for the combined field placement and required externship course.
Please note that you cannot register for an externship through the regular registration process! You will NOT be able to enter a code like you would for your other courses, because the Director of Externships must approve your placement. Instead, all students seeking externship credit need to register using the Externship Registration Form. Once the Director of Externships receives your registration and approves your placement, your name will be submitted to the registrar for registration.
What will my transcript say?
Once your externship is approved, your name will be submitted to the registrar. The registrar will register you for the appropriate externship course designated by EXTN, followed by the numerical designation for the course. Please note, again, that this process is separate from the regular registration process. Therefore, it may time several weeks before you see the externship course in your course registration.
What if I registered for a judicial externship?
If you have registered for a judicial externship, your transcript will say Judicial Externship (EXTN9160). Prior to the start of the semester, judicial externs will be placed in a Judicial Externship Teams page, where students can access the class requirements, including the syllabus for the class. Students are expected to attend classes, complete reading assignments, complete a reflection paper, submit time logs every two weeks, and complete a course evaluation. Students will also be expected to meet with the Director of Externships for status meetings when requested.
What if I registered for a government/nonprofit, corporate counsel, or GHamES externship?
If you have registered for a government/nonprofit (EXTN9414), corporate counsel (EXTN9417), or GHamES (EXTN9180) (previously Sports & Entertainment) externship, your transcript will reflect your individual placement. Students from these placements will be combined into one Teams page for a General Externship Course to be taught by the Director of Externships. All class requirements are included in the Course Syllabus. Students in the General Externship Course must complete a number of requirements over the course of the semester, including the following: attend all classes; complete a signed Memorandum of Understanding with the Site Supervisor; complete a Goals Meeting with Supervisor/Form; complete a self-evaluation; submit Time Logs every two weeks; a 3-4 page mid-semester reflection paper; a 3-4 page final reflection paper; submit the Supervising Attorney Final Evaluation of Student Extern; and submit the Student Evaluation of Placement form. Students will also be expected to meet with the Director of Externships for status meetings when requested.
What if I registered for the IRS externship?
If you have secured an IRS externship, you must meet with Professor Tracy Kaye prior to registering for the externship. Once you have met with Professor Kaye, you will submit your registration using the above form. You will work directly with Professor Kaye to satisfy your externship requirements, which differ from all other externship requirements.
Is the judicial externship course different from the other externship courses?
Yes. The content of the Judicial Externship Course is different from the General Externship Course.
What if I have already taken the General Externship Course in a prior semester because I completed a government/nonprofit, corporate counsel, or GHamES (previously Sports & Entertainment) externship? Do I need to take the same course again?
Any student, including a repeat extern, who wants credit for a placement must register using the externship registration form. After submitting the registration form, the student must notify the Director of Externships by email at [email protected] that the student has previously taken the General Externship Course. Any repeat externs (excluding judicial externs) will be placed in a Teams page for the Advanced Externship Course with other students who have previously taken the General Externship Course. NOTE: Students who have completed a judicial clerkship in one semester and secured a second externship with a government/nonprofit, corporate counsel/for profit, or GHamES field placement will need to take the General Externship Course. The Advanced Government/Nonprofit/Corporate Counsel/GHamES Externship Course is only available to students who have taken the General Externship Course.
Students in the Advanced Externship course will still need to complete the basic requirements: time sheets, mid-semester reflection paper, end-of-semester reflection paper, and so on. The course readings/class discussions will be different.
What if I have already taken the Judicial Externship Course in a prior semester because I completed a judicial externship? Do I need to take the same course again?
A few changes have been made to the Judicial Externship Course; therefore, all students registered for a Spring 2023 judicial externship, including those who have previously externed for a judge, will be placed together in the same class. Starting in the Summer Semester 2023, any student who has successfully completed a judicial externship course during or after Spring 2023 and who signs up for a subsequent judicial externship, should notify the Director of Externships they are a repeat judicial extern. Any repeat judicial externs will be placed in an Advanced Judicial Externship Course.
Can you tell me about the Externship at the Court of Justice of the European Union?
Anyone interested in the externship must contact Professor Tracy Kaye to discuss prerequisites and the application process. For more information, please visit the website: https://law.shu.edu/international-law-programs/dean-acheson/index.cfm
How will I know that I am registered?
It is the student’s responsibility to check the schedule a couple of weeks before the semester begins to ensure that the student is registered for the appropriate number of credits. Please note that it may take several weeks from submitting the registration form to being officially registered through the registrar, which is why we encourage all students to submit their registration as soon as they have secured a placement. If a student has noticed they are not registered by the start of the semester, the student must contact the Director of Externships immediately.
|FINDING AN EXTERNSHIP|
How do I go about seeking an externship? Do you place me?
