General Educational Objectives of the Externship Program

The Externship program strives to help develop in students the art of lawyering by teaching skills and values, and by engaging students fully with the intellectual, pragmatic, ethical, and personal issues that arise in the practice of law. The Externship experience can help students accomplish these goals in at least the following ways:

Learning about personal professional development
The Externship experience tends to build student confidence, increase clarity of career goals, and add to understanding of strengths and weaknesses as lawyers.

Improving specific lawyering skills
Externship placements can help students develop skills such as research and writing, legal analysis, interviewing, and, gathering, organization and communication of facts. Supervisors should select assignments that will challenge students’ existing skills and expect a high level of competent performance.

Increasing insight into the legal system
Externship students often gain a more integrated and critical understanding of the how the legal system works than they have managed to develop in law school. This result is aided by thoughtful critical observation of attorneys, judges, and other personnel performing their jobs, and by discussing these observations with supervisors.

Developing a sense of professional responsibility
Direct responsibility for legal work, and guidance by the supervising attorney or judge, provide powerful lessons in professional responsibility.

Examples of Individual Learning Objectives for Externship
Each Externship student is required to determine personal learning goals. Here are some suggestions:

Objectives Involving Improvement of Lawyering Skills

  • Improve ability to perform thorough and competent legal research
  • Write persuasive,, well organized briefs and pleadings or opinions
  • Keep complete and organized files, consistent with professional responsibility
  • Identify and investigate facts needed to evaluate or support a legal position
  • Understand decisionmaking by judicial or administrative authorities
  • Apply an area of substantive law to actual cases
  • Be aware of ethical considerations
  • Conduct professional interviews or and client counseling skills
  • Develop case plans
  • Negotiate effectively
  • Develop trial strategy
  • Present evidence or make arguments in court

Objectives Involving Personal Attributes as a Lawyer

  • Improve ability to be flexible in one's personal attributes (e.g., to be assertive or reserved as it serves one's purpose)
  • Manage the tensions and conflicts of the lawyer role
  • Deal forthrightly with ethical issues
  • Know how one learns best
  • Engage in meaningful self-evaluation.
  • Work closely and effectively with peers
  • Use a supervisor effectively
  • Exercise effective leadership in a professional setting.
  • Make decisions in unfamiliar areas under conditions of complexity and time pressure.
  • Think through some problems in detail, or resolve other problems on very short notice

Objectives Involving Understanding the Legal System
Improve understanding of the range of possible options available at each decision point,
the variety of methods for assessing options,social and political consequences of legal decisions and the process by which they are made, how the legal system actually affects people and institutions