Externships offer students the opportunity to receive College of Law credit for hours spent working with government and not-for-profit attorneys and with state, federal, and international judges. Externships can be located anywhere in the world.

Externships are highly valued by law students because:

  • They yield real-world experience in the practice of law;
  • They show how legal theory looks in practice;
  • They permit networking with judges and attorneys; and
  • They let students try out an area of law to see if it is a good fit for the student’s interests and talents.

Nearly all students will complete one or more externships while enrolled at the College of Law.

Students work under the direct supervision of an attorney and complete assignments such as interviewing clients and witnesses; researching legal questions, preparing pleadings, discovery motions, and briefs; and in some instances, trying cases.

For students interested in learning more, visit the course description page or the information for students page on the intranet (login required).

Information for Potential Sponsors

Our Externship Program permits College of Law students to volunteer their time working for pre-approved sponsors and to obtain law school credit for the work they perform. This arrangement of “hours for credit” gives our students the opportunity to experience law practice before they are admitted as lawyers, much like an apprenticeship or physician’s residency, and offers a very important learning experience. In fact, the majority of our students complete one or more externships while enrolled at the College of Law.

Through our Externship Program, students receive credit for legal work performed for judges and for attorneys employed by non-profit organizations and governmental agencies. An externship aims to provide students with a substantial lawyering experience reasonably similar to the experience of a lawyer engaged in legal practice. For example, most externship students conduct legal research, draft legal memoranda and documents, engage in case investigation, client interviews, case strategy, and observe and attend court proceedings, depositions, negotiations, and client meetings.   

Sponsors are expected to provide externs with these opportunities for performance, as well as offer feedback to help externs develop their skills and improve as lawyers-in-training. Our students are bright, eager to learn, and excited to contribute to substantive legal work.  Students all report that their experiences as legal externs are rich, transformational, and vital to their development as attorneys and counselors.

In addition to their externship experience, students are required to submit time sheets, reflection memoranda, and a final paper in order to receive credit for their externship. 

If you are interested in sponsoring a University of Illinois College of Law student as an extern, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you in finding a student extern. We invite you to complete an employee profile on Symplicity. After the profile is completed, you will be able to post your externship placement on Symplicity. Postings will advise our students about the details of the position, as well as the application process you would like them to follow.

Please contact us for more information about the program.


Externship Office
University of Illinois College of Law
504 East Pennsylvania Avenue
Room 338
Champaign, Illinois  61820
(217) 244-0612