Externship Companies

Each summer and as an independent field placement program during the regular academic year, the Law School places rising 2L and 3L students in law departments of major corporations in the metropolitan area. The students earn up to three credits while experiencing the world of business and the real connection between business and law. In-house counsel from the placement companies mentor the students for up to 150 hours. More information about the course is available here.

2017 Participating Companies

Examples of externship projects

  • Review agreements for liability and insurance issues
  • Attend strategy meetings and in-house CLEs
  • Brainstorm solutions to antitrust questions
  • Help prepare for negotiations between a parent and subsidiary
  • Create a system for tracking SEC filings
  • Research the effect of new legislation on a company
  • Revise a licensing agreement
  • Craft a list of corporate governance questions that might be asked by shareholders
  • Compare interstate and international laws

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the benefits of the Corporate Externship Program?

The Corporate Externship Program provides students with experiences in business law, specifically in corporate law. While the Law School’s Judicial Externship familiarizes students with the workings of the court system, the Corporate Externship Program familiarizes students with the working connections between law and business in corporate counsel settings. This program is a fitting companion to the Business Law Clinic, where students represent start-up and emerging businesses in non-dispute-related matters.

Which students are eligible for the program?

Any student who has successfully completed the second year of law school may participate in this program.

In what kinds of projects and activities can we expect students to participate?

While externship providers determine assignments, we ask that projects be transactional (non-dispute). Projects and activities should focus on research, writing, and thinking related to lawyering and business skills—problem analysis, organizational strategy, negotiation, and drafting or revising commercial documents. Approximately half of the time students should be experiencing the environment of the corporate legal department. Shadowing, mentoring, and other kinds of observation are experiential activities.

How do you assign students to companies?

We will assign a student based on the student’s preferences when possible. We also may be able to address a specific request you may have as to organizational experience or foreign language proficiency.

Can we offer placements to more than one student?

Yes, if that fits your externship program and schedule. In fact, some of our placements prefer taking more than one student and find it does not increase workload.

How can my company participate?

Contact Emily Buchholz at the Corporate Institute at the Law School.

What are the interests of the students who will choose this program?

Many students who attend law school have a strong interest in the business side of law. Their career goals do not include adversarial dispute resolution. These are the students who will be most interested in this program.

Will we be required to compensate students for the work they do?

No. The students pay tuition for this 3-credit course, and they are not employees under to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

How many hours can we expect the students will be at our company?

The students will put in 150 on-site hours. This is up to 20 hours per week during the summer session. In the past many students have put in more than 150 hours, with the permission of their supervisors.

How will you evaluate the students?

We evaluate the students based on feedback from you and from the students and on assignments that are part of the program.

How will you evaluate the program?

Feedback from you and from students will provide us with the best information about the quality and value of the program. Both supervisors and students complete evaluation surveys at the end of the summer.

Will the students be graded for participating in this program?

Grades for the Corporate Externship are on a pass/no pass basis.

Is there anything else students will be required to do to earn the credits?

  • Corporate counsel presentation
  • Essay based on interview or conversations with placement supervisors on their experiences in the role of corporate counsel
  • Weekly reflective journal

Contact Information

University of Minnesota Law School

Walter F. Mondale Hall | 229 19th Avenue South | Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-625-5000

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