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
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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