Externship Programs

General Externship

Carmia N. Caesar, Director of Experiential Learning​

The objective of the Externship Program is to help students learn through experience. Students enrolled in the Externship Program spend one academic term at a field placement at a public (i.e. nonprofit or government) institution or agency in the Washington, D.C. area.

During the fall and spring semester, students are required to spend at least fifteen (15) hours per week for a minimum of eleven (11) weeks at their field placements, and will earn four (4) pass/fail credits. During the summer term, students must spend at least thirty-five (35) hours per week for a minimum of eight (8) weeks at their placements, and will earn six (6) pass/fail credits. Note that because students may enroll in no more than 8 credits during the summer term, the Records Office will reduce the award of externship credit to offset credits from other classes. The required Externship Seminar meets weekly. No enrollment will be permitted, or credit given, for a paid externship. Evaluation will be based on the student’s performance at the placement site (by the law school supervisor and the field supervisor), participation in classroom sessions, student journals and a final paper or presentation.

A student enrolled in the Externship Program shall not be permitted to enroll in a “live-client” clinical course offering during the same semester in which the student is enrolled in the Externship Program. Students are encouraged to identify their placements before applying for the externship program. Students are encouraged to discuss placement options with the Director of Experiential Learning. Useful sites for researching placement opportunities include Symplicity.com, idealist.org, and psjd.org.

To be eligible for the General Externship, students must demonstrate:

  1. Successful completion of two (2) semesters of law school study;
  2. Successful completion of a course in Legal Reasoning, Research & Writing;
  3. Selection of a placement which has been approved by the Director of Experiential Learning; and
  4. That they and their Attorney Field Supervisor have reviewed and signed the Externship contract which sets forth the responsibilities of the respective parties.

Advanced Externship 

Carmia N. Caesar, Director of Experiential Learning

The Advanced General Externship Program is an option for students who have already successfully completed the General Externship Program, and are interested in pursuing a second externship placement. Generally, students are discouraged from spending more than one term at the same placement. Students who wish to return to the same placement must submit a memo to the Director of Experiential Learning detailing why 1) his or her learning objectives cannot be achieved in a doctrinal or other experiential offering; and 2) how their learning agenda differs from their first term at the placement.

Students are required to spend at least fifteen (15) hours per week for a minimum of eleven (11) weeks at their field placements, and will earn two (2) pass/fail credits. During the summer term, students must spend at least thirty-five (35) hours per week for a minimum of eight (8) weeks at their placements, and will earn four (4) pass/fail credits. There is no weekly seminar. Instead, students who are approved for the Advanced Externship will have regular individual meetings with their externship professor to ensure quality of work at placement sites. Students will have to submit weekly journal entries, weekly time sheets to their professor and a final paper on an approved topic. A grade of “pass or fail” will be awarded.


Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Externships - WBG/IMF

WBG/IMF Alternative Dispute Resolution Program
Homer C. La Rue, Professor of Law and Supervising Attorney

(Mail to: HLarue@law.howard.edu)

Who can apply? Limited to rising 3Ls
Prerequisite Course: ADR Survey Course
Is the program year-long or semester-long? Year-long
How many credits? 8, upon completion of full year

About the Howard Law WBG/IMF ADR Program:

The Howard Law WBG/IMF ADR Program (“Program”) is a competitive eight (8) credit, year-long externship course. The Program is a collaboration between the Law School and various units of the internal justice system of the World Bank Group (the “WBG”) and the International Monetary Fund (the “Fund”).

The Program is a unique collaboration between the Law School ADR Clinic and the General Externship Program, to provide Howard Law students with a capstone ADR experience. Through this program, students are afforded an experiential opportunity to learn how alternative dispute resolution mechanisms function in an international organization. Activities include engagement in mediation services, internal investigations, neutral administrative dispute resolution, and leadership building.

Aligned with Howard Law’s mission of cultivating leaders who can advocate and defend the rights of all, the Program enables students to develop their highest capabilities and skills as lawyers in the international and alternative dispute resolution sectors.

