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Individual Field Placements

Students in the Individual Field Placement course set their own paths to gain practical experience that fits their aspirations. The course (formerly the Individual Externship Program) offers students who have completed their first year of study an opportunity for experiential learning tailored to their own interests and their educational and career goals. Students perform volunteer legal work for a field placement sponsor -- a legal organization or practice. They work with an experienced attorney who acts as the site supervisor, providing work projects and observational opportunities designed to develop the students’ lawyering skills, professional identity, and understanding of legal practice and process. Field placement sponsors encompass a wide variety of legal practices, including non-profit legal services, advocacy and public policy organizations; government offices and agencies; private law firms; corporate in-house legal departments; prosecutors’ and criminal defenders’ offices; federal and state judicial chambers; and adjudication divisions of administrative agencies.

In addition to engaging in and observing lawyering activities at the field placement site, students are required to reflect on their fieldwork experience in a faculty-guided setting. Students communicate regularly and share written reflections on their field placement experiences through individual tutorials with a faculty member of the students’ choosing, acting as a faculty supervisor, or through the Individual Field Placement Seminar. Students seeking to satisfy the practice-based learning requirement with the Individual Field Placement course must enroll for at least three credits (requiring 168 hours of fieldwork) and concurrently enroll in the one-credit Individual Field Placement Seminar. 

Students seeking an individual field placement should consult with the field placement program director about opportunities that meet their educational interests and/or professional goals. Students may also seek potential field placements among the volunteer legal opportunities posted on Symplicity. Students seeking to develop a new field placement opportunity must have the placement approved by the field placement director before enrollment. To enroll in an individual field placement, students must complete the placement approval form (located under the Forms tab above), have the form signed by the site supervisor and faculty supervisor, and deliver the form to the Field Placement Program Director by the deadline set out in the academic calendar.

Representatives of legal practices seeking to become field placement sponsoring organizations should contact the field placement program director. Prior to the approval of any field placement, the director must confirm that the sponsor is able to offer the student a substantial lawyering experience, with multiple opportunities to observe and perform professional skills, under the direct supervision of a site supervisor with the time, resources, and institutional support to provide guidance, feedback, and evaluation.

As part of the placement approval process, all participants in a UConn School of Law field placement course must certify that they have read and understood the Field Placement Program Statement of Course Expectations. This statement sets out the roles and responsibilities of students, site supervisors, and faculty supervisors in assuring a high-level educational experience for the student, and is mandated by ABA Standards governing field placement programs.

For more information about the program, please consult the Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Individual Field Placements. Questions may be directed to the field placement program director, Professor Jennifer Mailly or by phone at 860-570-5216.


Field Placement Program Statement of Course Expectations

(Download this document as a PDF here.)

I. Introduction

This Statement of Course Expectations articulates the general roles and responsibilities of participants in the UConn Law School Field Placement Program (“Program”), consistent with the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools.* Participants must execute a separate Placement Approval Form incorporating the terms of this Statement of Course Expectations.

II. Responsibilities of Site Supervisors

1. Supervision:  The Site Supervisor will supervise the Student’s experience with a view to ensuring that the Student has a substantial lawyering experience that is reasonably similar to the experience of a lawyer in the field placement sponsoring organization, as set forth in further detail in subsection 3 below.

2. Work Schedule and Office Space: The Site Supervisor will ensure that the Student has a designated workplace at the sponsoring organization and access to office resources and support reasonably necessary to complete assignments. The Site Supervisor will confer with the Student to establish a work schedule that ensures the Student is present in the office to observe and participate in projects and activities that will enhance the Student’s educational experience and provide insight into the nature of the sponsoring organization’s legal practice. 

3. Substantial Lawyering Experiences:  The Site Supervisor will endeavor to ensure that the Student has the opportunity to perform, to the maximum extent possible, substantial lawyering tasks that are both useful to the sponsoring organization and educational for the Student; that the Student has opportunities to observe lawyers and/or other professional staff in their daily activities; that the Student receives feedback on the Student’s performance (including the professionalism of their comportment and/or work product); and that the Student has opportunities to discuss the Student’s observations and experiences with sponsoring organization staff.   

