Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
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Policies and Guidelines

Policies and Procedures of the Externship Program

A. Student Eligibility

1. Prerequisites to Application and Enrollment

Students will not eligible for participation in the Externship Program until they have successfully completed one-half of the credit hours required for graduation from the Law School. Additional prerequisites may be set upon request by specific field placement offices and/or at the discretion of the Director of Clinical Programs and Externships. In exceptional circumstances, the prerequisites may be waived with the approval of the Director of Clinical Programs and Externships in consultation with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

2. Academic Standing

Students must be in good academic standing in the semester preceding their participation in the Externship Program. In consultation with the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, the Director of Clinical Programs and Externships retains the discretion to base program admission on a student having compiled an academic record that exceeds the good standing requirement. A student falling below good academic standing (placed on academic probation) while participating in the Externship Program may continue participating barring extraordinary circumstances.

3. Limitations on Externship Credit and Enrollment

Students may enroll in the Externship Program subject to the following limitations:

a. In accordance with the Law School’s Academic Regulations, not more than a total of eight (8) credit hours may be utilized toward satisfying graduation requirements by satisfactorily completing the following courses: 
Any Externship, Law Review, Moot Court (including credit for participation on travel teams), and independent research.

b. For satisfying graduation requirements, and subject to the ungraded credit limitation set forth above, a student may take no more than (a) two externships, or (b) two clinics, or (c) one externship and one clinic for credit toward graduation. A student may not repeat the same clinic or externship.

c. A student may not enroll in both a Clinic course and the Externship Program in the same semester or summer session.

d. Students may not take more than a total of sixteen (16) hours, including enrollment in the Externship Program, in the semester (or its equivalent in the summer) in which they are enrolled for in the Externship Program.

e. For enrollment purposes, students who have already taken and received credit for the participation in the Externship Program will not receive priority for enrollment in the Externship Program for a second semester or summer session.

f. The Director of Clinical Programs and Externships, after consultation with the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, may grant waivers, on a case-by-case basis, to permit repetition of a placement in the Externship Program or enrollment in the Externship Program that may result in the student exceeding the ungraded credit limitation or the limitation on the number of externships in which the student may enroll.

B. Student Application Requirements

1. Pre-Application Processes

a. Prior to applying for enrollment in the Externship Program, students must thoroughly familiarize themselves with the Objectives and Goals of the Externship Program as well as the Program’s Policies and Procedures.

b. Although not required, interested students should make every effort to attend the Externship Information Session that will be held in advance of registration each semester. Students should also be encouraged to meet with the Director of Clinical Programs and Externships to discuss any questions or concerns in advance of moving forward with applications for enrollment.

2. Application Process

Students must apply for an Externship Program placement by completing the Externship Program Application. It is anticipated that the application will be distributed to students via electronic means (e-mail, law school website, Simplicity, etc.) and made available in the Office of the Director of Clinical Programs and Externships. In addition to submitting the completed application, students may be asked to submit a cover letter, a current professional resume, a writing sample, and/or a current law school transcript.

3. Security Clearance

Many externship field placements (primarily judicial and government) require a security clearance, a process that may take several months. If a student seeks an externship field placement that requires security clearance, it is expected that the student will work with the Director of Clinical Programs and Externship to provide the field placement with all information necessary to secure that clearance.

C. Standards for Selection of Students for Externships

Offers for enrollment in the Externship Program will be made by and at the discretion of the Director of Clinical Programs and Externships. In making enrollment decisions, the following factors will be considered:

1. Compatibility

The Director of Clinical Programs and Externships will assess whether the placement a good fit for the student and whether the student has the legal, professional, interpersonal and intellectual skills for a productive externship experience in the particular placement. In making this determination, the Director may examine the student’s law school transcript, though academic performance will not necessarily be conclusive. In addition, an interview with the student, input from faculty, consultation with the prospective field placement, and performance in other experiential learning settings may be considered.

2. Reason for Wanting to Participate in the Placement

The Director of Clinical Programs and Externships will consider whether the placement fits into the educational goals and career interests of the student.

3. Compliance with Requirements and Prerequisites

The Director of Clinical Programs and Externships will consider whether the student has complied with all placement and Externship Program requirements and prerequisites.

D. Requirements after Acceptance of an Externship Placement

1. Acceptance and Registration

Once a student accepts an offer to enroll in the Externship Program, that student will be formally enrolled by the Registrar’s office. Once enrollment is complete, a student will not be permitted to drop the Externship course without petitioning for and receiving approval of the Director of Clinical Programs and Externships to withdraw from the course.

