Experiential Learning

We offer unique and innovative clinical experiences, externships and practical skills courses and competitions to give you hands-on, practical experience while you’re a law student.

All of these experiences help to create strong “holistically trained” lawyers prepared for any practice setting. 

  • Clinical classes provide hands-on learning opportunities - students advocate on behalf of real clients under the direct supervision of experienced faculty
  • Through clinics, practical skills courses and externships, students develop lawyering skills that can be applied to different practice areas
  • In law school clinics, clients are provided free legal services, which means that the work that you do helps improve the life circumstances of the clients you are representing.
  • The personalized externship program gives you the opportunity to earn academic credit while performing real legal work in regional extern placements with government and non-profit agencies, judicial chambers and other entities. You can work with the externship supervisor to select an appropriate externship.
  • Practical skills courses and competitions further enhance your education through simulation of real-world situations you will encounter in your legal profession.
  • Pro bono opportunities provide you with connectivity while providing needed services to the community.


Externships are normally for one semester and are offered for three credit hours and may require concurrent enrollment in a one credit hour classroom component. Externships and the classroom component are graded separately on a pass/fail basis.

Clinic courses are also one semester courses and are offered for four hours of pass/fail credit.

Enrollment in externships and clinic courses is by application and requires the permission of the supervising faculty member. You may not enroll in more than one practice experience (clinic course or externship) in any given semester. You may not receive credit for a practice experience that is substantially duplicative of a prior practice experience for which you have received credit.

Beginning with students matriculating in fall 2015, the College of Law requires students to take either a clinic or an externship of at least 3 credits to graduate. For more information, see the graduation requirements.

Clinic courses and some externship placements requireyou to have certification as a senior law student pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711. Rule 711 permits certified law students to perform designated legal services under the supervision of a member of the Bar of the State of Illinois. To qualify for Rule 711 certification, you must have completed 45 credit hours. Applications for rule 711 certification are available from the Illinois Supreme Court website.

Prerequisites for clinic courses and most externships include Lawyering Skills and Professional Responsibility.

Contact Us

Swen Parson Hall 151
Dean's Office
Swen Parson Hall 270