Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711 provides that students who are in good academic standing and who have earned three-fifths of the credits required for graduation may be certified as a "Senior Law Student" and may perform certain designated legal services under the supervision of a member of the bar. In the various Externship Programs, students certified under Rule 711 experience the daily practice of an attorney, mediator or judicial clerk, under the direct supervision of a practicing attorney or sitting judge.
Appellate Defender Externship
In the Appellate Defender Externship program, students experience criminal practice at the appellate level through working on active cases in offices of the Illinois Appellate Defender. Activities include conducting legal research, writing briefs, memoranda and motions, and observing oral arguments.
Students in the Civil Externship program are immersed in the practice of law under the supervision of regional legal services lawyers or supervising attorneys in other placements including non-profit organizations and governmental or corporate offices. Students engage in all aspects of civil practice, including counseling clients, planning and preparing litigation, negotiating with opposing parties, and representing clients before administrative and judicial tribunals.
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In the Criminal Externship program, students experience the practice of criminal law either as prosecutors in the offices of the State's Attorney, or as defense counsel in the offices of the Public Defender in locations throughout Northern Illinois. Students are quickly immersed in all aspects of criminal law and receive extensive "hands-on" courtroom experience.
The Judicial Externship program offers students the opportunity to observe and participate in the legal process from the unique vantage point of the judiciary. Students have clerkship experiences with state or federal judges, engaging in research and writing of memoranda, draft orders, and opinions, observing a variety of judicial proceedings, and participating in regular conferences with the judge for whom they are clerking.