What Are the WBG and the Fund?

The World Bank Group is the largest and most famous international development institution that extends financial and technical assistance to developing nations. Akin to Howard Law’s mission of engaging, as an institution, in pursuit of solutions to international problems, the WBG is committed to reducing poverty and building shared prosperity through reducing the share of the global population that lives in extreme poverty to 3 percent by 2030, and by increasing the incomes of the poorest 40 percent of people in every country. The WBG employs more than 9,000 individuals in over 100 offices worldwide; with a significant number of staff (approximately two-thirds) working in the WBG’s headquarters in Washington, DC.

The International Monetary Fund is an organization that was conceived at a United Nations conference to avoid a repetition of actions that contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s. The IMF has near-global membership with a composition of 189 countries. The IMF also has its headquarters in Washington, DC. Like Howard Law’s mission of engaging in solutions to economic problems, the IMF’s primary purpose is to ensure stability of the international monetary system through fostering global monetary cooperation and working to reduce global poverty.

The internal conflict resolution systems of the WBG and the Fund provide both informal and formal means of addressing staff complaints and employee-related matters.

Acceptance into the Program:

The Program is open to a maximum of ten (10) students each year. A prerequisite for acceptance in the Program is the ADR Survey Course; however, students who have not completed the ADR Survey Course by Spring 2018 may apply for the Program.

Preference for acceptance will be given to students who have taken the ADR Survey course.  In addition, preference will be given to students who have a demonstrated interest in employment law and international relations, although, courses in employment law and international relations are not prerequisites for the Program.

Student-Work in the Program:

Acceptance into the Howard Law WBG/IMF ADR Program will be based on an application and an interview. Externs will work in one of the following units of the IJS: (1) Mediation Services; (2) Integrity Vice Presidency; (3) The Ethics and Business Conduct Vice Presidency; (4) The Staff Association; (5) The World Bank Administrative Tribunal; (6) Peer Review Services; (7) The Legal Institutional Administration; and (8) IMF-Office of Internal Investigations & Ethics Office. Students serve in their assigned unit(s) for the duration of the externship and must work between 13-16 hours per week at the site of the World Bank in Washington or the International Monetary Fund, DC. Students must be available to do so in both the Fall 2018 and the Spring 2019 semesters.

Classroom Component and Credit Hours:

There is a seminar classroom component which meets once per week for 75 minutes. Students will receive a total of eight (8) credit hours for the course, four (4) credits per semester—with the understanding that a student must complete both semesters of the course to receive any credit for the Program overall.


ADR Consortium

John Woods, Adjunct Professor and Supervising Attorney

Who can apply? Rising 2Ls and 3Ls
Required Corequisite Course: ADR Survey Course
Is the program year-long or semester-long? Year-long
How many credits? 8 upon completion of full year

What is ADR?: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is the use of processes such as negotiation, mediation, or arbitration to resolve disputes instead of litigation.

Program Partners:

  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Areas of Law: Workplace Law, Civil Rights Law, Human Rights Law, Administrative Law, Business Law, and International Trade.

Program Overview:
The mission of ADRC is to provide program participants with experiential education in the administration and application of ADR processes (i.e., negotiation, mediation, and arbitration) in government and industry.

ADRC consists of both a classroom and experiential component.

  • Classroom Component: ADRC includes a weekly seminar where students study the choices available to lawyers concerning the resolution of disputes. Through the use of simulated exercises, the classroom component will give students an opportunity to learn how to represent clients in dispute resolution processes other than litigation. Students will also learn the skills necessary to function as an effective third-party in various disputes. ADR processes that will be examined during this course include, but are not limited to, negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. 
  • Experiential Component: Program participants will gain practical experience in targeted ADR processes at partner organizations through work assignments and observations. Program participants will be placed and required to work on-site twelve (12) hours per week in both the Fall and the Spring semesters at one of the following partner organizations:
    • U.S. EEOC (Workplace Mediation);
    • U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Mediation); or
    • U.S. Department of Commerce-ITA (International Trade Negotiation).

