The University of Mississippi School of Law offers second and third-year students diverse and exciting externship opportunities during the school year and in the summer, with placements ranging from three credit hours to twelve. Externs integrate the theoretical knowledge gained from traditional law school classes with the practical experience of working in a public service, governmental or judicial setting. Externships include placements in prosecution, public defense, government, judicial, legal aid, social justice, medical, education, sports, and not-for-profit public service agencies. Placements are not available in for-profit offices or agencies.
The Law School’s Clinical Externship Program places law students with governmental and public service organizations as for-credit externs, enabling the students to combine their theoretical course knowledge with the actual practice of law in true mentorship environments where they are encouraged to learn through observation and doing.
Hans Sinha, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Clinical Externship Program
For application information, please click the Application and Forms tab above
The Externship Program is open to second and third year students. However, the ideal time to do an externship is during the third year of law school. Some placements 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. Preference goes to third year students if there are multiple applications.
Most jurisdictions permit third year law students in an externship program to be sworn-in as limited practice student-attorneys. Some jurisdictions permit second year students to be sworn-in. Some offices encourage their externs to be sworn-in while others prefer that their externs not be sworn-in. If a student so prefers, his or her office approves, and the student otherwise meets the requirements and qualifications to be sworn-in as a limited practice student-attorney, the student is encouraged to do so.
Students seeking to be sworn-in must read their jurisdiction’s pertinent rule regarding student-attorneys, consult the applicable rule (generally a state supreme court rule and or federal district court rule), and ensure he or she meets all qualifications.
Students can earn three to twelve academic credit hours
for externships, either in one full-time twelve credit hour placement, or through several part-time placements.
A student can earn between three and twelve academic credit hours total for externship placement(s). This can be earned in one placement or in several placement. The maximum cumulative total externship hours a student may earn, however, is twelve. Most placements are between three and six academic credits. Special permission is required for seven or more credit hours for one placement. Nine or more credit hours for one placement in one term entails exceptional circumstances and is rarely permitted. In terms of on-site hours to academic credit hours, refer to the below table:
Student externs must (1) completes an extern information form, (2) draft a placement plan, (3) maintain a daily log documenting his or her on-site hours, (4) keep a contemporaneous journal reflecting upon his or her experiences, (5) ensure mid-placement and final evaluations are submitted by the on-site supervisor, (6) author a reflective essay, and (7) complete a student evaluation pertaining to his or her externship experience. In addition, students doing six-credit or greater placements also read a dedicated text and write chapter summaries of such reading.
Yes. Externs meet on a weekly basis as a group in a seminar class. 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. The class focuses on enhancing the experiential learning opportunities, discusses applicable ethical and professional issues that may arise and studies legal subjects pertinent to student placements. No separate grade is entered for the class.
Students are graded on a pass / fail (Z grade) basis. If a student completes the required number of on-site hours and fulfills the various requirements, he/she receives a passing grade. All hours and requirements have to be completed by the end of the applicable summer or semester term.
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.
Once you have submitted your application and we have confirmed your particular placement, Professor Sinha will email you and the Registar with the relevant information. Please review the information carefully and confirm that all information is correct. See the Applications and Forms tab above.
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.
The ratio for on-site hours ranges from 120 on-site hours for three credit externships to 480 for twelve-credit externships.
Your time logs and your journal entries are submitted via email on a weekly basis to Professor Sinha. While your time logs are reviewed by your supervisor, 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. Prior to starting an externship placement, each student must read the pertinent jurisdiction’s Rules of Professional Conduct, particularly 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.
Externship Placement Questions:
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, depending upon your academic schedule. If you do an externship in the fall or spring and are taking regular classes, you will likely want to look for a placement in or within driving distance of Oxford. However, if you are doing an externship in the summer or in your final semester you may want to consider doing so in your hometown or the city or state where you plan to move after graduation. A student can, however, do an away placement at any time of his or her third year.
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, 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.
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. 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.
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, 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. Question pertaining to whether a placement qualifies for the program should be directed to Professor Sinha.
The externship program provides numerous placement options. The different types of placements generally fall into:
- Public Defense
- Legal Aid
- Social Justice
- Pro Bono
A listing of possible placements can be found on the Placements List page. This list contains information about offices where students have been placed as for-credit externs in the past or that have expressed an interest in accepting UM Law externs. Students are not limited to the listed placements.
Generally every judge, prosecutor, public defender, legal aid, governmental agency and other not-for-profit organization in Mississippi is amenable to mentor UM law students. A student who has identified a legal office that otherwise fits the parameters of the program is encouraged to pursue such placement.
Placements are not limited to Mississippi. You are encouraged to contact out-of-state offices about placements. Let them know you want to do an academic externship for credit and what the requirements are.
View the Placements List