Ashley U. Menendez
Director of Externships and Assistant Professor of Practice
1045 Maple St, Room 264
Phone (479) 575-4581
The University of Arkansas School of Law Externship Program provides students with practical legal experience while students also earn academic credit. In the program, students work outside of the law school in real practice settings while law school faculty mentor students in reflecting critically upon their experiences. Externships are available to second- and third-year law students who have successfully completed two semesters of law school, are in good standing, and (preferably) have completed or are concurrently enrolled in Professional Responsibility.
Externships expose students to the practice of law and provide opportunities for students to observe how issues and theory learned in the classroom manifest in practice. Externs observe sophisticated aspects of litigation, criminal and civil practice, public interest advocacy, and corporate counsel; and practice and improve legal research, analysis, and writing skills.
Most externships are 3-credit courses. The Corporate Counsel externships are 4-credit. In addition, the law school offers our third-year students the opportunity to complete an immersive, full-time (12-credit) practice experience through the Capstone externship program. Capstone externs must have completed 30 hours of law school coursework.
Components of the Externship Program
The Externship Program has two components – the experiential/field work component (the work the student does at the placement) and the academic coursework component.
The Experiential/Field Work Component
At each externship placement, a licensed attorney Field Supervisor is asked to serve as supervisor and mentor to the extern, assigning and overseeing tasks at the externship placement site. At the end of the term, the Field Supervisor completes an evaluation of the extern.
The field work component of the course is graded on a pass/fail basis. To pass the course, students must receive a favorable evaluation from their Field Supervisor and must complete the required number of field work hours (168 hours per semester for 3-credit externships and 224 hours for the 4-credit corporate counsel externships). In Fall and Spring semesters, students typically work a 14-week term. The summer term is 10 weeks.
The Academic Coursework Component
The Director of Externships or another Faculty Advisor directs and oversees the academic component of the Externship Program. Externship students are required to submit reflective writing assignments throughout the semester, including an initial Professional Development Plan, setting semester goals, a mid-term self-assessment and a final reflective paper. Students meet with the Director of Externships or another Faculty Advisor at regular intervals throughout the semester to discuss feedback on externship assignments and reflect on the student externship experience. Students must also submit weekly time logs.
All first-time externship students are required to participate in the externship seminar, a series of seminar classes during the first six weeks of the semester. Students engage in discussion and build skills useful to succeed in the externship program and ultimately in the practice of law.
The academic component of the course is typically one credit and is graded on a letter grade basis.
Interested in Hosting an Extern?
To serve as a Field Supervisor, a judge/attorney must be licensed in the jurisdiction where the extern is placed and must have a minimum of five years’ experience in the practice of law or other use of the J.D. degree following graduation from law school. In addition, the judge/attorney must have the requisite time and attention to ensure that the extern has opportunities to use research and writing skills appropriate to the nature of business conducted at the placement. The judge/attorney should be sufficiently available to mentor the extern and to complete written evaluations assessing the performance and professionalism of the extern.
If you are interested in serving as a Field Supervisor and hosting an extern from the University of Arkansas School of Law, submit this form or contact Ashley Menendez at email@example.com or (479) 575-4581.