Externship program overview

If you are new to law school, you may have never heard of an externship.

Externships are:

  • Law-related placements outside of law school, where you generally work for a government agency, nonprofit or court and attend a seminar with law school faculty
  • Similar to internships, but instead of working for pay, you earn law school credit upon satisfactory completion
  • Educational opportunities, where students are closely mentored by onsite supervising attorneys or judges, with time to reflect on and discuss your experience with a faculty supervisor in a related seminar
  • Opportunities to apply your legal training in real-world legal working environments, enhance your readiness for practice, and learn about possible career paths
  • Vital components of law students’ legal training

What you can expect:

  • Each externship is unique
  • The type of work varies depending on the placement
  • All students engage in law-related work, no matter the externship
  • Designed to be a learning experience
  • Both your faculty and site supervisors will guide you in reflecting on your experience, which helps you learn and grow as a lawyer


  • Externships can be full- or part-time
  • You and your site supervisor must settle on the number of hours you will work each week
  • This number determines how many credits you earn. (See academic credit section for more information)
  • As part of your externship, you must attend and participate in a seminar that corresponds to the specific legal focus of your externship.

Earning academic credit

  • Cost: You must pay for all earned credits in externships
  • All students have a total of 15 experiential credits that can be used for externships or clinics
  • Students ranked in top half:
    • Can take 6 additional credits
    • Are eligible to complete part- and full-time externships
  • Students ranked in bottom half:
    • Are limited to 15 credits
    • Are eligible to complete part-time externships
    • May take full-time externships and up to 21 credits by creating a Bar Success Plan with the Academic Resource Center (if approved by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs)
  • Consult this table to determine number of credits earned for given hours of work.

Note:  Most sites will allow you to volunteer more hours than what you earn credit for. But please be aware that working more hours than what the credits require does not mean you will automatically earn more credits. Be aware also that at some sites, particularly in summer, students are required to work full-time, regardless of the number of credits earned.


  • Seattle University does not allow compensation for externship work.
  • You may be reimbursed for incidental expenses by your externship site if available.