Public Service Externship
Professor Maara Fink
The Public Service Externship Clinic has several purposes: to enhance students' ability to learn from their experiences, to train students in lawyering skills; to give students greater insight into the workings of the legal system; and to foster in students a sense of professional responsibility.
Under the guidance of a supervising attorney or judge, student externs perform a variety of challenging tasks. Feedback from supervisors concerning these tasks creates the ideal environment for developing self-directed learning skills. Externship faculty members regularly meet or correspond with externs, reviewing their work and what they are learning.
The school can arrange a wide variety of placements. At numerous governmental offices, courts, and non-profit agencies, law students can gain practical legal experience in the areas of researching, preparing legal documents, interviewing, counseling, negotiating, and litigating.
Consistently, students find their clinical courses - including externships - to be one of the highlights of their legal education. Some are excited by representing real clients in court and at administrative hearings. Others gain stimulating insights into the legal process from working with trial or appellate judges. Regardless of their placement, all externs find that their experiences enable them to revitalize their formal education and to learn valuable legal skills.
Various externship placements have been established to meet student interest. The scope of externship opportunities allows students to explore many areas of interest. Most students extern within Lucas County at courts, government agencies and public service organizations.
Some out-of-town externships are available in the summer semester. Students are encouraged to propose out-of-town externship placements.
One externship per student is the norm. To qualify for an externship, students must have completed their first year of law school (two years if part-time student) and must be in good academic standing.
Students wishing to extern with a government agency or program not listed as an established placement may contact the agency/office and initiate and externship. After the student obtains the preliminary information regarding the placement, the externship faculty will review the information, meet with the proposed supervising attorney, and approve or deny the proposed placement.
Length of Placement
In the fall and spring semesters students work a minimum of four hours per week per unit of credit for 14 weeks. Students also must attend the PSEC classroom component (see course schedule).
In the summer term, students work a minimum of 56 hours per unit of credit during the summer semester. Students may earn up to five units of credit toward graduation For example, a student who elected five credit hours would work a total of 280 hours in the field placement over the summer.
The Role of the Supervising Attorney/Judge
The supervising attorneys or judges serve as teachers, role models, mentors and friends. The externship faculty works as a team with each supervising attorney/judge to design and implement a valuable learning program for externs. Each new supervising attorney/judge meets with the Externship faculty to discuss in detail his/her role and how it fits into the program's purposes. Finally, the supervising attorney/judge completes a mid-semester and final evaluation of the extern. These assist the Externship faculty in determining grades and providing necessary feedback to the extern.
If you would like further information about this program, please contact Professor Fink at the above address.