Develop a mentoring relationship with a judge and learn how courts really work.
Externing with a judge is an excellent opportunity to learn about judicial decision-making, hone writing skills, and develop a personal relationship with a judge. Judicial externships are especially valuable to students who are considering a post-graduate judicial clerkship.
Once you have received an offer from the field placement, please review the UB Law Externship Program Overview. Then submit your externship for approval on UB Law Connect. To submit your externship for approval, go to the Experiential Learning section and click “Add Experience.” After you have submitted your externship information, an email will be sent to the field placement asking them to approve your placement and to ensure they are in agreement with the externship program requirements. After the field placement supervisor has approved your application, the Director of Externships, Prof. Neha Lall, will approve your placement and you will be given permission to enroll in the course. Externships should be submitted for approval no later than one week before the start of classes for the semester when your externship will take place.
What is a Judicial Externship?
- A Judicial Externship is an experiential learning course where students receive academic credit for legal work completed under the supervision of a judge and/or judicial law clerk at an approved field placement.
- Placements may include state or federal court judges or administrative law adjudicators at various state and federal agencies.
- The course is a total of 3 credits (pass/fail) which includes both the fieldwork and the weekly seminar.
- Students must complete at least 130 hours in the field placement and are encouraged to spread their hours evenly over the semester.
- The seminar will include students at a mix of judicial placements and is generally taught by a judge.
When can I complete a Judicial Externship?
- The weekly seminar and writing requirements are required to receive academic credit.
- The Judicial Externship course is generally offered year-round.
- Generally there is one evening section offered during the academic year and one section in the summer. This schedule may vary based on demand and staffing considerations.
- Due to COVID-19, seminars will be conducted online through a combination of synchronous Zoom sessions and asynchronous writing and discussion assignments. You must be available to attend the synchronous Zoom sessions.
Does a Judicial Externship fulfill my experiential learning requirements?
- A Judicial Externship counts towards the 6 credit experiential learning requirement but it does NOT fulfill the 3 credit live-client requirement. The live-client requirement can only be fulfilled through an externship with an attorney or a clinic.
- All students in the J.D. program must complete at least 6 credits of experiential learning before they graduate.
How do I find a Judicial Externship?
- You must find your own placement and apply directly to the judge or agency.
- You can look on UB Law Connect for posted opportunities, or you can find your own placement.
- Please make an appointment with a Law Career Development Office counselor or Prof. Lall, Director of Externships, for additional guidance in finding a placement.
How do I know if it is an appropriate placement?
- Students must engage in substantive legal work and must produce at least 10 cumulative pages of original written work product in the placement.
- Students may be directly supervised by the Judge, or in some cases, by their judicial law clerk.
- If you have previously volunteered at the field placement you may complete an externship there if you can demonstrate that you will not simply be repeating what you have done before. You must be building new skills or professional competencies.
- There are limitations on externing with a Judge or Judicial law clerk to whom you are related.
What about Remote placements?
- Due to COVID-19, remote and hybrid externships are permitted.
- Until the global health situation improves, all field placements will be required to have a plan for student remote work in case a stay-at-home order is issued again.
- If a student chooses to work in-person at a placement and it is legally permissible, in-person work is permitted as long as the employer signs this pledge.
- Discuss whether work will be in-person or remote when you are interviewing. Make sure that you and the Judge have a mutual understanding of what will be required of you and what limitations the pandemic pose on your time or ability to work in-person.
- Remote work skills are essential for all new lawyers and judicial law clerks in a post-COVID 19 world. A remote externship is an excellent opportunity to learn and build these competencies.