2. Withdrawal

If a student accepts an offer for enrollment in the Externship Program, he or she will not be able to withdraw the commitment except for compelling reasons. To obtain permission for withdrawal, the student must immediately, upon the knowledge of such compelling reasons, petition in writing to the Director of Clinical Programs and Externships. The petition must specify the compelling reasons for withdrawal. Failure to petition and receive approval may result in a grade of “Unsatisfactory” for the course and jeopardize the student's chances of being considered for future enrollment in the law school’s Experiential Learning courses, including clinical programs and externships.

3. Compensation

Students may not accept compensation of any kind for externship work. Where it is the practice of a particular field placement to reimburse reasonable out-of-pocket expenses related to the placement, the extern may receive such reimbursement.

4. Fulfillment of Externship Placement Requirements

Subject to the Policies and Procedures of the Externship Program, externs must comply with all working hours requirements and conditions implemented by the field placement. Field placement will generally run from the first day of instruction through the last day of instruction of the academic semester or session. It is expected that the extern will be at the placement each week of the semester or summer session. Students must complete their externship in the semester or term they begin it. A student who fails to complete an externship or who receives a grade of “Unsatisfactory” may be barred from future enrollment in any of the law school’s Experiential Learning courses, including clinical programs and externships.

5. Completion of Externship Seminar Requirements

Student externs will be required to attend and fulfill the requirements of a regularly convened, faculty-led classroom seminar designed to focus on and enhance the learning that the externs will be doing in their field placements.

Requirements for the classroom seminar, as well as for submission of Externship-related work product and time sheets, will be specified in the course syllabus for the Externship Program.

In general, it is anticipated that students will be expected to reflect on their field placement experiences through a series of written assignments, including a Final Self-Assessment and Reflection Memorandum. Written assignments may focus on the effective development of legal skills; confidentiality, ethics, and professional responsibility; expectations, conduct, and realities of externship work; learning from experience and reflection; workplace communication and feedback; workplace teams and leadership; community and social responsibility of lawyers; the legal system; developing lawyer skills; and job stress and job satisfaction.

6. Confidentiality

The extern is expected to hold in strictest confidence all communications received in the course of the externship placement that are not matters of public record, and to adhere fully to the standards of professional conduct set forth in the Code of Professional Responsibility of the American Bar Association, the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct, and any other applicable rules of professional ethics (e.g., codes of judicial conduct)

7. Unlawful Practice of Law

Within their placements, externs may have the opportunity for contact with clients or potential clients, the court, other attorneys, etc.   Externs should be extremely cautious in their communications so that they are limited to and do not overstep the scope of work that they are authorized to perform. All communications should be prefaced by disclosing the student’s extern status.

8. Professionalism

Externs are required to exhibit professional conduct at all times during their externships. Students will be appropriately attired as determined by the field placement supervisor. Students will attend all called meetings of the field placement supervisor and/or the faculty supervisor, unless excused by the appropriate party. Students will be familiar with the appropriate Rules of Procedure and other assigned materials.

In the sole judgment of the Director of Clinical Programs and Externships, any extern failing to achieve an acceptable level of professionalism may have the academic credit for his/her placement reduced or eliminated.

9. Removal from Externship Program

At the discretion of the Director of Clinical Programs and Externships, students may be removed from the Externship Program for unsatisfactory or untimely work, unethical conduct, violation of any agreements with the field placement supervisor or law school, breaches of confidence, inappropriate behavior or attire, violation of any rules of court, or at the request of the field placement supervisor.

Credit and Grading

A. Grading

1. Upon completion of the Externship semester, all externs will be assigned a grade of Excellent, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory.

2. The determination of grade assignment and credit allocation will be made by the Director of the Clinical Programs and Externships after receiving a student evaluation prepared by the field placement supervisor at semester’s end. The assigned grade and allocation of credit will be based upon satisfactory and timely completion of the requisite externship hours and work assigned during the placement, satisfactory participation in the classroom seminar component of the Externship Program course (including consideration of the work product), the evaluation of the field placement supervisor, and the student's compliance with all course requirements.

3. At the discretion of the Director of Clinical Programs and Externships, any student enrolled in an externship placement who fails to comply with any requirements of the Externship Program (set forth herein or in the course materials), of the Student Honor Code, or appropriate regulations governing the profession, may be assigned a grade of “Unsatisfactory,” awarded no credit and be barred from future enrollment in any of the law school’s Experiential Learning courses, including clinical programs and externships.



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Last Updated: 2/13/12