The objective of ADRC, in part, is to provide participating students with: (1) ADR skills development; (2) training to become problem solvers; (3) in-depth analysis of dispute resolution systems and processes; and (4) hands-on practical experience that bridges theory and practice.


IRS Externship

Alice Gresham Bullock, Dean Emerita, Professor of Law, and IRS Externship Founder
Alice Thomas, Associate Professor of Law and IRS Externship Coordinator

The IRS Externship was founded by renowned tax expert and former Dean of the Law School, Professor Emeritus Alice Gresham Bullock. In the course, students are placed in the Office of Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service here in Washington, DC. In the seminar, the professor exposes students to the practices, policies and procedures of the IRS, as well as the substantive tax laws that govern the work of the Service. Externs secure a field placement with the IRS’ Chief Counsel’s Office and are assigned to work on a variety of projects. Howard Law externs focus on excellence in governmental and public interest lawyering, social justice issues and professional responsibility. These key components are echoed in the work done at the field placement, as well as during the weekly one-hour required classroom seminars taught by the Professor.

The IRS Externship is a four (4)-credit course graded on a Pass/Fail basis. Students are required to work 15-20 hours per week for at least 12 weeks (or other requirements set by the Professor). Students may not be paid for any portion of the field placement for which they are receiving credit. Evaluation will be based on the student’s performance at the placement site (by the law school supervisor and the field supervisor), participation in classroom seminars, periodic reviews of the student’s journal, written work and/or other assignments by the supervising professor. Students may have additional application requirements, such as submitting application materials directly to the IRS, and must follow up with the Professor regarding all application requirements.


SEC Externship

Cheryl C. Nichols, Associate Professor and SEC Externship Coordinator
Bruce Sanders, Adjunct Professor of Law

Who can apply? Rising 2Ls and 3Ls
Prerequisite Course(s): None; however, the student must apply for and be accepted into the SEC’s Student Honors Program.
Is the program year-long or semester-long? Semester-long
How many credits? 4, on a pass-fail basis

Application Process

Students submit applications directly to the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") on the USA Jobs website for a position in the  SEC's Student Honors Program. Students may be required to interview with SEC staff lawyers, and must keep the professor informed of each step of the application process. 

If the student accepts an offer from the SEC, then the professor automatically enrolls the student in the SEC Externhip Class where the student will earn 4 credit hours upon successful completion of the SEC program and class.

About the Program

The SEC Externship provides an exceptional opportunity for students to work as interns in the Washington, DC Headquarters of the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). Students will also attend weekly classes taught by Professor Cheryl C. Nichols or Adjunct Professor Bruce Sanders, both experts in securities law, securities regulation and related areas.

Students accepted into the program are placed in the SEC’s Student Honors Program where students are assigned to work in one of the Divisions and Offices of the SEC.

Students gain valuable insights into the inner workings of the SEC, the various securities laws and regulations administered by the SEC, as well as the financial markets. 

Students have the opportunity to work on investigations of securities industry participants, securities issuer practices, administrative and civil enforcement actions, drafting of proposed rules, analyzing international securities regulations, and corporation finance, investment company issues, and broker-dealer regulatory matters. Students also review periodic reports of publicly traded companies, as well as securities registration statements and prospectuses of companies that sell securities to public investors.

Students work closely under the supervision and guidance of SEC staff lawyers, who also provide mentoring for students.Students attend educational seminars at the SEC led by senior Commission staff and prominent members of the securities bar and industry.

Students are required to work about 15 hours per week at the SEC for 13 weeks. Students may not be paid for any portion of their internship.

Students are are required to attend and participate in weekly 75 minute seminars taught by the professor during the semester. The weekly seminars provide an overview of the mission and operations of the SEC, the workings of the financial markets, the Federal Securities Laws and Regulations, ethics in securities law practice, development of lawyering skills, and career opportunities for securities lawyers.

Students are evaluated based on their performance at SEC, active participation in classroom seminars, quality of required weekly journals and final paper, and their performance on other assignments by the professor.


