FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23
[All times Eastern]
[All times Eastern]
Dena Bauman, University of California Davis School of Law c
Gillian Dutton, Seattle University School of Law
Kendall Kerew, Georgia State University College of Law
Amy Sankaran, University of Michigan School of Law
Chipo C. Nyambuya, Loyola University School of Law
As technology is integrated into legal services practice and delivery, law schools are innovating curricula and programs to best prepare students for their future careers. As a bridge between law school and law practice, externship programs are on the front lines of these changes. Traditionally, externship faculty require students to be present in an office in order to observe and experience the workplace environment and culture, and take advantage of impromptu conversations, meetings, and other opportunities that can happen only while in the office. Externship pedagogy presumes this model. Many schools and externship programs have innovated by implementing on-line classes in which the student is physically separate from the faculty member (traditional remote placement). Still, others have experimented with placements in which the student is physically separate from the site or supervisor (virtual remote placement). As the workplace itself evolves with AI software, conferencing platforms, telecommuting, flextime, and virtual offices, more students and placements are seeking approval of virtual placements. Commuting costs, the desire to experience a niche practice area, and a school’s location also explain the increased interest.
Our presentation will begin with a discussion about why and if a school should approve both remote placement models, using a template that we created in anticipation of the conference with the input from faculty through a brief survey. We will share the survey results with the goal of creating an ongoing dialogue. Attendees will review, discuss, and revise the template for implementation at their home schools. Our discussion will include how to identify stakeholders, how to address the relevant ABA standards, and how externship faculty can select, train, evaluate, and communicate with site supervisors. We will engage the audience in a “zoom meeting” with both a student and attorney experienced with virtual law office practice and discuss the issues that arise.
Jodi S. Balsam, Brooklyn Law School
Barbara Gotthelf, Rutgers Law School
Jennifer Kinsley, Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law
Jennifer Mailly, University of Connecticut School of Law
Consumed by teaching and managing the multi-faceted enterprise known as the Externship Program, busy externship clinicians can lose touch with their passion for the law that brought them to academia. Many externship clinicians come to the position from a varied and vibrant professional career, and have much to contribute to the law school community beyond the important work they do guiding students in their transition to practice. Thus, the externship clinicians on this panel have reinvigorated their identities as scholars and intellectuals by teaching and/or writing in areas beyond their responsibilities directing the externship program, including Civil Procedure; Legal Writing; Interviewing, Counseling and Negotiation; Appellate Advocacy; Constitutional Law; Criminal Law; First Amendment law; and Sports Law. The session will explore how this dimension of their campus role both fulfills individual aspirations and benefits the students and institution by breaking down hierarchies, advancing experiential pedagogy, and legitimizing the practitioner’s role in both the scholarly and teaching mission of the academy.
The panelists will describe their paths to expanding their academic portfolio, including the strategies and supporters they relied on to break down silos and overcome obstacles. Through an interactive exercise, the audience will engage in self-assessment and brainstorming designed to identify ways in which they might build on their externship program and prior law practice credentials to participate more broadly in the intellectual life of the law school. While this conversation will necessarily touch on externship clinician status, it will focus on developing a personal and practical approach to pursuing intellectual goals within the context of one’s institutional setting. Participants will leave the session with a game plan for expanding their academic footprint.
Nadiyah Humber, Roger Williams University School of Law
Cecily Banks, Boston University School of Law
Learn about the unique joys and challenges of running a reliable, compelling, and successful corporate counsel externship program. Externship programs designed around transactional and business law placements don’t fit neatly into the traditional externship pedagogy; they present unique structural and teaching issues for directors, field supervisors and students. Students are working within a single, internal corporate client, and counsel serve both as trusted legal advisors and strategic business partners to the client, all while employed by the client. Corporate counsel externships are relatively new on the clinical scene due to the rapidly expanding marketplace opportunities for training and employment within legal departments and business units. There are limited resources out there for directors running programs, courses, and outcomes in this corporate client sector. Also, these placements can have a huge role in our professional identity and skills preparation of law students.
