Externships & Apprenticeships
Regent University School of Law offers students the opportunity to gain practical legal experience through its program of apprenticeships and externships.
Students in an externship/apprenticeship normally earn one academic credit hour for each 50 hours of field work (exception: ACLJ summer externship program, in which students must do a minimum of 2 academic credit hours). Externships/apprenticeships are approved on a case-by-case basis.
Students who desire to participate in an externship/apprenticeship should first consult with the Faculty Supervisor (see course schedule). The student must then complete an Individual Study Form to be signed by the Faculty Supervisor, as well as a written Internship Proposal Form signed by the student. Both forms are then submitted to the Records Office (RH 240).
The primary educational objectives of the externship/apprenticeship programs are as follows:
- To expose students to, and acquaint them with, the reality of law practice. Students who learn the law only in a classroom setting have limited exposure to the actual practice of law. Another vital element of learning the law is exposure to what real lawyers do on a day-to-day basis in the office, in the courtroom, and elsewhere. Learning criminal law and criminal procedure within the protected classroom environment, for example, does not yield the same benefit as a student’s conducting client interviews or observing how a prosecutor manages her caseload, how defense counsel prepares for court, and how an attorney tries his cases. The School of Law structures its externships and apprenticeships to provide students with this useful practice perspective.
- To provide opportunities for students to engage in proper legal research and writing in the context of real-life legal problems. All law students can benefit from additional practice in proper legal research and writing. Externships and apprenticeships provide that opportunity in a setting where the student can receive close supervision and constructive feedback in a timely fashion. Actual legal research and writing is based on real people’s problems, with real deadlines, and in contexts where the results make a significant difference in the lives of clients, attorneys, and externs. Thus students have ample opportunity not only to hone their legal research and writing skills, but also to improve their time management skills.
- To allow students to pursue in-depth substantive learning in specific areas of the law. By necessity, professors must treat some subjects in the law school curriculum briefly. An externship/apprenticeship gives students an opportunity to engage in deeper study of a particular legal field or topic. For example, a student interested in criminal law can gain a significant amount of substantive knowledge on that subject by working with a prosecutor or public defender.
To check if your requested site is already on the Approved Site list, contact Professor Sandra Alcaide at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your site is not on the list, you must submit a petition to the faculty supervisor of record to be considered for approval. Each petition for a proposed program shall supply the following information obtained from the potential site supervisor:
- The specific educational objectives of the program, consistent with the objectives set forth above. The educational objectives shall be stated in sufficient detail to provide direction in the activities of the program.
- A statement describing the time and effort expected from the student in pursuing the educational objectives during the program. A statement of the educational benefit expected to be acquired by the student.
- A statement of specific tasks expected to be involved in pursuit of the program.
- A description of work products expected to be produced by the student.
- The designation of a practicing attorney or current judicial officer who will supervise the activities of the student during the program, who shall be hereinafter referred to as the “site supervisor.”
- A statement about whether any monetary compensation will be paid to the student for any work in the program for which he or she receives academic credit.
The Faculty Supervisor conducts a periodic review of the externship, including:
- Time devoted by the student.
- Tasks assigned to the student.
- Selected work products of the student.
- The field supervisor’s regular detailed evaluation of the student’s field experience.
During the Apprenticeship or Externship, the student will be required to submit the following materials (all included in a materials packet available for download here):
- a three-way agreement between the student, faculty supervisor, and the site supervisor (available for download here);
- a goal sheet;
- a time log documenting hours worked;
- two representative writing samples appropriately redacted for confidentiality or a description of two assigned research projects completed;
- a reflection paper which describes how the Apprenticeship or Externship contributed to the student’s professional skills and ethical formation; and
- a site supervisor evaluation form.
Upon completion of the program, the Faculty Supervisor will assign a grade of “Pass,” “Low Pass,” or “No Pass” for the student’s effort.
Students enrolled in an Externship for which there is no on campus component will be expected to check the syllabus once posted on Canvas and comply with the instructions provided in the syllabus.
Externship and Apprenticeship field supervisors can obtain a copy of the Externship and Apprenticeship Field Supervisor Manual here.