Criminal Defense Externship

Josephine Ross, Professor and Supervising Attorney

Is this program year-long or semester-long? Fall Semesters only, starting in the Fall of 2018
Prerequisite Course(s): None. Recommended: Students should try to take this class at the same time as Criminal Procedure (either Crim Pro 1 or II) and Evidence if they have not taken these classes before. (These courses are also prerequisites for the third-year Criminal Defense clinic.)
How many credits? 4

The Criminal Defense Externship will focus on managing learning goals outside of the classroom, developing practical competencies associated with direct representation. It is ideal both for any student with an interest in criminal defense either as a career, or because the treatment of indigent people who have been charged with crime is one of the most pressing civil rights issues of our time. As with any externship seminar, a central component of this class is, reflection that is both specific to the substance of defense practice as well as general reflection on issue such as access to justice; and bias in the legal profession.

The goal of this seminar is for students to develop the tools necessary to contemporaneously participate in and learn from field placement experience. An additional goal is for students to become adept at evaluating, and assessing the value of practical experiences so that they are able to match their learning goals with future practice environments.

This externship is one semester in length and students must commit to working fifteen (15) hours per week for thirteen (13) weeks, and must attend a two-hour weekly seminar. Students will be expected to obtain their own placements prior to registration. Both the professor and the Office of Career Services are available to help you with your search.

The D.C. metro area offers a wealth of public defender offices, including the D.C. Public Defender Service (PDS) and the D.C. Federal Public Defender office. Students may also find placements in state and federal defenders in Maryland and Virginia. PDS alone offers a variety of placement opportunities including re-entry, juvenile, appeals, parole, and of course, placement with trial attorneys.


Environmental Justice Clinical Externship

Who can apply? Rising 2Ls and 3Ls
Prerequisite Course(s): None
Recommended Courses: Environmental or Energy Law Course; Administrative Law
Is this program year-long or semester-long? Semester-long 
How many credits? 4

Howard Law School's Clinical Law Center has entered into a unique collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a nationally recognized environmental advocacy and litigation firm with a variety of initiatives in many areas of environmental and public health, to establish an environmental law clinical program at the law school. In this clinical offering, Howard law professors in conjunction with NRDC attorneys, public interest and environmental professionals, as well as government officials, will expose students to different aspects and perspectives in environmental law. Students will use experiential learning techniques to reflect upon the work of the environmental lawyer, public interest lawyers in general and litigation in non-profit agencies. Students will work on actual cases at the NRDC, will give topical presentations to the class during seminar sessions, and will prepare for and present a moot court argument.

The EJCE will accept up to a maximum of eight (8) students per semester in which it is offered. Students will receive four (4) credits for successful completion of the course, which will be graded on a pass/fail basis. While there are no prerequisites for the course, recommended companion courses are Administrative Law, Introduction to Environmental Law, Sustainable Development and Environmental Justice. Students must submit applications to the CLC during the regularly scheduled application period and will be interviewed by the Externship Coordinator or attorneys from NRDC. While third year students are preferred, second year students with a particular interest in the field will be considered.

Students in the Environmental Justice Clinic will meet for a two-hour classroom session each week. These sessions will be devoted to the discussion of environmental law and policy and many will include a substantive presentation by an NRDC attorney or a distinguished visiting speaker. Students will be engaged in discussions on current issues in environmental law, environmental policy, and/or environmental lawyering skills, advocacy, legislative strategy, or administrative environmental regulation. One session per semester or extended class periods will be dedicated to a moot court exercise relating to a pending environmental case or timely issue. Each student will be expected to give a brief presentation to the class during the second half of the semester on an important environmental law or justice issue.

The Environmental Justice Clinic emphasizes environmental policy and litigation with a public interest perspective. Participants will work under the supervision of attorneys at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C. Approximately 10 to 15 hours of work per week is required. Students will be exposed to a variety of environmental issues including: protection of Washington, DC’s drinking water, Anacostia River, energy efficiency, global warming, public health, clean air, and water pollution.