4. Individualized Learning Goals:  When required by the field placement course in which the Student is enrolled, the Site Supervisor will meet and confer with the Student early in the semester to agree upon realistic learning goals.  To the extent feasible, consistent with the needs of the sponsoring organization, the Site Supervisor will select and prioritize assignments and other experiences designed to help the Student achieve the agreed upon learning goals.

5. Assessment Meetings and Evaluation:  The Site Supervisor will meet with the Student at the mid-term and end-of-term to discuss the Student’s performance and, when required by the field placement course in which the Student is enrolled, will complete a final written evaluation of the Student’s performance at the semester’s end.

III. Responsibilities of Faculty Supervisors

1. Selection of Field Placement Sponsoring Organization and Site Supervisor:  Except in the case of Individual Field Placements, the Faculty Supervisor will select, and assign the Student to, an appropriate field placement sponsoring organization and Site Supervisor.  (For Individual Field Placements, the Student selects the field placement sponsoring organization in consultation with, and subject to the approval of, the Law School’s Field Placement Program Director.)

2. Reflection:  Through a concurrent seminar and/or individual tutorials, the Faculty Supervisor will ensure that the Student engages in ongoing, contemporaneous faculty-guided reflection throughout the term.  The Faculty Supervisor will engage the Student in reflection on such topics as the organizational structure and operational dynamic of the organization in which the Student is working; the legal/policy/political context in which that organization operates; the professional and ethical norms that guide the practice of professionals in this realm; career opportunities that are or may be open to the Student in that area; and the Student’s own professional goals and values.

3. Communication with Site Supervisor and Student:  The Faculty Supervisor will maintain regular contact, including site visits where appropriate, with the Site Supervisor and Student to ensure the quality of the Student’s educational experience.

4. Availability:  The Faculty Supervisor will be available as a resource to the Site Supervisor and Student should any concerns or issues regarding the field placement arise.

5. Evaluation:  The Faculty Supervisor will evaluate the Student’s academic performance and, except in the case of Individual Field Placements, award the Student a grade.  (In the case of Individual Field Placements, the Faculty Supervisor will recommend a grade to the Field Placement Program Director.)  The Faculty Supervisor’s assessment will be based on some or all of the following: (a) the Student’s academic performance in the course seminar or individual tutorial; (b) consultation with the Site Supervisor; (c) written evaluations of the Student’s performance in the field placement provided by the Site Supervisor and Student; and (d) the Student’s compliance with the reflection, reporting, and record-keeping requirements of the field placement course in which Student is enrolled.

IV. Responsibilities of Students

1. No Compensation: The Student will comply with the UConn Law School policy prohibiting the receipt of compensation for work performed in connection with a credit-bearing field placement course. Reimbursement of the Student’s reasonable out-of-pocket expenses is permitted, but must be reported to the Field Placement Program Director.

2. Work Schedule: The Student will confer with the Site Supervisor at the outset of the course to establish a work schedule that ensures the Student is present in the office to observe and participate in substantial lawyering experiences. The Student will ensure that the work schedule reflects the number of hours of weekly field work required by the field placement course in which Student is enrolled. 

3. Individualized Learning Goals: When required by the field placement course in which the Student is enrolled, the Student will confer with the Site Supervisor early in the semester to develop realistic and mutually agreed upon learning goals and identify assignments and other experiences designed to help the Student achieve the learning goals.

4. Professionalism and Confidentiality: In all matters connected with the field placement, the Student will act with professionalism, civility, integrity, and in accordance with the Rules of Professional Conduct.  The Student will invite guidance and feedback on professionalism and work ethic, as well as on performance of legal projects. In preparing reflections, journals and reports, and in engaging in class discussion and meetings with the Faculty Supervisor, the Student will comply with confidentiality obligations and will raise with the Site Supervisor any questions or concerns about confidentiality.

5. Reflection: The Student will reflect on observations and experiences at the field placement and explore such topics as the organizational structure and operational dynamic of the organization in which the Student is working; the legal/policy/political context in which that organization operates; the professional and ethical norms that guide the practice of professionals in this realm; career opportunities that are or may be open to the Student in that area; and the Student’s own professional goals and values.

6. Academic and Field Placement Record-keeping Requirements:  The Student will complete and submit in a timely manner all time logs, reflections, journals, evaluations, and any other reporting and record-keeping requirements of the field placement course in which the Student is enrolled.

