A photograph of law school students and faculty standing in front of the White House.
Semester in Washington, DC

The ability to work on Medicaid in the months following the Supreme Court decision [NFIB v. Sibelius] taught me more than any classroom experience would have been able to. The attorneys I worked with were so open to helping me grow as a lawyer and advocate. It was really a wonderful experience.

Tamara Kramer ’13
National Health Law Program

I worked within the EPA [and] also collaborated with attorneys at the Department of Justice . . . My mentor had me shadow her through branch and department meetings . . . [and] organized weekly seminars for the interns to partake in and learn more about other aspects of the agency.

Silpa Rao ’13
Environmental Protection Agency

The Semester in DC Program offers students a unique opportunity to expand their horizons, gain valuable contacts and legal experience, build their resumes, and learn how our federal government works, by working in a congressional office, federal agency or non-profit organizations in Washington, DC - while getting a full semester's academic credit along the way.

Each fall semester, students selected for the Semester in DC Program work 30-35 hours a week as student lawyers at a participating federal agency, congressional office, or non-governmental organization (NGO). In addition to interning, students enroll in two evening seminars taught by Professor Richard Parker teamed up with top practitioners who bring years of experience working in or with government. The seminars give students the basic tools they need to succeed on the job while bringing them into contact with leaders and senior staff at a range of organizations where they learn about the challenges of government and policy advocacy at the federal level while being exposed to exciting new career opportunities. Students also have opportunities to tour Capitol Hill and the White House, attend a Supreme Court oral argument and sample the myriad law and policy conferences that enrich the intellectual life of our nation’s capital. 

All told, UConn Law’s Semester in DC Program offers students a unique and rewarding experience that many participants regard as a highlight of their law school career.  

 

This extraordinary program is available at only a handful of schools, yet the students who have participated in the program have found this program to be a life-changing educational experience, often the highlight of their law school career. Here’s what some of our students had to say about their experience in the program: 

Student Testimonials

This externship was a very meaningful experience. Although I had done some policy work in previous externships, the depth that I was able to dive into at Human Rights First was far beyond anything I had done before. My work focused on the three main areas that business and human rights focuses on: internet freedom, labor-worker’s rights, and private security contractors. I conducted policy research on companies and the U.S. government in anticipation of policies the organization supports. . . . This externship allowed me to refine my long-term career goals.

Alison Roso ’13
Human Rights First

This was the greatest position I have ever had the ability to secure. It was a life-changing experience for me. . . I conducted legal research, wrote memoranda, worked with stakeholders to build consensus, worked with legislative attorneys to help draft bills, and worked with congressional staff to research the legal and policy implications of legislative proposals. . . It was the hardest thing I ever did, from the application process to the actual work, but [it] provided me with a feeling that I could accomplish anything.

Don Bell ’13
Office of Senator Richard Blumenthal

This externship was probably the most meaningful and valuable experience I have had thus far in my professional and educational career . . . . Working at FinCEN, I had the opportunity to study first hand an area of law I am interested in, financial crimes, and prosecutorial work, and also continue my passion for public interest work. . . . The best part of this externship was that I made me realize exactly what I want to do with my law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law. I absolutely want to pursue a career with FinCEN or at the very least with the federal government working on either financial crimes or with our various intelligence communities. Having the opportunity to work on drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorist financing cases was not only always interesting, but also made me feel like I was doing something incredibly valuable. . . . This was overall a perfect experience.

Michaela Ottenberg ’13
FinCEN, Treasury Department

The program has been a win-win experience for both students and agencies. Agencies benefit from the services of capable, dedicated and energetic law students working in concert with agency staff. Students learn how Washington works in the best possible way, by working in or with government, while deepening their knowledge of law and expanding their career horizons in the process. Below is a list of the agencies with which we have an ongoing relationship. The list expands each year.

  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of State
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of the Treasury
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Human Rights First
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • National Health Law Program
  • National Labor Relations Board
  • Securities and Exchange Commission
  • U.S. Senate, Office of Senator Richard Blumenthal

Enrollment is open to current UConn students who are in their 2L or 3L year. An information session is held each spring prior to course selection for fall term.

For further questions or inquiries, please contact: Professor Jennifer Mailly by email or at 860-570-5216.