The great majority of our graduates will handle transactions and contracts for all types of clients and to meet all types of legal need for the served and underserved; they will represent or encounter entity clients on increasingly complex, global problems; and they will need a reasonable understanding of business and risk management. These placements provide essential generalist training needed to prepare the modern, global, multi-disciplined lawyer. Furthermore, these companies select externs based on fit and drive to learn over grades and ranking, a huge relief to students. Companies are also progressive on inclusion and progressive workplace policies, also a huge relief to students.
In this session, we will spotlight the unique challenges in designing and running corporate counsel externships. We will work together on how to identify the best placements and supervisors, how to prepare and support supervisors for training, how to prepare students for business settings, and how to design a compelling, reflective seminar around the placements’ dynamic. We envision this session as a chance to engage and learn from each other to understand a full range of issues in these distinct programs.
Nicole Killoran, Vermont Law School
Matthew Bernstein, Vermont Law School
Vermont Law School’s Semester in Practice (SiP) course has long been a mainstay for our JD students. Due to the limited availability of placements within driving distance of the school, the vast majority of our externship students are in “remote placements” across the country. As a result, we have conducted our courses entirely online for a decade.
As other externship faculty who have been driven to an online format post-COVID understand, building relationships with your remote externs can be challenging. Finding ways to bring relevance to the often dry subject matter we teach can be challenging as well. But, as we have found through a decade of teaching remote externships, it is possible to maintain the relevant, human, and personal elements of traditional classroom teaching, without losing the “person” in the cloud. In this session, two faculty members of Vermont Law School’s JD Externship Program will share the methods and tools we employ to keep our students engaged both professionally and personally while in remote placements. We will discuss allowing students to determine topics to develop in their reflections, and encouraging students to develop themselves individually and professionally in their specific practice community. We will touch on the elements of our online courses and our intensive one-on-one conversations with students that allow us to support our students from afar and tailor our advice to enhance their personal/professional development. Finally, we will explore how we have incorporated the highly useful results of the Foundations for Practice study into our pedagogy to tie everything together for our students in disparate settings. We will engage session participants on various topics related to remote externships and online teaching. We will focus on maintaining a personal connection with students and their placement sites, and exploring other ways that the Foundations for Practice study might help inform our teaching to students in all externship settings.
Ray English, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University
Veronica Chacon, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University
Lindsay Hesketh, Sherman & Howard LLC
In 2016, the ABA eliminated the longstanding ban on law students earning an hourly wage and receiving academic credit for externships, despite significant opposition by The Clinical Legal Education Association and the Society of American Law Teachers. The policy gave individual law schools the ability to update their externship programs to include paid externships at their discretion; however, few schools have embraced the change. ASU Law has been at the forefront of this developing advancement in the externship program, and has seen significant success as a result.
Multiple articles, by both attorneys and academics, have stated that experiential learning and practical skills in all practice areas are the future of law school. The ABA agrees; the recent mandate of six experiential credit hours, coupled with the addition of paid externships to graduate reflects a growing movement to ensure that new lawyers enter the workplace needing substantially less on-the-job training. Has your law school embraced paid externships? If not, why not? Participate in this workshop and learn how embracing paid externships can benefit your students.
ASU Law, in addition to its general program allowing paid externships, has created a year-long paid residency program for third-year law students at law firms in the community. The program is in its third year, and the employment results have been astounding. Program participants from the Class of 2018 had 100% employment within 10 months of graduation, with over half of participants remaining with the firms of their externship. ASU Law has also begun to extend this residency program to other states as well as internationally.
This workshop will make the case for permitting paid externships by providing methods for safeguarding the educational mission of externships and demonstrating how these types of externships can enrich the educational experience, and expand future employment opportunities and outlooks for students.