What to Expect This Semester
Production of Written Work Product
Because one of the academic requirements of the course is for students to produce work product from the externship that demonstrates the student’s legal skills, students are required to submit two original writing samples produced in their field work with their field supervisor’s evaluation of them.
The writing samples should be a written assignment that the student has completed in the field office. It can be any type of written work that is the student's original work product (i.e., not a form pleading) where the student has used legal analysis skills to draft the written work. Ideally, the student will have had a chance to do some research in relation to the writing sample, since research is one of the skills field supervisors will be asked to evaluate on the writing sample evaluation form.
The production of writing samples serves two purposes. First, it is an opportunity for field supervisors to give specific formative feedback to students aimed at helping them to improve their legal writing skills; and second, it serves as an assessment of the student’s work that is considered in determining if the student has satisfactorily completed the academic requirements to receive credit for the course.
The writing samples along with the field supervisor's evaluation of them (which should be completed on a form that the student will provide) are generally due mid-semester and at the end of the semester. Field supervisors are asked to work with their student to select an appropriate writing sample to submit and to redact information when necessary to protect confidences. If the nature of a field office is not conducive to the submission of the student’s work product in redacted form, field supervisors should contact the externship professor so that alternate arrangements can be made to submit an evaluation of the student’s written work.
The externship professor will conduct mid-term conferences with the field supervisor and the extern together at the mid-point of the semester. The externship professor generally visits the field supervisor's office to conduct the conference, which lasts about 30 minutes, but the professor might also conduct the conference via video or telephone call. The mid-term conference serves as a time to assess the student’s progress towards their externship learning objectives, to discuss the student’s performance, and to make a plan for the remainder of the semester. Field supervisors will typically be asked to complete a Mid-Term Conference Report (on a form which will be provided) and submit it in advance of the conference.
Final Evaluation of Extern
To receive academic credit for the course, students are required, among other things, to receive a satisfactory evaluation from their field supervisor. Along with reviewing the feedback provided about the writing samples the student produced during the semester, the externship professor will review the field supervisor's feedback about the student’s overall performance at the conclusion of the semester. A final evaluation form will be provided to field supervisors to complete and submit at the end of the semester.
If a field supervisor has concerns about their student’s performance during the semester, they should contact the externship professor so that the concerns can be discussed immediately and goals can be created with the student to remediate the issues. We want to provide students with the opportunity to correct any concerning performance so that they can truly use the externship opportunity to learn and grow.