What qualifies for an externship

A position involving law-related responsibility can be in virtually any law-related setting authorized by Professor Jennifer Kinsley, director of experiential learning. For example, students have held externships with city solicitors, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, legal aid offices, law firms, prosecutors, corporate law departments, state attorneys general, and state and federal judges.

What externs do

Externships cover a range of experiences, including legal research, drafting documents and memoranda, compiling practice-related databases, and, for students with a limited law license, appearing in court.

Who is eligible

  • The student must have earned a minimum of 28 law school credits prior to the commencement of any field placement work and must be in good academic standing at the time the field placement is commenced;
  • The student must have satisfactorily completed both BLS-Research and BLS-Writing;
  • The student must be accepted at a pre-approved field placement location (pre-approved placements are listed in Simplicity) or obtain the field placement director’s approval before beginning a field placement that has not been pre-approved; and
  • The student must complete all registration enrollment forms required by the field placement director.  (The list of required forms is contained under the “Required Forms” section of the handbook.)                       

How to select an externship

  • Students identify potential externships through consultation with Professor Kinsley, postings on Simplicity, our career services management system, or after their own initiative.
  • After identifying an externship, students submit this form to Professor Jennifer Kinsley by email or to kinsleyj1@nku.edu or drop in the box outside Nunn Hall 507.

How course credit-hours are earned

Students earn one credit-hour for each 50 hours of field work, up to 12 credit-hours. Students in a first externship, called Field Placement Clinic, can choose to earn one to three credits; students in a subsequent externship, or Advanced Field Placement Clinic, can earn one to three credits; and students in Semester in Practice, either a first or subsequent externship that requires the greatest time commitment, can earn four to 12 credits. (Students in this externship must allow at least 30 days for Professor Kinsley to conduct a site visit prior to a placement.) All students must enroll in a one-credit, graded Field Placement Seminar. Grading of placement work is pass/fail.

Compensated externship policy

Effective as of the spring 2017 semester, Chase does not prohibit a student from simultaneously earning academic credit for a field placement and being compensated by the placement or other outside funding source. Students may simultaneously earn academic credit in the field placement clinic, advanced field placement clinic, and/or semester in practice courses while also receiving compensation from the work site, subject to the following requirements:

  • The student must meet in advance with the field placement director prior to enrolling in a field placement course and must disclose the fact that the student intends to receive compensation for the placement;
  •  Prior to the commencement of the field placement, the field placement director will communicate with the field placement supervisor regarding the nature of the field placement, the student’s educational goals and objectives, and the requirement that the placement exist primarily for the student’s education and not the supervisor’s organizational needs;
  • The student and the field placement supervisor must execute a written work contract indicating that the primary purpose of the placement is the student’s education and indicating the skills and substantive performance opportunities the student will obtain at the placement;
  • The student may not receive academic credit for work that is non-legal in nature or that is not attorney-level work within the field placement organization (i.e. copying files with no educational purpose, making coffee).  In other words, if the student is asked to undertake a non-legal activity for compensation, the student may be paid for the activity but may not report the work on his or her weekly timesheet for the field placement program.; and
  • In the event the student is terminated from employment prior to completing his or her field placement hours, the student will locate a substitute placement, which may or may not provide compensation to the student.

How to obtain a limited law license

Participation in an externship does not require a limited license to practice law, but one is required to appear in court with supervision of a lawyer. Application information is available here for KentuckyOhio, Indiana and federal courts.