The Basics

The Externship course allows law students (2Ls or 3Ls) to gain practical work experience at a nonprofit, government agency or in-house counsel offices while completing a curriculum that builds key professional development skills. The course provides law students an opportunity to understand the relationship between legal doctrine and practical legal skills.

Contact Us

Director:
Amanda Rivas
arivas@stmarytx.edu
210-431-5712

Faculty Supervisor:
Karen Kelley
kkelley2@stmarytx.edu
210-431-5708

Amanda Rivas
Karen Kelley

Student Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for the Externship course, a student must:

  • Complete all 1L courses.
  • Be in good standing at the law school. (If cumulative GPA is below 2.3, the student must meet with Faculty Supervisor Karen Kelley to discuss enrollment.)
  • Not exceed the semester enrollment credit limit or the pass/fail credit limit.

General Course Requirements

Students earn three experiential learning credits (pass/fail) in the course by:

  • Completing a minimum of 150 hours of substantial legal work over at least 10 weeks while supervised by a licensed attorney, and
  • Completing approximately 15-20 hours of course work.  

Curriculum

During the Externship semester, in addition to the work at their sites, students will complete approximately 15-20 hours of curriculum.

This includes:

  • Orientation
  • Goals Conference to finalize Learning Plan
  • Reflective Assignments
  • Timesheets
  • Class Meetings (2)
  • Small Group Meetings (2)
  • Midterm and Final Evaluation Feedback Meetings
  • Pre- & Post-Semester Assessments
  • Evaluation of the Course, Placement, and Supervision
Practice Credit Program Associate Director Amanda Rivas speaks with students.

Finding a Placement

  • Pre-approved Externship sites are advertised on CORE every semester. Contact the Externship Office to explore pre-approved sites for future semesters.
  • Students can obtain a position at a nonprofit, government or in-house counsel office that is not pre-approved, but the supervisor and site must complete the Vetting and Approval Process.

New sites and supervisors must complete a Vetting and Approval Process before registration forms can be accepted.

A site’s representative and/or supervising attorney must meet with the Director or Faculty Supervisor to ensure they can provide:

  • Substantial legal work to the student for the minimum time required for the course (150 hours minimum over a minimum of 10 weeks).  
  • Consistent feedback throughout the semester.
  • Supervision from a licensed attorney with at least three years of experience.
  • An educational work environment for the student to work in proximity to the supervising attorney.

All Supervising Attorneys must have the capacity to participate in the curriculum. They will be expected to:

  • Sign a Commitment form at the beginning of the semester.
  • Collaborate with the student in a Goals Conference to finalize the student’s Learning Plan.
  • Complete two evaluations & feedback meetings with students.
  • Connect with the Faculty at least once during the semester.
  • Approve final timesheet by signing Timesheet Verification Form 
  • Approval and assistance with proper redactions of two assignment products that can be turned in as Exemplars of student work.
Vetting and Approval Process

Nonprofit and Government sites:

  • Bexar County District Attorney’s Office
  • Department of Justice – U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • CentroMed
  • City of San Antonio
  • City of Austin
  • Judge Advocate General’s Office
  • Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
  • Office of the Attorney General of Texas
  • San Antonio Board of Realtors
  • RAICES Inc. (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, Inc.)
  • Texas Advocacy Project
  • Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
  • Texas State University Attorney for Student’s Office
  • Trinity University Title IX Office
  • United States Equal Employment Opportunity
  • University Health Systems
  • University of Texas San Antonio: Equal Opportunity Services and Title IX Office

In-house Counsel sites:

  • Valero
  • USAA
  • Spurs Sports and Entertainment
Examples of Externship Work Sites

Attorneys are eligible to supervise Externs if:

  • They are licensed at least three years.
  • They can provide substantial legal work.  
  • They are comfortable providing regular feedback.
  • They are able to conduct their own student selection process.  
  • They have the capacity to participate in the Externship curriculum. They will be expected to:
  • Sign a Commitment form at the beginning of the semester.
  • Collaborate with the student in a Goals Conference to finalize the student’s Learning Plan.
  • Complete two evaluations & feedback meetings with students.
  • Connect with the Faculty at least once during the semester.
  • Approve final timesheet by signing Timesheet Verification Form 
  • Identify two Exemplar assignments completed by student during the semester and assist to ensure proper redactions are completed.  
Supervising Attorney Eligibility Requirements

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. If you do not have an internship offer, reach out to our office or the Office of Career Strategy to help you start on the job search.

Do I have to find my Externship site myself?

Yes, the placement will need to be approved before enrollment in the course. You should contact Director Amanda Rivas (arivas@stmarytx.edu) once you have a job offer and are considering the Externship course.

Do I need to have my Externship site approved?
Where have Externships been in the past?

No, in-house counsel offices are also eligible. All sites must be vetted and approved. Contact our office for a list of pre-approved Externship sites.

Does the placement have to be a nonprofit or government agency?

No, the faculty has only approved nonprofit, government, and in-house counsel sites as eligible for the Externship course.

Can I earn credit for my work at a private firm or with a private attorney?

It is for students working in an in-house counsel’s office in a corporation. Students are required to complete the same curriculum as other Externs.

What is an In-house Counsel Externship?

No. Only 2Ls and 3Ls are eligible to enroll in the Externship course. 1L evening students in their last semester do not qualify for this course. Students must have completed their 1L curriculum before they start the Externship semester.

Can I enroll in the Externship course as a 1L?

Registration for Externship is NOT online. This is a manual process that takes time and coordination.

  1. Contact our office to ensure all eligibility requirements are met. See Student Eligibility and Supervising Attorney Eligibility. (link to Student Eligibility and Supervising Attorney Eligibility)
  2. New Externship sites must complete the Vetting and Approval Process before registration. (link to Vetting and Approval Process)
  3. Students should discuss the course requirements and expectations with their supervising attorney.
  4. Once the Externship office completes the Eligibility and the Vetting and Approval Process, the registration forms will be sent to the student. 
  5. Students are responsible for signing and obtaining their supervisor’s signature before returning to our office by the registration deadline. Contact our office for the registration deadline.
  6. The Faculty Supervisor will sign the registration forms and our office will send the forms to the Registrar.
How and when should I register for the Externship course?

Yes, but the Externship office must approve it in advance. Please contact the Director at least one month prior to the semester start date.

Is it possible to complete an Externship outside of San Antonio?

No. It is a pass/fail course. Keep in mind the pass/fail limit outlined in the student handbook.

Can we get a letter grade for our Externship?

Yes, class attendance is required. Class and meeting dates are listed in the syllabus.

Is class attendance required for the Externship? When and where are the Externship classes?

Yes. Please inform the Externship office if you plan to receive financial compensation for the Externship semester.

May I be paid for my work?

Externship requires a minimum of 150 hours at the site, plus 15-20 hours of curriculum (see Example Syllabus tab for curriculum), to earn three experiential learning credits. The course requires a 10-week minimum commitment. Submitting regular timesheets are part of the curriculum requirements.

How many hours must I complete for the course?

Yes, but repeat Externships at the same site are not allowed. Remember the pass/fail limit outlined in the student handbook.

Can I do more than one Externship?

No, the Externship course is not approved by the faculty as a course in which the writing requirement can be met.

Can I complete my writing requirement in the Externship?
Back to top