Certification Under the Student Practice Rule
Clinical programs require certification if you will be representing individuals or a state agency in actual cases while you are taking your externship. Programs which generally do not require certification include judicial, transactional or policy-development placements. Each placement has a description of the type of legal work done, prerequisites, certification requirements and other important information.
The Student Practice Rule permits certification of students enrolled in a “law school practice program” which is a credit-bearing clinical program coordinated by a law school in which students directly provide representation to clients in litigation under the supervision of a lawyer. To be certified under the student practice rule, a student must:
- have completed legal studies amounting to at least 4 semesters for which the student has received not less than 48 semester hours of academic credit;
- be certified by the Dean as being of good character and competent legal ability and as being adequately trained to perform as a legal intern;
- certify in writing that he/she has read and is familiar with the Rules of Professional Conduct as adopted by the Florida Supreme Court and will abide by the provisions thereof;
- apply to The Florida Bar and obtain The Florida Board of Bar Examiners’ Clearance Certificate.
You cannot be certified unless you enroll in a Law School clinical program which requires certification and have your clearance letter from The Florida Bar.
The Public Interest Law Center handles initial certification for students who participate in their program and the Clinical
Externship Office handles initial certification for students who participate in one of their externships.
After Graduation Certification
Your certification can be renewed (for employment either during law school or after graduation):
- if — and ONLY if — you will be working for a public agency or legal aid office, not for an attorney in private practice,
- if — and ONLY if — you have previously been certified under the student practice rule and have successfully completed
that law school practice program.
Your employer must fax or mail to the externship office (or Public Interest Law Center as appropriate) on the employer's letterhead stationery, a letter verifying that they have hired you and requesting that the paperwork to renew certification after graduation be sent to them.
You must also complete a form: Student's Request for Renewed Certification, available in the Clinical Externship Office
or Public Interest Law Center.