Students

The Colorado Law externship program is offered year-round (fall, summer, and spring semesters). Students may only extern at government or non-profit organizations and agencies.  Students may work in all three branches of the government, at all three levels of government, including state and federal judicial chambers, executive agencies, and congressional offices.  Students may also extern with nonprofit organizations.   Externship sponsors are not limited to agencies and organizations that have sponsored externs in the past.

Finding An Externship

The Office of Career Development maintains a list of possible externships in its CDOnline site.  Please search for "externships" for current listings on CDOnline.  Students are encouraged to contact past sponsors from government or non-profit agencies in a professional fashion regarding any current externship needs. Examples of agencies and organizations that have participated in the program in the past include Colorado state and federal courts at every level, Leeds School of Business Demming Center Venture Fund, The Nature Conservancy, district attorney and attorney general offices, public defender offices, Colorado State Senate and Secretary of State, US EPA, EEOC, HHS and other agencies, Centura Health and Boulder Community Hospital, and many more as detailed here.

Financial Considerations

Because the externship program is an academic program, enrollment has the same financial considerations as an academic course. An externship takes the place of a law school class and counts as a part of the Fall and Spring term's full-time tuition. During the summer term, students must pay for each individual externship credit. 
Note: Financial aid will not kick-in unless you are enrolled in 4 or more credits during the summer.

Getting Your Externship Approved

In deciding whether to approve a program for extern credit, Colorado Law will evaluate the following criteria to see if they are met:

  • the program is of substantial educational value,
  • the work to be done is of the kind a beginning lawyer might do in a professional capacity or is closely related thereto,
  • the field supervisor is a qualified person willing to assume the burden of supervision, and
  • adequate records of the time spent by the student will be furnished by the sponsoring organization.  
  • The work must be supervised by a practicing attorney or judge on site and this person must agree to be your field supervisor.
  • Your supervisor must commit to providing you with substantial feedback on your work quality and progress, and he or she must have the time to serve as a mentor.
  • The work must be uncompensated.
  • The work must have a substantial writing component.
  • You must only seek credit for one extern placement per semester.
  • As a part of your externship you must attend a professional skills class given at the law school.

PLEASE NOTE:

  1. You may not do an externship as a research assistant for a law school professor.
  2. You must have completed at least 30 law school credits to be eligible to do an Externship.
  3. Law firms and private organizations who would like to employ the services of our students are encouraged to employ them for wages.  In many circumstances, the time a student spends working for a law firm may be billed to a client.  The Office of Career Development  is available to aid in matching firms and private organizations with students who would be qualified to work for them

Earning Academic Credit

Students may earn up to four academic credits for their externship work in a semester.  (Ordinarily four credits is the overall limit during a law school career, but three additional credits may be available under certain circumstances, as further explained in Law School Rule 24.) 

To be eligible for academic credit, a student's externship must meet the following requirements:

  • A qualified field sponsor who is a lawyer or judge
  • A minimum of fifty hours of work during the semester of enrollment for each externship credit
  • Participation in a half-day professional development seminar during the semester of externship.  Each class session is mandatory.  The dates for the class can be found under the corresponding semester's PDF syllabus on this website.
  • Submission of substantial written work authored by the student in the course of the externship. Acceptable writing pieces include:
    • compositions for your externship sponsor which are reviewed and critiqued;
    • legal memoranda and briefs which are a significant part of your work and which are reviewed by your field supervisor;
    • and a paper submitted to your faculty sponsor, the content of which is determined by mutual agreement. Interrogatories, pleadings, correspondence and nonlegal memoranda normally are not sufficient.
  • Other Externship paperwork as required by the rules

Application Process

More information concerning externship requirements is available at Law School Rule 24 and in the Program Description  Agreement.

Applications to do externship for work during any semester should be submitted to lawexternships@colorado.edu no later than the first day of classes for the semester at issue.

  1. Determine an externship site that will satisfy the above requirements and that will meet your career interests.
  2. Approach the site of interest and identify an attorney who will serve as your field supervisor. Make sure that you discuss with your supervisor your need to be trained and mentored.
  3. You must decide on the number of academic credits you would like to receive for this externship. Each credit consists of 50 working hours per semester and you may register for 1, 2, 3, or 4 credits. Please note that no student may earn more than four externship credits while in law school, unless the student successfully petitions for additional credits. See Petitioning for More Credit Hours
  4. Obtain a resume, bio, or related document, from your field supervisor (which should include qualifications of this individual to be your supervisor, and a business address and phone number).
  5. Fill out a Program Description Agreement
  6. Have your supervisor submit this agreement electronically to lawexternships@colorado.edu by the deadline.
    Your completed application should consist of:
  • The Program Description Agreement 
  • A copy of your field supervisor's resume, bio or qualifications (print outs from web pages are acceptable).
  • Once your application is received we will review your application materials. If your application is approved, we will sign the Program Description Agreement and you will be registered for the appropriate amount of credits by the Law Registrar's Office.

Externship Forms

 Please read: Please fill out the form(s) below and save a copy to your local machine. Then email this version of the document to lawexternships@colorado.edu and retain a copy for your records.