FAQ for Experiential Learning

Students who have any questions pertaining to the Office of Experiential Learning are welcome to speak with Dean Bridgett Ortega directly at bortega@johnmarshall.edu.

1. What is the procedure for obtaining an externship? Students interested in obtaining an externship must complete the following steps:

    1. Complete and submit to Bridgett Ortega a pre-registration form with preferred placements, resume, and cover letter addressed to each preferred placement.
    2. If you have already secured a placement, submit a pre-registration form with the name of the placement and a Placement Approval form to determine the placement’s eligibility.
    3. If the placement offers to interview you, contact the supervising attorney to schedule an interview.
    4. Once an offer is made, contact the attorney to accept or decline the offer.
    5. Coordinate the dates and times of employment with your new employer.
    6. Register for Externship Class (660-3) and sign-up on TWEN.

2. Will I have any responsibilities outside of my externship? Yes, there is a mandatory classroom component in conjunction with your work experience. Students are required to meet for an introductory class and a mid-term session. In addition to class meetings, each student must register for the class on TWEN and complete all assignments.

3. What does the classroom component entail? The classroom component consists of group and individual meetings and participation in the online course on TWEN. Students must complete all reading assignments and submit periodic journal entries on topics related to the practice of law. Students are also encouraged to use the discussion boards on TWEN to share experiences with the rest of the class. Students must also submit weekly timesheets and mid-term and final evaluations.

4. Who is eligible for an externship? Students must have completed all required first-year courses, be in good academic standing, and have at least a 2.0 GPA prior to enrolling in the Externship Program.

5. What constitutes an eligible placement? In order to qualify for the Externship Program, a placement must

      1. Be a judicial clerkship or a position with a governmental agency, corporate legal department, or a legal non-profit agency;
      2. Meet the educational goals of the Externship Program; and
      3. Be under the supervision of a practicing attorney

Placements with private firms or attorneys are allowed if the firm or attorney has pro bono cases referred from a legal service provider or a pro bono project. Students are allowed to work only on the non-profit cases or assignments.

6. May I receive monetary compensation for my work? No. Students are not allowed to receive any monetary compensation from the field placements, with the exception of reimbursements for out-of-pocket expenses such as parking.

7. Do I need a Student Practice Certificate? Only students accepting placements that will involve litigation are required to have a Student Practice Certificate. To be eligible under Georgia’s Student Practice Act, a student must be regularly enrolled, have at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average, and have satisfactorily completed at least 30 credits of the requirements for a J.D. Please visit the Registration under the Student Practice Act FAQ page and contact Associate Dean Jeffries if you have additional questions.

8. Am I required to complete all journals/assignments if I am a repeat extern? No. If you are a repeat extern, you need only complete the final journal entry and weekly timesheets.

9. How many credits am I eligible to receive from an externship? Students in the program must earn a minimum of two and no more than six credit hours per semester. That translates into a minimum of 94 hours a semester or approximately 6.7 hours a week to a maximum of 282 hours or 20 hours a week in a 14-week semester. Summer students can work beyond the seven (7) week class schedule. Students seeking to earn more than six credits during the school year must get prior approval from the Associate Dean for Academics. Students must record their hours on a weekly timesheet signed by the supervising attorney. The timesheets also require a brief synopsis of the work performed each week. NOTE: Students may earn up to twelve (12) hours in externship credits towards their J.D. Externship hours do not count toward your total pass/fail allotment. (Please see §707 of the Academic Code for more details).

10. How are externships graded? Externships are graded as Pass/No Credit/Fail. Grades are based on classroom participation and the supervising attorney’s assessment of the student including but not limited to the student’s work habits, work quality, and professionalism. Students who are terminated or asked to leave a placement for any reason, including unprofessional or inappropriate behavior, will fail the externship. Students who do not complete the classroom requirements will receive a grade of No Credit.

11. What happens if I decide to withdraw from my externship? Students may withdraw from an externship only with the permission of the Office of Experiential Learning and the Associate Dean for Academics. See Section 502(d) of the Academic Code. Students should endeavor to honor all commitments made to their employer.