Externships

Build Lawyering Skills and Identify Career Opportunities

At WVU Law, classroom learning is your foundation to becoming a skilled leader in the legal profession. Practical experience through externships is also important to your education, both to put your learning to work and deepen your commitment to public service.

The College of Law offers a wide variety of externships in nonprofit, government, and judicial settings, both locally and around the country, to help students: 

  • Develop  the art of lawyering, including research, writing, analysis, interviewing, and communication. 
  • Identify professional goals and areas for development. 
  • Become more sensitive to the issues of professional responsibility, ethical problem-solving, role of the lawyer in providing access to justice in our society. 
  • Discover meaningful career opportunities in public interest and government settings, and begin building relationships in chosen fields of law.

For part time (fall and spring) and summer public service externships, students contact the externship site directly to obtain placement and should submit a resume and transcript  Jennifer Powell, Director of the Center for Law and Public Service. For the full time federal agency and full time federal clerkship externships, students should first send their materials to  Jennifer Powell, Director of the Center for Law and Public Service, to verify eligibility, then apply directly to the site.

Externship Opportunities.

 The following are the types of externships programs in nonprofit, government, and judicial settings available to WVU Law students. Please review eligibility and application requirements for individual programs. Application due dates for all externships are October 15 for spring; April 15 for summer and fall.

Public Service Externship Program. Offered in the fall and spring semesters, and in the first summer session. Students participate in the Public Service Externship course for one credit and work in an approved placement in a government or nonprofit setting to earn the remaining two to four credits.

Public service externship placements may be in government agencies, judiciary, legal aid offices, and other nonprofit or public interest organizations performing legal work. Externships have included placements with public defenders, prosecutors, judges, legal services, hospitals, among other opportunities. All placements must be approved by  Jennifer Powell, Director of the Center for Law and Public Service, or Professor Jessica Haught.

Full-time Externship Program. Students may participate in full-time opportunities in select federal government agencies, earning 13 credits. Students must meet the program requirements. Sample placements include the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Students enroll in Law 655 for six credits of course work and Law 656 for seven credits of field work.

Federal Judicial Externship Program. Learn firsthand about the federal court system and the judicial process through a full-time externship with a United States District Court or U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and earn 13 credits. Eligible students will have completed at least three semesters of law school; 2Ls must be in the top 25% of their class and 3Ls must be in the top 40% to apply. Individual judges may have their own more stringent requirements. Completion of courses in evidence, criminal procedure, and federal courts is strongly recommended, and opportunities are limited.

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