Students are responsible for applying to the externship directly as they would for a job. The Office of Career Services has many resources available to assist you in finding a field placement. Students may use all Career Services resources regardless of whether they are seeking an internship, externship or paid position.
What resources are available at the Office of Career Services to assist me with finding an externship and helping me develop my resume?
Career counselors are available through the Office of Career Services. These counselors assist students in determining how to take advantage of their externships to meet their long-term career goals. The Office of Career Services also assists with resume/cover letter review and provides students with the opportunity to engage in a mock interview.
How can the Office of Career Services or the Director of Externships assist me in finding an externship?
The Office of Career Services provides assistance through an extensive database of field placements and counseling with individual students and more. If you need assistance or have questions, review our Office of Career Services site and the online Symplicity Database and then make an appointment to meet with your Career Counselor. Students should also review the Arizona Manual, which is a database of available internships/externships in the government and public interest sectors. The login and password can be found in the Document Library on Symplicity.
How do I actually apply?
Follow the employer's instructions. If the field placement is in Symplicity, students should review the application instructions in the posting. If there are no specific instructions, send a cover letter and resume to the contact listed in Symplicity. Students should also check the organization's website for additional information about the application process. If there is a different process described on the website, students should apply through both processes.
Am I limited to applying to field placements in Symplicity?
No. A list of approved prior externship opportunities is available in the Document Library on Symplicity, but it is not exclusive. Students are welcome to find placements on their own, and they often do by seeking opportunities through online search engines (like LinkedIn or indeed) or by going to the organization’s website. The opportunities must meet the Seton Hall Law Externship Program requirements and the organization must be willing to comply with the requirements described in the field placement Memorandum of Understanding. If you have any questions about whether the field placement would qualify, please contact the Director of Externships.
Are faculty members available to discuss externships?
Yes. Students should contact Allison Sigmund, Assistant Professor of Legal Practice and Director of Externships, at [email protected], or by phone at (973) 642-8082, with any questions about placements and course content.
Students interested in gaming, hospitality, entertainment, or sport-related externships, should contact either Devon Corneal, the Assistant Dean for Gaming, Hospitality, Entertainment and Sports Law, at [email protected] or (973) 642-8721, or Robert Boland, Assistant Professor of Law, at [email protected] at (973) 642-8424.
Students interested in the IRS Externship or Court of Justice of the European Union Externship must contact Tracy A. Kaye, Professor of Law, at [email protected] or (973) 642-8455.
I am a 1L. When do I apply for summer externships? How far in advance should I apply for fall and spring externships?
Generally, for Summer externships, first-year students should work on their resumes and cover letters during the Fall semester after their first set of finals. Application materials should be completed over Winter break to proceed with the application process before returning to school. Most organizations expect to receive applications for summer externships in January, February and March. However, some organizations may begin hiring as early as November and December, but those are mainly for 2L students. Students are therefore encouraged to check Symplicity for postings.
Students should generally apply for Fall externships in the second half of the spring semester and during the Fall semester for Spring externship. Depending on the placements, some students may apply for externships for the Fall throughout the summer.
I am a 2L. When do I apply for summer externships?
In some circumstances, 2Ls should apply for Summer externships earlier. Some Federal agencies recruit in the early Fall of the previous year. Contact the Office of Career Services for more information.
After I have accepted an offer, may I turn it down to accept a preferable externship?
Typically, no. Students should not renege on an offer after they have accepted it. Once they have informed the employer that they accept the offer of employment, they should plan to extern. If a student has extenuating circumstances, they should reach out to their Career Counselor and the Director of Externships.
Is it possible to just complete the fieldwork and not take a course and still receive credit?
No. To receive credit, students MUST be supervised by faculty through the externship course.
If students complete the fieldwork, but not the class, and it is a non-profit, government, or judicial position that is unpaid, students may seek credit for that service through the Center for Social Justice Pro Bono Service Program. Please contact Lori Borgen, Director of the Center for Social Justice, at [email protected].
Can I take the course in one semester and complete the fieldwork hours in another semester?
No. The fieldwork hours need to be completed in the same semester as the course.
What if I haven't received my security clearance?
Many government agencies require security clearances which may delay your start date. When you receive the security clearance package from the agency, fill it out and submit it immediately. Any student who has not received their security clearance by the first week of class must contact the Externship Program.
Pro bono service fulfillment
Unless otherwise stated in an externship description, most externships will fulfill the New York State Court of Appeals’ pro bono 50-hour service requirement for admission to the New York Bar.
REMINDER: All externships must be approved by the Director of Externships. It is the responsibility of the student to request approval in a timely fashion. It is important to submit the registration form before classes begin to ensure there are no issues with approval after the semester has already started.