Experiential learning—learning through practical experience—is a critical component of every student’s training at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. In experiential courses, including in-house clinics, externships, and simulations, students get hands-on experience and individualized training that bridges the gap between the classroom and real-world lawyering. All students must complete six credits of experiential coursework before graduating. Many students choose to do more.
Our in-house clinics allow students to assume the role of a lawyer and represent clients under close supervision of faculty. In clinics, students learn through real-world lawyering work, intensive seminars, and regular meetings with faculty supervisors who offer support tailored for each student’s development and learning goals.
In externships, students gain practical skills and substantive training under the supervision of licensed attorneys in the field while earning academic credit. S.J. Quinney has a wide variety of externship placements in more than a dozen different areas of law and new placements are developed every semester.
Course: Students who are completing their first semester in an externship* will also be enrolled in the companion course, Learning from Practice (2 cr./graded), which is designed to enhance and supplement the learning that takes place at the externship site. In this course, students are asked to engage in critical thought and reflection about the legal profession, their own career goals, and their professional priorities and values. Topics include learning from supervision, professionalism and ethics, self-reflection, professional identity and development, legal problem solving, oral and written communication, collaboration, diversity and bias, and lawyers’ well-being.
- Spring 2020: Fridays, 1:30PM-3:00PM taught by Professor Anna Carpenter
Students who are completing a second or subsequent externship* will also be enrolled in the companion course, Advanced Learning from Practice (1 cr./graded), which builds upon the topics covered in Learning from Practice. This course involves regular assignments and meetings with the professor and will only meet occasionally as a class.
*Note: For Spring 2020, students enrolled in Criminal Clinic will continue to take Criminal Process, those enrolled in Judicial Clinic will take Judicial Process, and those enrolled in New Ventures placements will continue to take the New Ventures Course.
Simulation courses use assignments and role-plays based on real legal matters to help students practice and develop lawyering skills in a classroom setting with faculty supervision and feedback.
- How many hours of work will I complete in an externship or in-house clinic?
- Students must competently complete 50 hours of relevant legal work for every 1 credit (P/F) awarded in an externship or in-house clinic. Most externships/clinics require 100-150 hours of work over the course of a semester (which equates to approximately 8-12 hours of work per week) to receive 2 or 3 (P/F) credits.
- When can I begin taking experiential courses?
- Students may enroll for experiential courses starting the summer after their 1L year
- Are experiential courses required?
- A minimum of six experiential credit hours are required for graduation.
- How do I apply for an in-house clinic or externship?
- In-house clinics (Justice Lab and Innocence Clinic) solicit applications each spring for clinics in the upcoming academic year.
- Externship opportunities for the upcoming semester will be posted in an online job board and students will be given a two-week window to apply. Externship Application Process
- Most externship opportunities are considered “open enrollment” but some have limited availability, which will require the supervising faculty member to decide which students will benefit most from the experience. Judicial externs are selected by the judge.
- Is there a limit on the number of experiential courses I can take?
- There is no cap on in-house clinic or simulation credits.
- Externship placement hours (earned via the Externship Credit Course) are capped at 14 credits. Credits earned via the companion course, Learning from Practice, do not count towards the cap.
Professor Anna E. Carpenter
Director of Clinical Programs
Jacqueline E. Morrison
Director of Externships
Professor Amelia Rinehart
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs