The University of Mississippi Externship Program places law students as for-credit externs with government, not-for-profit and public service organizations. Students can enroll in the program in the fall, spring or summer terms. The goal of the program is to enhance the student’s overall legal education by learning through practice.
The Externship Program is open to second and third year students. Although second year students may participate, the ideal time to do an externship is during a student’s third year of law school. Most placements prefer third year students, while others only accept third year students. In addition, in order to be sworn in as a limited practice student, most jurisdictions require the student to be a third year student. In situations where there are more student applications for a particular placement than available slots, preference goes to third year students. For more information, visit the limited practice page.
A student can earn between three and twelve academic credit hours through his or her participation in the program. These hours can be earned in one full-time twelve credit hour placement, or through several part-time, lower credit hour placements. The ratio for the required number of on-site hours to the number of academic credit hours ranges from three credit hours and 120 on-site hours to twelve credit hours and 480 on-site hours.
While at a placement, and required in order for academic credit to be awarded, a student completes numerous requirements, including drafting a placement plan, maintaining a daily time log, writing a contemporaneous journal and authoring a reflective essay. High credit placements also entail the reading of a text. These requirements are intended to elevate the placement experience to an educational experience and to ensure a full documentation of the student’s placement.
During the fall and spring semesters, externs meet on a weekly basis as a group in a seminar class. The class focuses on enhancing the experiential learning opportunities inherent in an externship placement, applicable ethical and professional issues that may arise during such placements, as well as a study of legal subjects pertinent to student placements. The seminar class is part of the externship placement in that no separate grade is entered for such class.
Students are graded on a pass / fail (Z grade) basis. Assuming that a student completes the number of on-site hours corresponding to the enrolled number of academic credit hours, and fulfills the various requirements, a passing grade is entered. All hours and requirements have to be completed by the end of the applicable summer or semester term.
The law school is mindful of the fact that quality and educationally fulfilling externship placements would not be possible without the dedication of the attorneys and staff in the offices that accept our students as for-credit externs. For this we thank all who work with and mentor our students. As part of our endeavor to continuously improve the program, and to thank and seek input from the professionals who work with our students, the Director of the Externship Program visits all recurring placements on a periodic basis if within a reasonable driving distance. These on-site visits can be scheduled at any time during a placement at the convenience of the office. For all other placements, the Director will conduct mid-placement interviews with the placed student and site supervisor and take such other actions as necessary to ensure the educational quality of all placements.