Externship Placement Questions:
The Externship Program is open to third and second year students. Students are encouraged to do their externship placement in their third year of law school. Preference for placements goes to third year students. Some placements only take third year students, while others accept second and third year students.
You can do an externship placement in the summer term, the fall semester or the spring semester.
The terms “intern” and “extern,” and “internship” and “externship” are interchangeable. Historically, law school clinical field placement programs have been termed “field placement,” “externship,” “internship,” and even “outhouse” (sic) programs. The program at the University of Mississippi is termed an “externship” program while students participating in the program are called “externs.” This is so since a student placed in an off-campus office is doing his or her field placement “externally” from the law school. Along this reasoning, however, that same student is also an “intern” for the office where placed.
For these purposes, you are counted as a third year student when you have accumulated two thirds (60) of the required ninety academic credits required for graduation?
Academic credit hours denotes the credit hours granted by the law school for academic work. In this context, the academic hours reflect how many credit hours you will be earning for a certain externship placement. The term on-site hours denotes the actual hours you spend at a certain placement. The two terms are connected in that in order to earn a specific number of credit hours for an externship placement, you have to accumulate a specified number of on-site hours. The specific range of on-site hours to academic credit hours can be found in the Externship Program General Information.
Once you have submitted your application and we have confirmed your particular placement, we will ask the law school Registrar to formally enroll you in the appropriate law school course. This is done via an email from Professor Sinha to Eddie Upton, with a copy to the student. The email contains the placement office, the semester, the course number and the number of credit hours. Once you receive this email, please review the information carefully and confirm that all information is correct.
Yes. Students who participate in the externship program pay the regular tuition associated with the number of academic credit hours earned pursuant to such enrollment.
Yes. In addition to fulfilling the required number of on-site hours corresponding to the number of registered academic credit hours, in order for a passing grade to be entered, all requirements, including maintaining a contemporaneous journal, must be complied with and fulfilled.
Prior to starting an externship placement, each student must read the pertinent jurisdiction’s Rules of Professional Conduct. Students are asked to pay particular attention to Rule 1.6 – Confidentiality of Information, and to discuss this with their on-site supervisors, both in general and in how it relates to their journal entries. This will also be covered in the first seminar class and or webinar meeting.
Both your time logs and your journal entries are submitted via email on a weekly basis to Professor Sinha. While your time logs are reviewed and initialed by your supervisor, your journal entries are not. Only Professor Sinha reads your journal. This is intended to permit each extern to freely comment and reflect upon his or her externship experience. However, in light of this, it is particularly important that the student has an initial discussion with his or her supervisor pertaining to confidentiality and journaling. Certain placements request the opportunity to review their student’s journal entries before they are submitted to Professor Sinha. In such instances, this will be discussed between the extern and the supervisor at the outset of the placement.
Yes. Every student participating in the externship program also meets once per week for an hour-long seminar. Participation in this seminar is mandatory. Students placed away from Oxford join the seminar via an internet based meeting program. During the summer placement, the seminar takes the form of webinar meetings.
Externship Placement Questions:
Yes. A student can do one or several externship placements. The guiding rule is that a student cannot earn more than a total of twelve credit hours in any one or more externship placements. Thus, a student can do one placement for the full twelve credit hours, or two six credit hour placements, or a combination of three and greater credit hour placements, so long as the total credit hours for all externship placements do not exceed twelve.
No. A summer extern can begin his or her placement at any time after the spring graduation weekend. Summer externship placements should ideally be completed by the first week of August when summer grades are due. However, we recognize that some students may begin their placements later in the summer and may thus not complete their hours until the middle of August. We will work with such students on an individual basis. In some instances an incomplete (I) may have to be entered as a grade, which will then be changed to a pass (P) once all the hours and requirements have been fulfilled. Regardless, all summer placements must be completed prior to the beginning of the fall semester.
Yes, students can and are encouraged to do externship placements beyond the Oxford metropolitan area. Whether you will be able to do so depends in large part upon your academic schedule. In other words, if you are doing an externship in the fall or spring semesters, and also taking regular law school classes, you will likely want to look for a placement in or within driving distance of Oxford. However, if you are doing an externship placement in the summer term, or in your final semester of your law school career, you may want to consider doing so in your hometown or the city or state where you plan to move after graduation. This enables you to both get to know the local Bar and to gain practical knowledge while still a law student. Most students choose to do such full time placements away from the law school either in the summer before their third year or during the spring semester of their third year. A student can, however, do an away placement at any time of his or her third year.
Yes. An externship placement is equally beneficial for the student who knows what type of law and where he or she will practice upon graduation as for the student who is unsure of these areas. In either situation the student gets exposure to a type of practice and gets to know the local Bar. Sometimes a student who thought he or she wanted to practice in a certain area of the law finds out through an externship that is not the case, while a student who had no particular predisposition to a field of law, finds out he or she likes or does not like a particular type of law. The same holds true for geographical areas. Either knowledge is equally important for a soon-to-be lawyer.
Yes and no. If you are looking for a general placement in the Oxford area, we ask that you go through our program, turn in your application, and have us contact the local office regarding your potential placement there. However, if you, for example, know your judge in your hometown, and you want to do an externship placement with him or her, by all means, go ahead and contact the judge to see if he or she will take you as an intern. Conversely, if you want to be placed in a certain jurisdiction but do not know anyone there, we will help you seek out an appropriate placement. Regardless, simply let us know in your application if you have or have not made contact with your desired placement office.
You can find a detailed discussion of the general parameters of (a) the program as a whole and (b) the specific requirements an extern has to comply with and fulfill during his or her placement, in the Externship Program General Information. The requirements are also covered during the first seminar class in the fall and spring semesters, and in the introduction webinar during the summer term. In summary, during a student’s externship placement, he or she (1) completes and submits an extern information form, (2) drafts a placement plan, (3) maintains a daily log documenting his or her on-site hours, (4) keeps a contemporaneous journal reflecting upon his or her experiences, (5) ensures mid-placement and a final evaluations are completed and submitted by his or her on-site supervisor, (6) authors a reflective essay, and (7) completes a student evaluation pertaining to his or her externship experience. In addition, students doing six-credit or greater externship placements, also read a dedicated text and write chapter summaries of such reading.
No. A student cannot both get paid and earn academic credit for a placement.
As a general rule, a student who has worked as a paid clerk at an office that otherwise qualifies for participation in the externship program, cannot do a for-credit externship placement at the same office. This is so for many reasons, the main being that once a student has worked at an office, there is very little or no educational value or gain associated with such student doing a subsequent for-credit externship placement at the same office. However, certain exceptions to this general rule exist, the most common being where the student is able to experience and participate in duties as a for-credit extern that he or she was not able to do as a paid clerk. One example of this would be where a student clerks at an office for pay during his or her second year, and then returns as a for-credit extern, enabling the student to be sworn-in as a limited practice student, thus gaining an enhanced educational experience that was not available to the student during his or her paid clerkship position.
As a rule, only not-for-profit public service oriented legal offices qualify as participating placements for the externship program. This generally encompasses governmental, prosecutor, public defender, public service, social justice, university, hospital, congressional and legal aid offices, certain entertainment organizations, as well as judges and court placements. The key is that the work of the office must be law related and not-for-profit or public service oriented. Regular private law firms as a rule do not qualify. The exception to the law firm rule are placement with law firm pro bono sections where externs work only on pro bono matters. Question pertaining to whether a placement qualifies for the program should be directed to Professor Sinha.