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Course Information

Externship - In Nashville/Academic year/Summer

The basic requirements are: (1) Students may receive credit only for work supervised by faculty-approved fieldwork supervisors at faculty-approved placements. (2) Various types of externships may qualify, including placements with federal and state prosecutors and defenders, the state attorney general's office, state legislative offices, federal and state agencies, federal and state judges, corporate legal departments and legal aid or other non-profit programs. Students may not receive credit for work for which they are paid. For placements in the Nashville area, the main course requirements are: a) 110 hours of fieldwork (or approximately 8 hours per week over a 14-week semester); b) weekly classroom sessions; and, c) recording a journal of work experience, which will be reviewed periodically by the faculty member. The course for Nashville area placements carries 3 academic credits. Placements must be arranged by the student and approved by the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs no later than the end of the first week of classes. May be repeated for credit more than once if there is no duplication in subject matter. Students may apply a maximum of 6 credits of externship toward graduation requirements. Pass/Fail.

Note: Faculty approval required.

Statement of Educational Objectives

The primary educational objective of the externship program at Vanderbilt University Law School is to offer students experience-based instruction in professional skills and values. The specific skills and values taught will vary according to placement; however, each student will engage in at least some of the following lawyering skills: legal research and writing, interviewing, counseling, investigation, strategic planning, negotiation, pretrial and/or trial practice, appellate advocacy. A secondary educational objective is to expose students to various aspects of the lawyering process, and to encourage them to reflect on the roles of lawyers and other actors in the legal system. With certain placements, students will also have the opportunity to focus on specific areas of the law in a particular legal setting.

Course Goals

The goals of the course are that students: Develop an understanding of professional responsibility issues in live lawyering settings; identify and analyze the lawyering skills they observe and develop in their field placements; and engage in critical reflection about legal practice, the roles of attorneys in various practice settings, and their own future professional careers.