The Public Interest Lawyering Externship
The Public Interest Lawyering Externship provides a unique opportunity to learn about social justice lawyering, develop relationships with like-minded peers and mentors, and develop skills and knowledge helpful in public service careers. The course will be taught by Prof. Neha Lall, an experienced public interest attorney.
The seminar will cover issues relevant to all public service careers, including important ethics and professionalism issues, particularly for attorneys working with low income and vulnerable populations. Potential topics include:
- Combatting Systemic Racism
- Trauma Informed Law Practice
- Public Interest Career Planning
- Stress Management, Burnout and Vicarious Trauma
- Resource scarcity and right to counsel
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 service law offices. This may include non-profits, as well as certain government or law firm placements.
- 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. Students must work at least 10 weeks in the placement.
- The seminar will include students in a mix of public service law placements.
When can I complete a Public Interest Lawyering Externship?
- After you have completed 28 credits towards your JD degree (1L curriculum)
- The concurrent 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.
- 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?
- All students in the J.D. program must complete at least 6 credits of experiential learning, at least 3 of which must be a live-client experience (Clinic or Externship with an attorney)
- A Public Interest Lawyering Externship fulfills your 3 credit live-client experiential learning graduation requirement.
How do I participate in a Public Interest Lawyering Externship?
- The UBalt 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?
- Placements may be paid or unpaid. Paid externships are subject to a separate approval process.
- You may extern for a current or former employer if you submit an Educational Plan and the Director of Externships approves the placement as a substantively new learning experience
- The work must be substantive legal work, diverse in nature, and must include opportunities for writing and observation. Students must produce at least 10 cumulative pages of original written work product in the placement.
- Field placements may be conducted at nonprofit and certain government or law firm offices. Placements can include policy or legislative work.
- At least one of the field placement supervisors must be an attorney with at least 3 years of experience. In the case of JD Advantage placements, like legal compliance, the supervisor needs to have completed law school and have three years of relevant legal experience.
- Externships at an office where you have a close relative working are presumptively inappropriate.
Are remote placements allowed?
- Externships may be fully in-person, fully remote, or a hybrid of in-person and remote work
- All field placements should have a plan for remote student work in case it becomes necessary due to Covid-19 infection or quarantine.
- Discuss expectations around in-person and remote work when you are interviewing. Make sure that you and the field placement supervisor have a mutual understanding of what will be required of you.
How do I submit my placement for approval?
- Externships must be submitted for approval on UB Law Connect.
- Paid externships are subject to a separate approval process and must be submitted for approval at least 3 weeks before classes begin.
- Unpaid externships must be submitted for approval at least 1 week before classes begin.
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 Service
- HopeWorks of Howard County
- Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
- Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC)
- Women's Law Center
- Phillips Black (Death Penalty Defense)
- Santoni Vocci & Ortega (tenant and consumer rights)
- Maryland ACLU
- Triage Cancer