Center for Externships

Externships provide students with opportunities to build lawyering skills by working with lawyers and judges in a legal or judicial office outside the law school. The law school’s location in Chicago provides many exciting externship opportunities with civil rights and legal aid agencies; federal, state and local government agencies; federal and state judicial chambers; and major corporations. The Center for Externships offers a range of Practicum courses where students can combine real-world experience under the supervision of experienced lawyers with a seminar related to the externship work taught by a faculty member.

Practicum courses combine classroom teaching from faculty members with expertise related to the externship with hands-on learning at the externship site. Students work at their placements about 12 hours each week and attend a weekly seminar that includes assigned readings and discussions about key issues related to their externship work. "Our program is different from many others in that rather than putting all externship students in one class, we group students with similar types of placements together in a smaller class with a curriculum specifically designed to inform that particular type of work," says Center for Externships Director Professor Cindy Wilson.

Students in externships build skills including interviewing and advising clients, creating legal strategies, drafting legal documents, appearing in court, and working as part of a legal team. Students can select the externship experience(s) that align with the skills they want to build, the kind of law they want to explore, and the legal setting they want to experience. Popular placements include the ACLU, Legal Aid Chicago, the SEC, the EPA, the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, the Federal Defender, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, federal and state court judicial chambers, and many more.

Center for Externships Overview Video