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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an externship?

An externship is a temporary training program provided through a partnership between the College of Law and outside employers. Through this experiential learning opportunity, you can work under the direction of supervising attorneys on real-life legal work and receive course credit.

How long does an externship last?

Externships typically last for one semester or summer term, though some externships span two semesters. You may participate more than once in the externship program.

How many credits do I get for externships? Are the credits graded?

If you wish to use your externship to meet the experiential learning requirement you must enroll in a three-credit-hour externship and a concurrent one-hour classroom component, for a total of four credit hours. To earn the four credits, you typically work 12 to 15 hours per week at your placements and attend a weekly one-hour externship course at the College of Law. If you are not seeking to fulfill the experiential learning requirement, you may take a three-hour externship without the classroom component. All credits are provided on a pass/fail basis.

May I take more than one externship, and is there a maximum number of hours I can earn?

You are required to take only one experiential course and related classroom component to meet the experiential requirement for graduation, but you may also earn credits through additional externships or other experiential courses. However, of the 90 total credit hours required for graduation, at least 65 hours must be earned in traditional coursework (see Student Handbook, §3.2.1). You may not receive credit for a practice experience that is substantially duplicative of a prior practice experience for which you have already received credit (see Student Handbook, §3.13.1).

How do I obtain an externship placement?

You are responsible for securing your own externship placement(s), but are encouraged to contact the director for assistance if you have questions or encounter difficulty in the process. Students often secure externship placements by reaching out to employers that have worked with our students in the past. A list of past employers is available.

What types of externship placements are available?

There is a variety of externships:

  • Civil 
  • Criminal
  • Huskie Athletics
  • Judicial
  • Bridge to Practice

Descriptions of these eternships appear on the main externship web page.

The externships spreadsheet provides a representative listing of past externship placements. Although this list provides a good starting point for anyone seeking a placement and gives a general idea of typical placements, you are able and encouraged to find other placements as well. All placements must be approved by the director.

How do I enroll in the externship program and/or the externship class?

You must receive prior approval from the director. You should ensure that you meet the requirements for participation in the externship program (listed below), then complete an application and submit it to the director of externships. The director will review the application and enroll students who meet the program’s qualifications. This must be done before beginning the externship. If you have questions about the application or enrollment process, contact the director.

What are the requirements for participation in the externship program?

Although particular externship placements vary in their requirements, all require some combination of the following:

Prerequisites and Co-Requisites
If you wish to participate in an externship, you must have taken or be enrolled in both Lawyering Skills and Professional Responsibility. For criminal externships, you are encouraged to have taken or be enrolled in Trial Advocacy or its equivalent, as well as Criminal Procedure and Evidence.

Law School Seniority
Generally, you must have completed three semesters of study before participating in an externship. However, in some cases, for externships that do not require a 711 license and if you have a grade point average of 2.8 or higher, the director may waive this requirement. Contact the director if you are seeking a waiver.

Bridge to Practice externships are available only to third-year students.

Grade Point Average
All criminal externships, and all civil externships that require a 711 license, require a grade point average of at least 2.2. Judicial externships require a grade point average of at least 2.8. Bridge to Practice externships require a grade point average of at least 3.0. All other externship programs have no minimum grade point average requirement.

711 License
All criminal externships require you to have a 711 license. Some civil externships also require students to have a 711 license; this varies by program and employer.

Is a 711 license required for externships, and how can students get one?

711 licenses are required for all criminal externships and some civil externships. If you hold the license you can engage in direct legal work, including court appearances, under the supervision of a fully licensed attorney.

You may apply for a 711 license by speaking with Julie Mahoney-Krzyzek in Room 285 or via email at jmahoney@niu.edu.

Can I be paid for an externship while earning credit?

Yes. Although the majority of externship placements are unpaid, you may also receive credit for paid placements.

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