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. 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:
- Successful completion of two (2) semesters of law school study;
- Successful completion of a course in Legal Reasoning, Research & Writing;
- Selection of a placement which has been approved by the Director of Experiential Learning; and
- 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 (Only Offered in the Spring)
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.
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.
Cheryl C. Nichols, Associate Professor and SEC Externship Coordinator Bruce Sanders, Adjunct Professor of Law
The SEC Externship provides an exceptional opportunity to learn about aspects of securities law and practice otherwise unavailable at HUSL. The SEC Externship is regularly taught by Professor Cheryl Nichols, or Adjunct Professor Bruce Sanders, who are both experts in securities regulation and related areas.
Students who are accepted into the program are placed in the SEC’s Student Honors Program which provides exposure to the workings of the Commission and to the regulation of securities and securities markets. Externs are assigned to one of the Commission’s Divisions or Offices at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. Externs will have the opportunity to work on projects such as investigations of industry and issuer practices, administrative and civil enforcement actions, drafting of proposed statutes and rules, and analyzing international securities regulations and rules. In addition to the field work component, HUSL externs are required to attend educational seminars taught by senior Commission staff and prominent members of the private securities bar on a weekly basis.
HUSL Externs are also exposed to excellence in governmental and public interest lawyering, which facilitates development of insights into the skills required for lawyering unobtainable in a conventional classroom. Students are required to attend and participate in a weekly 75-minute seminar taught by the professor.
The seminar focuses on a variety of issues and topics including, but not limited to, an overview of the mission and operations of the SEC, ethics in securities law practice, development of lawyering skills, problems arising at the placement site, discussion of other issues relating to placements and career opportunities for securities lawyers.
The SEC Externship is a four (4)-credit course graded on a Pass/Fail basis. Externs are required to work 15-20 hours per week for at least 13 weeks. 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 sessions, periodic reviews of the student’s journal, and other assignments by the professor. Students may have additional application requirements, such as submitting application materials directly to the SEC, and must follow up with the professor regarding all application requirements.
Environmental Justice Clinical Externship
Benjamin Longstreth, Environmental Justice Clinical Externship Coordinator
The Howard Energy and Environmental Law Externship (HEELEX) is a collaborative endeavor between Howard University School of Law (HUSL) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The course includes two primary elements: (1) a weekly classroom session taught by senior NRDC attorneys, and (2) a practical, hands-on externship opportunity in one of several host organizations. Each class session focuses on a discrete and timely issue of energy or environmental law or policy, and may feature a guest speaker who is a prominent practitioner in his or her field. Speakers lead discussions on current issues in energy and environmental law and policy, lawyering skills, advocacy, legislative strategy, or administrative regulation. The subjects of conversation are often pulled right from the newspaper headlines, and involve the lawyers actually involved in the cases.
For the externship component of the course, each student is placed with an individual attorney or attorney group within a participating host organization with whom she or he will work for the entire semester (between 12 and 15 hours per week). The clinical work emphasizes environmental policy and litigation from the public interest point of view; as a result, most of our host organizations are either government agencies or nonprofit organizations. Fieldwork may include a broad range of substantive energy or environmental legal and policy issues, and is guided by the existing docket and responsibilities of the host attorneys. The adjunct professors provide guidance and oversight to help ensure that each student can make the most of the clinical externship experience.
Past externs have worked at NRDC, the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. EPA, the EPA Environmental Appeals Board, Earthjustice, the DC Department of Environment, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Bonneville Power Administration, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, the U.S. Department of Interior, Sierra Club, the D.C. Public Services Commission, Environmental Defense Fund, the Energy Justice Network, WEACT For Environmental Justice, and U.S. Climate Plan, among others.