Externship Sponsors

Where can I do an Externship?

Only public agencies and entities, public or private non-profit organizations, or the courts (at the level of superior court judge or above) may be certified as Externship Sponsors. The only exception to this rule involves the pilot Intellectual Property Externship program, which utilizes established partnerships with in-house legal counsel at several private corporations.

Where do I find a list of Externship Sponsors?

All approved Sponsoring Agencies are listed online. You may search by either the location of the externship or by the type of externship you are interested in. The Handbook is issued once a year, so the website will have the most up-to-date Sponsor listings. In addition to the site profiles, students have provided testimonials regarding their experiences at the various externship sites.

Can I do an Externship at a place that is not listed on the Externship Programs homepage (i.e. not an approved site)?

Generally, no. Students must apply for Externships at the sites that have already been developed and approved by the law school. Only in exceptional circumstances will a new Externship site be approved. Criteria considered for such approval include

  • Whether there are already existing Externship opportunities of comparable substance and experience;
  • Whether the proposed Externship site is appropriate for on-going Externship placements or is a project-specific or otherwise finite placement;
  • Whether the student has provided the Externship Staff with sufficient lead time to fully review and investigate the proposal. Generally, this review will include: consultation with the proposed supervising attorney, a visit to the site, assessment of the substance of the proposed work, and a written agreement with the supervising attorney regarding expectations and requirements for on-site supervision and mentoring.
  • Students who are interested in participating in an externship at a site that is not currently listed in the Externship Sponsors Database must contact Externship Program staff within two weeks from the beginning of the semester prior to the externship in order to allow sufficient time to determine whether this site can be approved for externship credits.

What if I want to do an Externship somewhere outside of the Puget Sound region?

Proposals for out-of-area Externships will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In general, out-of-area proposals will be approved only if they fulfill ABA accreditation standards and offer a unique learning experience that cannot be obtained within the Puget Sound region. The Externship Director must approve any proposal for an out-of-area Externship. With that said, we currently have many approved national and international sites where you could pursue an externship. If you wish to propose a new site, please contact the Externship Director at least six months before your intended Externship semester. In terms of planning for an out-of-area Externship, there is no such thing as starting too early.

I've been working/volunteering at this great legal agency and would love to make it into an Externship. Can I do that?

No. Faculty policies do not allow students to do Externships at places where they have previously worked or volunteered. The only exception would be if the proposed Externship involved doing substantially different work (e.g. with the same agency but in an entirely different division). The Externship Director must approve any such exception.

Can I do an Externship at a private law firm? Even if it is pro bono work?

No, students may not do Externships at private law firms. Additionally, students may not work at a firm while doing a Judicial Externship.

Where can I do a Full Time Externship?

Only at the following: Federal District Courts and Federal and State Appellate Courts in the Puget Sound region and Alaska; Tribal Courts; the Washington State Governor’s General Counsel; the Securities Exchange Commission or the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C.; the International Court of Trade, in New York City; Justice Moreno of the California Supreme Court, and the Staff Attorneys of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco; the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, or the International Criminal Court in The Hague; the World Trade Organization; the World Intellectual Property Organization, the International Trade Center, the International Labor Organization, or the Center for International Environmental Law in Geneva.

Can I take additional clinical credits if I do a full time Judicial Externship?

Students may not take more than 15 credits of clinics and externships combined. Students may now participate in a full-time (39 hours per week) externship for 11, 12, or 15 credits. Students may not do an Externship and a Clinic at the same time. However, a waiver of the usual rule may be available for third year law students enrolled in the Community Development and Entrepreneurship Clinic. Note that this waiver is available only for third-year law students, not second-year students.

What if I have additional questions not answered on the Web site?

If you have any questions not answered or addressed on the externship website, please refer to the Seattle University School of Law Student Handbook or talk with the Externship Office for additional information or clarification.

Richard Mitchell, former general counsel to Gov. Christine Gregoire, left, with '06 extern David Lance