How to Plan for and Choose an Externship

Planning for an Externship

Apply to the Florida Bar no later than December of your 1L year. Externships and clinics that allow you to practice law as a student (e.g., appear in court or deposition, sign pleadings, or give legal advice) require you to become a certified legal intern. To be eligible for certification, you must have applied to the Florida Bar and passed the character and fitness screening. In addition, some placements, like the Florida Supreme Court, demand Bar clearance as proof of your suitability to be entrusted with confidential information. Even if you don’t anticipate taking an externship or remaining in Florida—apply. Law students change their minds and applying keeps your options open. Ideally, you should apply as soon as you enroll in a law school, before classes begin, but at the latest by December of your 1L year. Applying by this date also will save you money.

 Take prerequisite and recommended courses during your 2L year. Most placements have prerequisite courses that must be completed before a student may enroll.  Most also have recommended courses that will prepare you for the work and, if selection is competitive, make you a more attractive candidate. The description for each placement contains the prerequisite and recommended courses.

Save enough pass/fail credits for externships and clinics. Transfer students, especially, have limited ungraded credits available, so must use them carefully.

 Consider doing an externship outside of Tallahassee and plan for it. It is valuable to start meeting people in the city where you want to practice after graduation. Also, some opportunities are only available outside Tallahassee. When you make housing and financial commitments, try to keep this option open. Also, think about banking “extra credits” so that when you are out of town, you can take fewer credits. Remember, there is a cap on the number of externship credits that you can take your last semester (see General Information and Guidelines). Online classes also are an option to keep in mind. As for when to do an externship, being strategic may help you secure a placement: some opportunities are available only certain semesters, and some are less competitive certain semesters.

 

Choosing an Externship

The first step in choosing an externship is to clarify your goals for taking one. Do you want to improve a particular lawyering skill, such as interviewing and counseling, research and writing, trial practice, or transactional drafting? Are you seeking to gain advanced substantive knowledge in an area that already interests you, or considering a career choice, such as clerking, that you would like to “try on?” Alternatively, perhaps you are unclear about a career path and want to be exposed to a wide variety of practice areas? If this is an office that hires new graduates, you might want to use an externship as an extended job interview. Finally, if you are feeling restless in the classroom, an externship may help you reenergize by doing something exciting and rewarding. When you apply for an externship, you will meet with one of the externship faculty who will review your goals and make sure that the placements you apply for meet them.

Below are some maps that may assist you with externship planning. Additional externships are available in the following areas: Civil, Criminal, International, and Appellate. For a full listing and complete descriptions, please visit the Program Descriptions section on the Externships homepage.

Judicial Clerk Externships

Placement Site

2L year

(Summer, Fall, Spring)

3L year

(Summer, Fall, Spring)

Fla. Circuit Courts

 

  • Evidence (prerequisite)
  • Fla. Criminal Practice or Advanced Criminal Procedure, Fla. Civil Practice or Civil Pretrial Practice, Remedies, Family Law (recommended, take courses in the subject area in which you want to extern)

Extern

 

Fla. District Courts of

Appeal

 

Fla. Supreme Court

  • Evidence (prerequisite)
  • Fla. Appellate Practice, Fla. Criminal Practice or Advanced Criminal Procedure, Fla. Constitutional Law, Administrative Law (recommended)
  • To extern at a DCA outside Tallahassee in your 3L summer, apply directly to the judge by October of this year.

Extern

 

Fla. Division of

Administrative

Hearings

  • Evidence, Administrative Law (prerequisites)
  • Fla. Civil Practice or Civil Pretrial Practice (recommended)

Extern

U.S. District Court

  • Evidence (prerequisite)
  • Federal Jurisdiction (strongly recommended)
  • Conflict of Laws, Employment Discrimination, Federal Criminal Law (recommended)
  • To extern at a court outside Tallahassee in your 3L summer, apply directly to the judge by October of this year.

 

Extern

 

U.S. Bankruptcy Court

  • Bankruptcy (prerequisite)
  • Corporations, Secured Transactions, Unincorporated Business Entities, Accounting (recommended)
  • To extern at a court outside Tallahassee in your 3L summer, apply directly to the judge by October of this year.

Extern

 

U.S. Immigration Court

  • Immigration Law (prerequisite)
  • Evidence, Refugee & Asylum Law, Administrative Law (recommended)
  • There are no courts in Tallahassee. To extern in your 3L summer, apply directly to the judge (or DOJ) by October of this year.

Extern

 

 

Environmental Externships

Placement Site

2L year

(Summer, Fall, Spring)

3L year

(Summer, Fall, Spring)

Fla. Dept. of Environmental Protection

 

U.S. Equal Protection Agency

  • Environmental Law, Administrative Law (prerequisites)
  • Evidence, Environmental Legal Research (recommended for both)
  • Fla. Civil Practice or Civil Pretrial Practice, Land Use (recommended for DEP)
  • To extern at the EPA in your 3L summer, apply directly to the EPA by October.

 

Extern

 

Fla. Fish and Wildlife

Conservation Comm.

 

  • Administrative Law (prerequisite)
  • Environmental Law (recommended)

Extern

Earthjustice

 

U.S. DOJ-Environmental

Enforcement

 

Humane Society of the U.S.

 

  • Environmental Law (prerequisite)
  • Administrative Law, Evidence, Federal Jurisdiction, Environmental Legal Research (recommended)
  • DOJ does not take externs in the summer. For DOJ in your 3L fall, apply directly by March of this year.
  • For Humane Society in your 3L summer, apply directly by October of this year.

Extern

  • Earthjustice rarely takes students in the summer.
  • For DOJ in the spring this year, apply directly by October of this year.

 

Fla. Division of Administrative

Hearings-Environmental

  • Evidence, Administrative Law (prerequisites)
  • Environmental Law, Fla. Civil Practice or Civil Pretrial Practice (recommended)