• Judicial Externship – 6057

    Fall 2019


2 or 3


  • Grad. Requirements
    • Experiential Learning
    Subject Area
    • Civil Litigation *
    • Litigation, Alternative Dispute Resolution & Advocacy
    Student Year
    Upper Division
    Grade Base
    Course type

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA LAW SCHOOLEXTERNSHIP PROGRAMThe Judicial Externship class is offered both fall and spring semesters to second and third year students and in the summer session to students who have completed at least their first year of law school. The course provides students an opportunity to learn about both lawyering and judging by observing and participating in the work of a judge and his or her staff. Students may earn 2 or 3 credits for the course, depending on how many hours the student works during the term.Externships are generally available with federal magistrate-judges and with judges at the federal district court, federal court of appeals, federal bankruptcy court, state trial court, state court of appeals, state tax court, and American Indian tribal courts. State trial court placements are with judges handling criminal, civil, family, or juvenile court matters. Externships may also be available at administrative courts handling immigration matters (separate application to and approval by that court are required) and workers’ compensation issues.During the summer session, students may also participate in the program while externing with judges elsewhere in the country. The supervising faculty member will assist students in finding appropriate out-of-town placements but the enrolled student is primarily responsible for the search.Each student arranges a work schedule with the assigned judge and his or her staff. Each extern is expected to work at least 100 hours (for two academic credits) or 150 hours (for three academic credits) during the course of the term. In the summer session, in order to ensure that the student sees a sufficient range of the court’s business, it is expected that the student will work the required hours over not less than six calendar weeks.Externship work generally includes both substantive assignments in research and writing and observation of court proceedings. Substantive assignments will depend upon the nature of the court’s calendar, and may include such work as preparing a memorandum or proposed order and decision on a summary judgment motion, summarizing and evaluating deposition testimony, or researching substantive legal issues raised in a motion, trial, or appeal. The precise nature of the assignments is at the discretion of the judge. Students may observe a variety of proceedings, ranging from settlement conferences to motions hearings to trials to appellate arguments. They may be proceedings conducted in cases for which the student is performing research or they may be part of unrelated casesStudents are required to keep a journal, which is submitted to the supervising faculty member, and to participate in web-based discussion with classmates about topics of general interest related to judging and the courts. Background material on clerking is available through supplemental readings. During the academic year, students are required to attend periodic gatherings with classmates to share experiences and learning.At the end of the term, the judge completes an evaluation of the student’s work. The course is graded pass-fail; a pass requires timely completion of work assignments and submission of the required documentation.To enroll in the class, students should use the online registration system to register for the course. The class often fills up quickly, but a waiting list will be created and many of the students on it will be able to enroll as additional placements are confirmed. After a student registers for the class or is assigned to the waiting list, the student will be asked to provide a resume and transcript and to complete a form describing his/her preferences among the possible placements. The supervising faculty member will make assignments based on the judges’ requirements and student preferences.Students are discouraged from seeking their own placements in the Twin Cities so that all students will have an equal opportunity for placement. If a student is offered a position by a judge, the student may attempt to register for the course, but (if the student ends up on the waiting list) will only be permitted to enroll if there are sufficient placements to allow enrollment of all students with lower numbers on the waiting list. Students will not be approved to do an independent field placement as intern for a judge during any term when the Judicial Externship class is offered.Note regarding federal court positions: Each student who lists federal district court as a high-ranking choice will have his/her resume and transcript sent to one district court judge for review; those judges select their interns based on their review of those materials. Similarly, the federal court of appeals judge who often participates does her own selection of an extern from resumes and transcripts sent for her review. If not selected by a federal judge, the student will be placed elsewhere according to the preferences he/she has listed.Students may not enroll in both the summer Judicial Externship and summer Corporate Externship classes during the same term. Students may participate in the Judicial Externship class only once; the class cannot be repeated.For further information about judicial externships, contact Professor Carol Chomsky (Room N220, 612-625-2885, choms001@umn.edu).

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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