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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, should submit a resume and transcript to Assistant Dean Jennifer Powell to verify eligibility. Students must be in good academic standing to enroll in the part time public service externship program.. 

For the full time federal agency and full time federal clerkship externships, students should first send their materials to Jennifer Powell to verify eligibility, then apply directly to the site.


There are two types of externships programs available for students at WVU Law: the part-time, public service externship and the full time federal agency or federal judicial externship. All externship sites must be either in nonprofit, government, or judicial settings and must be unpaid. Students may only do one externship (of either kind) in their law school career. Please review eligibility and application requirements for each of the programs.

Part-time Public Service Externship Program

The part-time public service externships are offered in the fall and spring semesters, and during the summer session. The part-time public service externship courses are Law 653 and Law 654. Students must enroll in both for to earn credit for the part-time public service externship program. Law 653 is the one credit hour classroom portion of the part-time public service externship program and Law 654 is the variable hour, two to five credit placement portion of the program. Students must have completed at least one year of law school to enroll in the part-time public service externship program.

Part-time 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.

Full-time Externship Program

The full-time federal agency and full-time judicial externships are extraordinary public service opportunities reserved for students who meet the academic requirements to enroll. 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. Agencies or 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. Students must be approved by Jennifer Powell to enroll in the full time program before reaching out to potential externship sites.

Full-time Federal Agency Externship

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 three credits of course work and Law 656 for ten 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 Magistrate, District Court or U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, earning 13 credits. Students enroll in Law 780 for three credits or course work and Law 780A for ten credits of field work.

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