The Public Interest Lawyering Externship
The Public Interest Lawyering Externship will provide a unique opportunity to learn about public interest lawyering, develop relationships with like-minded peers and mentors, and develop an understanding of legal systems and skills necessary to establish a public interest career. The course will be taught by Prof. Neha Lall, an experienced public interest attorney.
The seminar will cover issues relevant to all public interest careers, including important ethics and professionalism issues, particularly for attorneys working with low income and vulnerable populations. Potential topics include:
Externship Approval Process
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.
• Access to Justice in the COVID-19 world
• Combatting Systemic Racism
• Housing Instability and its Connection to Poverty
• Trauma Informed Law Practice
• Public Interest Career Planning
• Issues affecting LGBTQ populations
• Stress Management, Burnout and Vicarious Trauma
What is a Public Interest Lawyering Externship?
- A Public Interest Lawyering Externship is a specialized attorney externship course.
- The course allows students to receive academic credit for legal work completed under the supervision of an attorney working at a public or private sector public interest law office.
- 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 in a mix of public interest law placements.
When can I complete a Public Interest Lawyering Externship?
- The weekly seminar and writing requirements are required to receive academic credit.
- The Public Interest Lawyering Externship course will generally be offered in the Fall semester. A student placed at a public interest office may elect to take the general Attorney Practice Externship seminar if the Public Interest Lawyering course is not offered or feasible.
- 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 Public Interest Lawyering Externship fulfill my experiential learning requirements?
- A Public Interest Lawyering Externship fulfills your 3 credit live-client experiential learning graduation requirement.
- All students in the J.D. program must complete at least 6 credits of experiential learning before they graduate.
How do I participate in a Public Interest Lawyering Externship?
- The UB Law Externship Program identifies a number of potential host agencies for the fall Public Interest Lawyering Externship.
- Announcements will be made in the Spring and Summer regarding available opportunities and application timelines. There is no guarantee that the placement will offer you an externship.
- You can also look on UB Law Connect for posted opportunities, or you can find your own public interest placement.
- Please make an appointment with a Law Career Development Office counselor or Prof. Lall, Director of Externships, for additional guidance.
How do I know if it is an appropriate placement?
- All placements must be unpaid learning experiences and you cannot have previously been a paid employee at the placement.
- Students must engage in substantive legal work and must produce at least 10 cumulative pages of original written work product in the placement.
- Field placements may be conducted at both public and private sector public interest law offices.
- At least one of the field placement supervisors must be an attorney with at least 3 years of experience.
- Placements may not bill for extern time.
- 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 an attorney 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 field placement supervisor 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 in a post-COVID 19 world. A remote externship is an excellent way for students to learn and build these competencies.
Potential Placements Include:
- Homeless Persons Representation Project
- Tahirih Justice Center
- Maryland Legal Aid
- Free State Justice
- Disability Rights Maryland
- Maryland Office of the Public Defender
- KIND (Kids in Need of Defense)
- Project HEAL at Kennedy Krieger Institute
- Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Association
- HopeWorks of Howard County
- Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law