Frequently Asked Questions

After reviewing the frequently asked questions, feel free to set up an advising appointment with the Director of the Field Placement Program. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Students who wish to do a field placement must schedule either an in-person or phone meeting with the Field Placement Program Director in advance of applying for an externship, and preferably before choosing the place they wish to extern. The online application can be found here and is due by the posted deadline.

Make an appointment here.

Note, however, that many placements, particularly those for which a security clearance is required — such as a U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Securities and Exchange Commission– have deadlines well in advance of our internal deadline. Therefore, if you wish to participate in an externship with such placements, you are encouraged to apply well in advance of your proposed externship. 

Fall 2017: August 21

Spring 2018 deadline: January 8

Students seeking full-time placements can choose to work in the San Francisco Bay Area, out of state, or anywhere in the world. Part-time placements are limited to the San Francisco Bay Area.

We have listed previous placements which you can browse by the following these links: Away, Civil, Criminal, Environmental and Judicial.

Please make an advising appointment with the Field Placement Director, Sue Schechter. You are also encouraged to browse past student evaluations in our offices, 471 Boalt Hall.

Yes, new host organizations will be considered. Students must work with a non-profit or government agency, doing legal work (broadly defined) under the supervision of an attorney in order to received academic credit. Please make an appointment with the program director here to initiate this process.

Students who are considering an externship at any point in their law school careers are encouraged to plan their courses carefully in advance. It is common for students to start with an in-house or community clinic prior to their participation in an externship. Full-time placements are limited to students who have completed their third term of law school in good academic standing and students in good academic standing are eligible for part-time placements starting their 2L fall term, but they are limited to a maximum of 5 units.

The number of credits students may receive for an externship varies depending upon the number of hours worked using the following formula:

 

# units x 4 hours per unit x 14 weeks per semester = # hours required. e.g. 4 units x 4 hours per unit x 14 weeks per semester = 224 hours required (i.e. about 16 hours per week)

 

4 units   = 16 hours of work per week

5 units   = 20 hours of work per week

6 units   = 24 hours of work per week

7 units   = 28 hours of work per week

8 units   = 32 hours of work per week

9 units   = 36 hours of work per week

10 units = 40 hours of work per week

11 units = 44 hours of work per week

12 units = 48 hours of work per week

 

Students can do a placement for a minimum of 4-units and a maximum of 12 units. Students are required to work a minimum of 16 hours/week over the 14 week semester (4-units) unless they are continuing a placement. Students may request to work full-time either locally or away for 40 hours/week over the semester (10 units). Students enrolling in away field placements must do so for at least ten units.  Students requesting full-time placements must seek approval from someone in the Student Students Office and the Field Placement Director.

Students are required to do 70 classroom units (and clinics are included in those units).  Anything above 70 may be used towards non-classroom units.  Students need 85 units to graduate, with 70 classroom that leaves 15 units for non-classroom units.   Please note there are several program’s units (295 Series, 299, etc.) that come out of the non-classroom category.  Students are strongly advised to contact the Law Registrar’s Office to ensure they are clear on the non-classroom unit category.

All students (including Away) are required to submit the following to receive academic credit:

  • 14 detailed timesheets, submitted weekly
  • Reflective memos
  • Mid-term self evaluation, to be reviewed with your supervising attorney
  • Students are required to schedule an interim meeting with the Field Placement Director
  • Student final evaluation of the placement (3 part)

 

In addition, student are expected to have regular meetings with their supervising attorney at their placement. Supervising attorneys are required to submit a formal written evaluation for each student at the end of the term and review that evaluation with the student.

 

All placements are graded on a Credit/No Credit basis.

Students doing local field placements and judicial externships are required to take an accompanying class component as follows:

Judicial externs must register for the 1-unit Judicial Externship Seminar which includes a day-long orientation and once a month evening meetings with the lecturers.

Criminal Field Placement students must choose between the 2-unit Criminal Field Placement Ethics Seminar, which covers the Professional Responsibility requirement, or the 1-unit Field Placement Workshop, which does not cover the Professional Responsibility requirement. 

Civil and Environmental students must choose between the 2-unit Civil Field Placement Ethics Seminar, which covers the Professional Responsiblity requirement, or the 1-unit Field Placement Workshop, which does not cover the Professional Responsibility requirement. 

Not at this time, although students may use some of their fieldwork hours towards the reflective component.

No, academic credit will not be granted to students who do not attend the Judicial Orientation.

The 2-unit Civil Field Placement Ethics Seminar and 2-unit Criminal Field Placement Ethics seminar both meet the law school’s Professional Responsibility requirement whereas the 1-unit Field Placement Workshop does not meet the requirement.  Students doing a Judicial Externship must take the 1-unit Judicial Externship Seminar companion course.

The two seminar classes are graded whereas the Field Placement Workshop and the Judicial Externship Seminar are graded on a Credit/No Credit basis.

Yes, all the field placement and judicial externship courses – the placement part and the classroom component do meet the school’s Professional Skills requirement.

In some cases, yes. Students are required to get approval from the program director before they can enroll in the placement and the accompanying class component.

We currently do not have funds in the Field Placement budget to cover the cost of transportation for placements. If you are doing an international placement please contact ebest@law.berkeley.edu to see if your placement might qualify for a travel reimbursement. Some host organizations do cover the cost of transportation for student externs. Students are asked to report that reimbursement on the final evaluation.

All field placements must be approved in advance and students must follow the procedures set out by the Field Placement office.

Students may enroll in only one experiential learning opportunity/program (clinic, field placement, or practicum) each semester. If a student wants to enroll in more than one of these programs in a semester, the student must have permission of both instructors.