NYLS upper-class students may participate in one of our Externship Programs. Student externs earn academic credits while they gain practical experience and exposure to practice, and they build skills in a supportive real-world setting. Through our Judicial Externship Program student externs work with judges in one of the many courthouses near the law school. In the Law Office Externship Program, they work with carefully selected attorneys in the full range of legal practice settings. The judges and lawyers who work with our student externs value their roles as mentors, and, throughout the externship, our student externs are supported by faculty at the law school. Students in all our Externship Programs begin the career-long process of learning from experience.
All Law School externships are unpaid positions that run concurrently with the NYLS academic calendar. Student externs can earn two academic credits for their work at the court or law office. Our externs are required to work 168 hours a semester, which means they work 12 hours per week in the fall and spring semesters and 24 hours per week during the shorter summer session. Externs complete complementary assignments at the law school in addition to their placement hours.
Plan the timing of an externship to coincide with one of our semesters:
- Fall semester: begins mid-August and ends early December (14 weeks)
- Spring semester: begins mid-January and ends late April (14 weeks)
- Summer semester: begins early June and ends late July (7 weeks)
Judicial Externship Program
After the first year of law school many students refine their research, writing, and analytical skills; gain exposure to courtroom advocacy; and test their understanding of the rules of evidence and procedure by participating in the Judicial Externship Program. Students interested in applying for a judicial externship may find more information in the Externships channel on the portal under the Career Resources tab (click here to log in). Within a few blocks of the Law School, students may assist judges in the New York City Criminal, Civil, and Family Courts; the New York State Supreme Court; the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York; the Court of International Trade; the Bankruptcy Court; and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Students who are willing to take a short train or subway ride can take advantage of the courts in nearby Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, and New Jersey. Our judicial externs research issues, draft memos and opinions, and sit at the bench beside judges in each of these courts and then meet in a seminar at the law school to discuss and analyze their experiences. What better way to prepare to be a lawyer than by experiencing first-hand how judges decide real cases?
Judges interested in hosting NYLS externs may contact Wanda James, Coordinator for Career Planning and Public Interest Programming, for more information at 212.431.2192 or Wanda.James@nyls.edu.
“Every student interested in litigation should do this!”
Jamie Nobles ’02
Justice Rena K. Uviller, New York State Supreme Court
“My writing and research skills improved dramatically…The clerk was like my own personal writing professor.”
Justina Kingen ’04
Justice Joan Madden, New York State Supreme Court
“I have a more realistic perception of the courts and feel that just being in the courtroom and chambers has given me more confidence in my future as an attorney.”
Filomena Lepore ’04
Judge Richard Conway Casey, SDNY
“I learned at a rate that exceeded any other area of my law school education.”
Glenn Galati ’03
Justice Nicholas Figueroa, New York State Supreme Court
“This externship will provide a student with the opportunity to become an integral part of an organization and learn first-hand the demands of a general counsel.”
Amanada Waye ’12
“Mr. Meringolo ’99 includes his interns in every aspect of his practice; he gives each individual’s input thoughtful consideration, explains the meanings and motivations behind the decisions he makes, and treats the students as real associates.”
Lexis Termini ’12
Meringolo & Associates P.C.
“The lawyers at my placement encourage the externs to participate in all the processes of the cases…including in court and settlement with opposing counsel.”
Jung Eun Kim ’11
New York Legal Assistance Group
“My mentor is an excellent attorney; where she shines is in her ability to assign and assist on projects that both gave me responsibility and allowed me the autonomy to complete the projects.”
Raphael Majma ’11
Law Office Externship Program
What is the Law Office Externship Program?
The short answer is that the Law Office Externship Program is a course in which law students (externs) earn credits toward their J.D. degree while doing unpaid legal work in a law office (placement). At the placements, attorneys give the externs assignments and supervise their legal work. At the Law School, externs work closely with faculty members (faculty tutors) who help them make the most of this real world experience by reviewing their time sheets, reading the journals they write reflecting on their experience, and meeting regularly to discuss what they are learning at the placement.
NOTE: Interpretation 305-3 of the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools states:
A law school may not grant credit to a student for participation in a field placement program for which the student receives compensation. This Interpretation does not preclude reimbursement of reasonable out-of-pocket expenses related to the field placement.
What are the Law Office Externship Course Requirements?
All externs must work a minimum of 168 hours (roughly 12 hours per week during the fall or spring semesters and 24 hours per week during the summer term). Externs keep detailed time sheets and write journals in which they reflect on what they are learning at their placements. During the semester, externs work with staff in the Office of Career Planning and Student Life and a member of the faculty (faculty tutor). Staff members in the Office of Career Planning and Student Life keep track of externs’ time sheets and offer general career and professional advice while the faculty tutors and/or seminar faculty, who are paired with students by specialty area, offer more practice specific guidance.
How many credit hours is the Law Office Externship Course?
All externship placements are 2 credit-hours graded pass/fail. Externs in real estate placements must also participate in the 1-credit Real Estate Externship Seminar, which is letter-graded so real estate externs earn a total of 3 credit-hours. Externs in fields other than real estate may apply to take the 2- credit externship seminar (offered in the fall and spring semesters) along with the 2-credit Externship Placement. The seminar enrollment is limited to 20 students each semester. In the seminar, students explore the practice of law in a variety of settings and practice areas through discussion, role playing, and video. The seminar is letter graded.