The University of St. Thomas School of Law is committed to providing each student with relevant, practice-ready legal experience. The activities of each externship and the requests of field supervisors are designed to accelerate positive professional development and a substantive understanding of the law. In addition to the required Mentor Externship Program, St. Thomas School of Law offers the opportunity to explore five additional areas: the judiciary, the public sector, the intersection of law and business, compliance, and misdemeanor. Once a student has completed one of the five externships, he or she has the opportunity to participate in advanced externship.
The purpose of the judicial externship is to offer students an opportunity to learn about the judicial process, the role of judges and judicial clerks, and the impact lawyers have on the administration of justice. Judicial externs work under the direct supervision of a state or federal judge and have the opportunity to study the judicial decision-making process, and evaluate the various legislative and policy considerations that influence judicial decisions. Judicial externs also provide legal research and analysis for various issues and cases pending before the court.
Fredrikson & Byron Public Interest Externship
The purpose of the Fredrikson & Byron public interest externship is to offer students an opportunity to learn about public interest practice while engaging in significant hands-on legal work in a field placement at a public interest organization, or state or federal government agency. You may be asked to complete legal research, interview and meet with clients, and provide written materials for field supervisors. You also will be asked to examine complex issues of ethics, access to justice, and broader public interest policies. This externship is named for Fredrikson & Byron, one of the top law firms in the Twin Cities, which also has a strong commitment to pro bono work and professionalism.
The purpose of the business externship is to provide students with a pragmatic real-world experience obtained in a corporate work environment and to engage in the basic activities of client service at the intersection of law and business. Both observation and work projects focus on the experiences of a first-year attorney in a corporate environment.
The purpose of the compliance externship is to provide students interested in the compliance field an opportunity to see “compliance in action.” You will evaluate and complete compliance-related projects under the supervision of a lawyer in the compliance field. The course-work portion of the externship provides you with an understanding of the genesis of compliance programming and an overview of the seven elements of an effective compliance program. The class uses the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as a running example throughout the semester.
The purpose of the misdemeanor externship is to provide students with a hands-on feel for the criminal justice system, and for the challenges faced by clients, lawyers, judges, and other participants in that system. Students will represent individual clients extensively in the courtroom under the supervision of a practicing public defender, and will gain experience in interviewing clients, negotiating cases, and representing clients in the courtroom.