Externships: Information for Students

(If you are a potential field supervisor interested in supervising an extern, please click here.)

Students may earn academic credit by externing in a legal or law-related setting.  Externships combine the benefits of complementing traditional classroom education, enhancing practical skills, and exposure to a broad range of substantive and procedural law. 

The externship program is governed by both the American Bar Association’s Standards and Executive Committee Regulations of the Association of American Law Schools.

Externship Opportunities

Students may extern with dozens of pre-approved externship organizations. Students also may arrange an externship through their own contacts or through a referral provided by the Associate Dean for Externships.

Types of Externships

We offer the following types of externships:

  • Federal Government Externship with executive or legislative agencies, Congressional committees, and members of Congress.
  • Judicial Externship with judges, hearing officers, courts, and organizations that provide research, educational, and management services to judges and courts.
  • Nonprofit Organization Externship with civil legal services/legal aid organizations and U.S. private, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organizations. Organizations outside the U.S. qualify if they are nonprofit organizations that would qualify for 501(c)(3) status if they were U.S. organizations. Externships with U.S. private, nonprofit organizations with IRS status other than 501(c)(3) are not eligible.
  • Private Practice/In House Counsel Externship with solo practitioners, law firms, and in-house law departments of corporations and trade associations.
  • Prosecutor Externship with state and local prosecutors. 
  • Public Defender Externship with federal, state, and local public defenders.
  • State/Local Government Externship with state or local government agencies and offices, such as city/county attorneys; attorneys general; executive or legislative agencies; and state legislators. Placements with prosecutors and public defenders are covered by their respective externships described above.
  • U.S. Attorney Externship with the civil or criminal divisions of U.S. Attorney offices.
  • Virginia Attorney General Externship with the divisions and sections of that office. 
  • Washington, DC, Semester Externship (12, 13, or 14 credits, 3Ls only) with federal, state, and local government agencies; courts/judges; prosecutors; public defenders; legal aid offices; solo practitioners; law firms; in-house law departments of corporations and trade associations; or 501(c)(3) organizations in Washington, DC, or its Virginia or Maryland suburbs.

For questions or additional information, please contact Katherine Ainslie, Administrative Assistant for Externships and Public Service, at keainslie@wm.edu or 757-221-4870.