Externships

The Externship Program at St. John's Law places students with a variety of pre-approved employers where they work directly with an assigned mentor attorney on real legal matters. Externship placements provide students with actual litigation and transactional experience and, in some cases, students are exposed to case management and policy issues. All placements give students a substantial lawyering experience and prepare students for the practice of law in specific areas. Students choose placements based upon their interest in a substantive area of law or their desire to learn or sharpen particular lawyering skills.

Students work in placements that span across the legal spectrum from civil and criminal to business, transactional, administrative and judicial options and include placements in public interest organizations, governmental agencies, private law firms, judicial chambers and corporate legal offices. Recent placements can be found in the Recent Externship Placements list.

Students augment the hands-on experience they gain from their externship placement by registering for a concurrent seminar. Details about the seminar component can be found below.

To learn more about the Externship Program at St. John's University School of Law, please visit the How to Apply for an Externship page or contact:

Jeanne Ardan
Associate Dean for Career Development and Externships
[email protected]
718-990-6767

Video

Kimathi Gordon Somers, Assistant Dean for Students (formerly Associate Director of Career Development and Externship Coordinator)

How To

An externship is an unpaid internship for which a student receives course credit where the student is supervised by a licensed attorney.  In addition to gaining valuable work experience at a placement, you will also take a contemporaneous seminar that will help develop your lawyering skills.  During the summer, externships are three credits (two pass/fail credits for the placement and one graded credit for the seminar) and require 168 hours at the placement.  During the fall and spring, externships are four credits (two pass/fail credits for the placement and two credits for the seminar) and require 140 hours at the placement.  The seminar meets once per week.  For students who have completed the regular externship, an advanced seminar is available.

Step 1:  Apply

Pre-approved externship placements are listed on Symplicity under Career Opportunities.  The deadline for most Summer placements is early March; for the Fall, it is June; and for the Spring it is October.  However, deadlines vary by employer.  Some placements require only a resume, while others ask for a cover letter and other documents.  Consult with your Career Development Office Counselor for advice on externships.  Some placements are more competitive than others, and you should not apply for an externship that does not match up with your long-term career goals.  Check Symplicity frequently for new externship placements.

You can also apply for internships on your own and, if you receive an offer, request that the placement be approved for course credit. Not all internships will qualify. The placement must provide the student with a substantial lawyering experience. Jobs in which you receive compensation are not eligible for course credit. Also, you can extern at a placement only once (with limited exceptions).

Step 2:  Interview with Placements

Externship placements will contact you directly to schedule interviews. Be prepared to explain to your interviewer why you wish to intern at that particular placement. Conducting a mock interview with your Career Development Office counselor is strongly recommended.

Step 3:  Accept an Offer

Most placements will give you some time to think about whether you want to accept an offer. However, for judicial internships and externships: “to apply is to accept.” If you receive an offer to extern for a judge, you must accept the offer immediately.

Step 4:  Register & Notify the Externship Office

The final step is to register for the Externship Seminar. To register, you must have secured a placement or be in the process of securing a placement. Registration for the Externship Seminar is done online during the class registration period.   Once registered, complete the Externship Placement Registration Form and submit it to the Career Development Office or [email protected] as soon as you have secured your placement (BEFORE THE FIRST CLASS). Your Placement Registration Form will contain the name of the employer, the semester for which you are applying (fall, spring or summer) and the name of and contact information for your mentor attorney. 

Externship Seminar – Fall/Spring (2 Credits)

In order to register for the Externship Seminar during the fall or spring semesters, students must NOT have previously taken the Externship Seminar in the Fall or Spring semesters. Students whose only other externship has been in the summer should register for this course if they wish to take an externship in the fall or spring. To register for this seminar, you must have secured a placement OR be in the process of securing a placement. Externship placement opportunities are available on Symplicity or students may seek approval from the Career Development/Externship Office for a placement they have found independently. Students can review the Externship guidelines by reviewing the Externship Program Handbook, available on Symplicity and in the Career Development Office.

Registration for the Externship Seminar will be done online. Wait lists will be available for classes that are overbooked.  Once registered, submit your Externship Placement Registration Form to the Career Development Office or via email at [email protected] as soon as you have secured your placement. YOU MUST SUBMIT THE FORM TO THE CAREER DEVELOPMENT/EXTERNSHIP OFFICE BEFORE THE FIRST CLASS in order to receive the placement credits. The form will indicate the name of the employer, the semester for which you are applying, and the name of and contact information for your mentor attorney or the contact person at the organization. 

Externship Seminar - Advanced (1 Credit)

In order to register for the Advanced Externship Seminar, you MUST have already taken the Externship Seminar either in Fall or Spring semester. This seminar may also be available for students interested in an Externship Placement in the summer who have already taken the Summer Externship Placement Seminar. In order to register for the Advanced Externship Seminar, you must have secured a placement or be in the process of securing a placement. Placement opportunities are available on Symplicity or students may seek approval from the Career Development/Externship Office for a placement they have found independently.  

Registration for the Advanced Externship Seminar will be done online. Wait lists will be available for classes that are overbooked. Once registered, submit your Externship Placement Registration Form to the Career Development Office or via email at [email protected] as soon as you have secured your placement. YOU MUST SUBMIT THE FORM TO THE CAREER DEVELOPMENT/EXTERNSHIP OFFICE BEFORE THE FIRST CLASS in order to receive the placement credits. The form will indicate the name of the employer, the semester for which you are applying, and the name of and contact information for your mentor attorney or the contact person at the organization.

Summer Externship Seminar (1 Credit)

In order to register for the Summer Externship Seminar, students should be taking an Externship Placement for the first time during the summer. To register for this seminar, you must have secured a placement OR be in the process of securing a placement. Externship placement opportunities are available on Symplicity or students may seek approval from the Career Development/Externship Office for a placement they have found independently. Students can review the Externship guidelines by reviewing the Externship Program Handbook, available on Symplicity and in the Career Development Office.

Registration for the Summer Externship Seminar will be done online. Wait lists will be available for classes that are overbooked. Once registered, submit your Externship Placement Registration Form to the Career Development Office or via email at [email protected] as soon as you have secured your placement. YOU MUST SUBMIT THE FORM TO THE CAREER DEVELOPMENT/EXTERNSHIP OFFICE BEFORE THE FIRST CLASS in order to receive the placement credits. The form will indicate the name of the employer, the semester for which you are applying, and the name of and contact information for your mentor attorney or the contact person at the organization.

This description applies for the General Externship Seminar, the Summer Externship Seminar, and the Advanced Externship Seminar.

The Externship Seminar provides students who are participating in an externship with additional information about and training in the following skills:

  • Interviewing and counseling
  • Fact investigation and evaluation
  • Drafting Legal Correspondence
  • Writing and Presenting a practice-oriented bar journal paper
  • Oral presentation
  • Negotiations
  • Persuasive Speaking/Argument

The focus is to assist students in developing basic lawyering skills beneficial to every attorney upon completing law school. The course will help students further understand the attorney-client relationship, the attorney’s role, ethics, confidentiality, professionalism and the workplace environment.

The general seminar meets for 2 hours each week for 13 weeks (7 weeks in the summer). The Advanced Seminar meets every other week. The first 30 minutes of class is dedicated to reflection where students will share their experiences in their externship placements.  The remaining time is dedicated to a discussion of skills and additional training through exercises and feedback.

In the General and Advanced Seminars, students are required to complete a paper that is either scholarly or of the type that would appear in a practice-oriented bar-type journal and which cannot duplicate work the student has produced at the placement.  Students must also orally present their paper to the class.  During the semester, students will complete practice writing assignments which include, among other things, drafting legal documents.  Students will also participate in in-class exercises involving topics such as interviewing, counseling, and fact-investigation.

 

In addition to myriad placements with private law firms, examples of sites where students have recently interned include the following:

Corporate

  • American Transit Insurance Company
  • BOC International (USA) Holdings, Inc.
  • Christie’s
  • Edrington Americas
  • Estee Lauder
  • Luxottica
  • Michael Kors
  • Roc Nation
  • Shake Shack
  • Sony
  • Warner Music Group

Government

  • Administration for Children’s Services
  • District Attorney’s Offices (Brooklyn, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Westchester)
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • National Labor Relations Board
  • New York City Department of Investigation
  • New York City Law Department
  • New York Police Department
  • New York State Attorney General’s Office
  • United Nations Development Programme
  • United States Department of Justice
  • United States Securities Exchange Commission

Judicial

  • United States Attorney’s Office (EDNY and SDNY)
  • New York State Office of Court Administration
  • New York State Supreme Court (Bronx, Nassau, New York, Queens, Suffolk)
  • New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division (Second Department)
  • Queens County Surrogate’s Court
  • United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York
  • United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • United States Court of International Trade
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • United States District Court, Southern District of New York
  • United States Postal Service, Law Department

Public Interest

  • Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A
  • Catholic Migration Services
  • Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
  • Girl Scouts of the USA
  • Jazz at Lincoln Center
  • Latino Justice PRLDEF
  • Legal Aid Society
  • Queens Legal Services
  • Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor