Civil and Criminal Law Externships

The Civil and Criminal Externship Law Program gives upper-division students the opportunity to put their education into practice by working at law firms, legal departments, and public interest and government agencies for academic credit.

The policies and requirements of the program are intended to ensure a high-quality experience for students working under the supervision of experienced practitioners.

Each program has a faculty-taught course component in which the student concurrently enrolls with the externship units. Through these classes, students examine legal and professional issues that arise in their fieldwork, and receive an introduction to litigation preparation in anticipation of their postgraduate position. Participants are required to attend all corresponding classes, submit evaluations and weekly timesheets, and complete other assignments.

Photo of Max BerubeI was able to work closely with the attorneys without the pressure of billable hours, so they were more willing to mentor and educate me rather than simply giving me billable work.

- Max Berube ’15, externed at Ralls, Gruber, Niece LLP, where he was hired to begin immediately after graduation

Full-Time, Half-Time, and Part-Time Externships

Full-time (10, 11, 12 or 13 units), half-time (6, 7, 8, or 9 units), and part-time (2 (summer session only), 3, 4, or 5 units) externships are permitted for work performed at law firms, corporate legal departments, public interest or legal services offices, or the legal departments of government agencies or offices. Please note that during the summer session, only the 2 (summer session only) 3, 4 and 5 unit options are available.


Minimum GPA and other academic policy requirements apply in order for your externship to be approved for academic credit. If your desired employer is not on the list, please forward the employer the PDF iconInformation for New Employers Packet. As part of your Externship Application, the employer must complete the Request for Approval of Agency for Civil/Criminal Law Externship Program form, which is included in the PDF iconCivil and Criminal Law Externship Application Packet

Supervisors and Employers

The externship must offer students substantial professional experience in a variety of tasks similar to those that a practicing attorney would perform with the agency or office. Participating in an externship should give students a broad perspective of the legal system and law practice. In addition, because students pay tuition for each unit of the externship, law schools and the American Bar Association expect higher standards of teaching and oversight from an externship supervisor than from the supervisor in a volunteer internship or a paid position.

Getting Started: Please review the Information for New Employers packet, which outlines the requirements of an externship and the supervisor's obligations. The packet includes a letter to new employers, the Extern Supervisor and Extern Agreement, and the Request for Approval of Agency for Civil/Criminal Law Externship Program form.

Please keep in mind the following:

  • The office or agency must assign a supervising attorney to oversee the student's fieldwork and provide the law school with evaluation reports
  • All supervising attorneys must have been admitted to a state Bar for at least two (2) years and be in good standing with the Bar

After reviewing the informational packet, a supervising attorney interested in participating in the program may start the process by completing a Request for Approval of Agency for Civil/Criminal Law Externship Program form(included in the packet). Please note that because students select the employers they would like to send applications to, our office is unable to ensure student interest in your office in any given semester.

Site Visits: Throughout the year, faculty will conduct periodic site-visits in compliance with American Bar Association standards and communicate with supervisors to ensure that the student is acquiring an appropriate amount and quality of skills in a professional working environment. Depending on these visits and communications, the USF School of Law has full discretion to disapprove or inactivate a supervisor or employer from the programs for any period of time.