Trial Court Summer Program (Rising 2L students only)

Credit hours (optional): 2 credits (Alternatively, many students choose to intern on a volunteer basis with no law school oversight; see limitations below regarding Program Overlap and Financial Aid.)

Dates:  Students working as volunteers should work out their schedule with the judge or clerk.  For those seeking academic credit, two 6-week terms are available:  generally mid-May to late June, and early July to mid-August (specific dates available from Externship office).

Number of positions: approximately 10 (depending on the level of interest, preference may be given to students seeking positions at courts outside the Second Circuit/Tallahassee)

Finding a Placement: The Placement Office webpage includes an extensive spreadsheet containing internship/clerkship application information for the judicial circuits in Florida; it can be found by logging in to Symplicity in the “Document Library.” Students should consult this resource for contacts and information on how to apply for positions in the various Florida judicial circuits.  Please follow those instructions carefully when contacting offices to discuss placement opportunities. After securing a placement, students desiring academic credit should follow the steps below.

Prerequisites: Students must have satisfactorily completed the first year curriculum at the Florida State University College of Law and be in good standing. Students are not certified pursuant to the Student Practice Rule.

Overview It is expected that students will assist the judge or staff attorney by performing legal research and writing, which may include bench summaries, memoranda of law, and proposed opinions or orders. Students also will observe trials and hearings, depending on the nature of the placement. This experience gives students an opportunity to improve research and writing skills, become familiar with courtroom practices and procedure, and gain insight into the judicial function.  Students who obtain a position in the chambers of a trial-level judge in Florida or elsewhere may earn 2 law school credits if their intended program dates, hours, and activities fit law school requirements (see below).  (Also see initial note above; credit is not required and many students elect to conduct the internship on a volunteer basis, without law school oversight or involvement.)

Qualification Process: Students who desire credit and who have secured a position with a trial-level judge should provide the “Judge Intent to Participate” form (download at link below) to the judge or his/her clerk, in part to determine if the dates will conform and the experience will provide the two components of activity required for credit. The externship office will process the student’s application after receipt of completed judicial agreement from the judge’s chamber. (Note: If you are not seeking law school credit, you do not need to submit an application or judicial agreement form, and the requirements above do not apply.)

Program Overlap and Externship Limitations: Because of the similar activities, students may not take both this externship and the Circuit Court (6 credit) externship available to upper-class students. Students are also limited to a total of two externships at the College of Law.  This program will count as the first, so review the other offerings thoughtfully to see if there may be two other programs you prefer before taking this program for credit.

Also, keep in mind that while you may take up to 6 additional credits with this program, you should consider your time commitments carefully given the high hourly demands of the externship.

Financial Aid: In order to receive financial aid during the summer (or any other) semester, students must be registered for at least 6 credit hours at the beginning of the semester.  Law school courses taken in any part of the summer usually qualify, but courses on main campus may not register at the same time and hence need special attention for this purpose.  If you have any questions about your situation, please contact the Office of Financial Aid.  

Objectives and Methods

Forms and Documents: