Judicial Externship Program and Seminar

III-B-10 Judicial Externship Program and Seminar

A.        Introduction

The purpose of the judicial externship program is to offer students an opportunity to learn about the judicial process, the role of judges and judicial clerks under the direct supervision of a state or federal judge or justice. Judicial externs will have an opportunity to study the process by which judicial decisions are made as well as gain insight into the various legislative and policy considerations that influence judicial decisions. Judicial externs will assist the judge or justice by providing legal research, analysis and individual viewpoints regarding the issues involved in the cases before the court.

The program will be demanding in terms of the time commitment both in the field and classroom components, level of quality of the expected work product and the degree of professionalism required. Judges will expect students to have excellent legal research and analytical skills. Judges will also expect students to be able to express their opinions about the issues under consideration. Students must be certain they are prepared to commit to the work, the challenges, and the hours by organizing their lives in such a manner as to avoid the need to drop the externship course.

Dropping the externship will obviously upset the judge’s calendar. Judges in some cases will have planned to count on the extern’s assistance in meeting the workflow demands. Therefore, special rules for dropping the course will apply to the judicial externship program. The drop procedures will be different than those described in Rule III (B) (2) of the law school policies.

B.        Prerequisites

The completion of three semesters of law school

Good Academic Standing           

Successful completion of Evidence, Lawyering Skills I & II, Professional Responsibility and Lawyering Skills III or the Upper Level Writing Requirement

Enrollment inUSTSchoolof Law during the semester preceding the one in which the student expects to enroll in the judicial externship program

Other prerequisites as required by the judge or justice (Additional prerequisites might include a writing sample(s), employment experience and/or interview with the judge or justice).

C.        Credits and Grading

Students will receive three (3) law school credits for their work in the judicial extern program. The total time commitment will be 150 hours between the fieldwork and theclassroom hours. The course will be graded pass/fail. The grade will be based on attendance, a final paper/presentation, and a final evaluation from the supervising judge or justice. The student who does not complete both the classroom and fieldwork portions of the program will receive a failing credit.

D.        Judicial Externship Seminar

The seminar offers students an opportunity to understand the workings of the judicial system as well as the challenge of maintaining the judiciary as a trusted and respected institution of government. As importantly, the seminar affords students another opportunity to work on formation. Formation, in this context means that students will be able to consider the compatibility of their ethics, values, faith, or passion for social justice as it relates to their image of the kind of lawyer or judge they hope to become.

The judicial externship will enhance student learning and growth to the extent that the student engages in self-reflection. The student paper and presentation is designed to provide the student with an opportunity to engage in that reflection and share the results with the rest of the class.

E.        General Outline of Classroom Component

Orientation & Introduction

The Role of Externs & Clerks

The Judicial Selection Process

The Process of Managing the Court’s Docket

Ethical Issues & Extern Code of Conduct

Ethical Issues for Judges & Judicial Code

The Racial Bias Task Force & Findings

Student Presentations

Wrap Up/Final Interview w/Program Director

In preparation for the presentations and as a means to evaluate the program each student will maintain a daily log of activities with regard to the fieldwork. The log should describe in sufficient detail each assignment given the student by the judge or justice. The log should also describe how much time the student spent on each of the assignments. In addition, the log should describe the student’s involvement in conferences with the judge or justices as well as the student’s observations of hearings, trials, conferences involving the judge and attorneys, negotiations, settlements etc. Here again, the student should include the amount of time spent observing these various activities.

The student must provide the judicial extern instructor with copies of the activity logs every two weeks. Again, the logs must provide a clear picture of the activities the student has been working on and the amount of time spent. The judge or justice supervising the student must sign each of the activity log reports submitted by the student to the instructor.

F.         Registration and Drop Procedures

Enrollment is limited to twelve (12) students per semester. Students may not register for this course. The student must complete an application and be selected from the pool of applicants in order to be registered for the program.

Selection is a two-step process. The first step involves checking each application to determine whether the student meets all prerequisites of the externship course. The second step requires the participating judge to actually select a student from the approved pool of applicants. Students will not be registered for the externship course unless they satisfy the prerequisites and are selected by a judge. Students may bypass the second step by talking to the program director in advance of identifying and securing their own judicial externship placement and submitting it to the program director for approval.

If a student drops the course for reasons other than a personal, medical, or family crisis after the third week of the semester the student will receive a grade of “F” for the course and the grade will be considered when computing the student’s grade point average.

G.        Compensation

Students shall not receive compensation for the work performed as a part of the judicial externship program. This rule does not preclude reimbursement of incidental out-of-pocket expenses related to the field placement.

 Adopted by the Law Faculty, June 25, 2003 and February 23, 2004

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