Students often report that externships are the most meaningful and educational part of their law school experience and that is due in no small part to the dedicated professionals who serve as extern supervisors. Extern supervisors are more than just supervisors; they are mentors, educators, role models, coaches, motivators, and supporters.
The externship program allows 2L and 3L students who meet certain requirements to receive academic credit for externships secured with area law firms, judges, businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. This program provides students with the opportunity to gain practical, hands-on experience as part of their law school education.
Student participants are required to attend a corresponding faculty-led externship course, submit evaluations and weekly timesheets, and complete other assignments. The course focuses on the development of lawyering skills, self-reflection and professional identity.
The TU Law Externship Supervisor Manual (PDF) provides our supervisors with information, guidance, and reference materials.
General Requirements of the Externship
- Supervision: The student must be supervised by a licensed attorney, judge, or JD otherwise qualified to supervise who has been actively engaged in the practice of law for at least five years. If the supervising attorney is a staff member of a recognized legal aid program, public defender program, district attorney office, municipal attorney office, the Attorney General of the State of Oklahoma, or office of any other government agency, that attorney must have been actively engaged in the practice of law for at least two years.
- Units and Hours: The student may earn from two to twelve academic credit for legal externships, two to three academic credits for state court externships, and two to five academic credits for federal court externships. Students must work 45 hours per academic credit for which they are enrolled during the course of a summer term or a fall/spring semester. Summer externships are generally for six or twelve weeks, and externships for the fall and spring semesters are generally fourteen weeks.
Extern Supervisor Obligations
Because students pay tuition for each unit, TU Law and the ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar expects the highest standards of teaching and oversight from an externship supervisor than from the supervisor in a volunteer internship or a paid position. Thus, if you work with a College of Law extern, please keep in mind the following obligations:
- Assign projects with clear deadlines and provide on-going guidance for managing the workload;
- Provide specific, individualized, and timely feedback on each assignment;
- Review and sign weekly timesheets and complete written mid-semester and end-of-term evaluations of the student’s work performance;
- Assign the same kind of work as you would a law clerk or entry-level staff attorney, including exposure to a broad range of lawyering skills and professional activities. Administrative work should be kept to a minimum; a student’s time may not be billed.
- Provide opportunities for the student to observe court proceedings, client/staff/strategy meetings, and/or other appropriate and timely professional events;
- Oversee the student’s workload so that it does not exceed the student’s enrolled credit hours; and
- Participate in a site visit with a TU Law representative, to be scheduled at a mutually agreeable time, to ensure that the supervisor is providing an appropriate level and quality of skills training in a professional environment.
In turn, the student will follow directions and complete assignments as instructed, seek clarification and advice in a timely fashion, and comport himself/herself with professionalism and integrity. Supervisors should notify the Assistant Dean for Experiential Learning of any issues that may arise.
New Supervisor Approval and Securing Externs
If not previously approved for participation in our externship program, an attorney or judge may start the process by reviewing the Extern Supervisor Introductory Packet (PDF) and submitting the Request for Approval of Student Extern Supervisor Form contained within this packet. Additionally, approved supervisors may post an externship opportunity and generate applications for consideration from interested candidates by completing the Externship Posting Form contained within this packet.
Generally, applications are collected in the fall semester for spring placements and in the spring semester for summer and fall placements. TU Law will post the externship opportunity, prepare resume packets, and send them to participating extern supervisors for review and consideration.
To become an externship supervisor, please contact Lauren Donald, Assistant Dean of Experiential Learning and Director of Externships, at 918-631-2421 or firstname.lastname@example.org.