Southern Illinois University School of Law

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

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Judicial Externship

Student Information

Judicial Externship- Law 672
Course Instructor: Professor Alice Noble-Allgire

The Judicial Externship Clinic provides a unique opportunity for law students to learn about the legal system by working for a sitting judge. While experiences vary from chambers to chambers, most placements allow externs to hone their research and writing skills while learning how judges make decisions and observing a wide range of courtroom proceedings.

Externship Locations. The SIU School of Law has more than 70 approved judicial extern sites in both the federal and state court systems. See list here. Students are not limited to those placements, however, and may seek approval for sites that are not currently on the list. As a result, extern opportunities are available virtually anywhere there is a courthouse or judicial chambers, including administrative law judges or specialized courts. Many students find that an externship opens up networking opportunities in the location where they plan to practice after graduation.

Benefits of a Judicial Externship. Externs working in appellate courts typically receive intensive exposure to appellate procedure, research and writing. Externs working in trial courts are immersed in the full range of trial procedures and motion practice. Although some courts have a specialized focus, such as family law courts, others expose externs to a potpourri of legal issues on both the criminal and civil dockets. In addition to honing research and writing skills, students learn how courts operate, become familiar with the duties of various court personnel, and observe how judges handle ethical and well as substantive and procedural issues. Click here for a story about the experiences students have had at their externship sites in past years. Click here for some of the practical lessons they have learned from their experiences.

Course Requirements. The externship course is open to any student who has completed the first year of legal studies and has a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.8 (or with approval of the externship faculty supervisor if the student’s grade point average is under 2.8). For more information on enrollment requirements, see the School of Law Rules relating to Clinics.

The externship course is graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory scale. Students may enroll for anywhere between 2 and 6 academic credits. For each hour of credit, students must complete a minimum number hours of externship work, with at least 20% of those hours from observing court or other proceedings, as follows:

* 2 credits = 93 total hours
3 credits = 140 total hours
4 credits = 186 hours
5 credits = 233 hours
6 credits = 280 hours

The Judicial Extern Clinic is now offered every semester. With advance approval from the Faculty Supervisor, students also have the option of completing an externship during the intersession between the Fall and Spring semesters. Summer externships offer flexible start times, which allows students to begin as early as mid-May or when the regular summer term begins in June. Students must complete a one-day orientation class at the law school before beginning their externship. This class is typically scheduled as follows:

* Fall semester – First week of the semester.
* Winter intersession – Saturday of the second week of Fall semester final exams.
* Spring semester – First week of the semester.
* Summer – Saturday of the second week of Spring semester final exams.

Enrollment Information. For instructions on how to enroll in the Judicial Extern Clinic, click here. Students seeking placement in a site that is not currently approved must apply for approval prior to enrolling in the course. Applications for placement site approvals are available from Professor Noble-Allgire in Room 240. For more information about the externship course, contact Professor Noble-Allgire in person or by email (