7. Self-Evaluation: The Student will engage in self-assessment throughout the field placement course and, where appropriate, discuss self-assessment with the Site Supervisor and Faculty Supervisor.  At the end of the semester, the Student will complete a written evaluation of the Student’s field placement performance and experience, using a form provided by the law school for this purpose.

V. Compliance with University Non-Discrimination Policy

All participants in the UConn Law School Field Placement Program shall comply with the University of Connecticut Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment and Related Interpersonal Violence, which requires that students, including those engaged in field placement programs, are afforded an educational environment free from discrimination, harassment, and inappropriate romantic relationships.

* ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools 2016-2017, Standard 303(c)(iii).

(Effective August 2017)

Below are some frequently asked questions about individual field placements.

What is an individual field placement?

An individual field placement is a credit-bearing experiential learning opportunity that is created by the student and tailored to a student’s own interests and his or her educational and career goals.  As an extern, a student performs volunteer legal work at a legal organization or practice (called a “field placement”) under the supervision of an attorney (the “placement supervisor”) who provides work projects and observational opportunities designed to develop the student’s lawyering skills and to enhance the student’s understanding of the legal profession.  In addition to working at the field placement, the student extern is required to communicate with and provide written reflections to a faculty member of his or her choosing (the “faculty supervisor”) throughout the term of the externship. 

Are there any limitations on enrollment in an individual field placement?

Yes.  First-year students may not participate in the individual field placement program during the fall and spring semesters of their first year of law school.  1L students who have completed the fall and spring semester classes may enroll in an individual field placement  beginning in the June Term, even if they are also taking Moot Court during this term.

Students may not earn more than a total of eight (8) credits from any combination of individual field placement and special research projects (SRP's).  Students may not earn more than three (3) credits during the fall or spring terms or four (4) credits during the summer term.

Enrollment in a clinic and an individual field placement during the same academic term is generally inappropriate.  Students seeking such dual enrollment must obtain written permission from the clinic supervisor, the externship placement supervisor, and the Externship Director prior to enrollment. 

What is the difference between an individual externship and an externship clinic?

An individual externship has no required classroom component (unless the student is seeking to satisfy the Practice-Based Learning Requirement, which is addressed below).  Individual externs report to faculty supervisors on a periodic basis established by the Policy on Individual Externships.   In an externship clinic, students perform work at a field placement, but are also required to attend a regularly scheduled class associated with the externship, and for which additional credit may be awarded.  Externship clinics are courses for which students must enroll through the regular course selection process.  In contrast, students enroll in an individual externship via the process described below.

Why should a student do an individual externship?

An externship provides students with the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of substantive law and lawyering skills through hands-on experiences, and to apply what they have learned in the law school classroom to real world legal problems.  Individual externships allow students to gain experience in a particular area of law or practice setting of interest to them, discover their strengths and preferences within the legal profession, address areas in which they might need additional training, and consider the professional, ethical and moral implications of the practice of law.

Does an individual externship satisfy the Practice-Based Learning Requirement?

Enrollment in an individual externship will satisfy the Practice-Based Learning Requirement if the externship is for at least three credits (requiring at least 168 hours of work) and the student concurrently enrolls in the Individual Externship Seminar.  Students must enroll in the Individual Externship Seminar through the regular course selection process.  Students do not have to have secured an externship placement at the time that they enroll in the seminar.  Seminar enrollment triggers a meeting with the Externship Director to assist the student to secure a suitable placement.

How does a student find a suitable field placement?

Students interested in doing an individual externship should first determine their goals.  They should ask themselves:  What kind of experience do I want to obtain?  What areas of law or practice settings would I like to explore?  What lawyering skills would I like to develop or hone?  Am I looking to build on experiences that I already have, or try something completely different?  How closely do I want my externship experience to mirror the kind of career I hope to have?

Students should then look for experiences that will fulfill their goals.  There are several ways to do this.

  • Meet with the Externship Director.  The Externship Director can help students identify and create opportunities that will further their goals.  The Externship Director can suggest possibilities that students may not have considered, or help students find an opportunity that they may not have known existed.  The Externship Director can also advise students about other students’ experiences with particular field placements.    
  • Review the postings on Symplicity.  Some internship positions posted on Symplicity may be appropriate field placements for individual externships.  Students should check with the Externship Director if they find a posting that they want to pursue as an externship.    
  • Research other possible externship options.  Students may talk to friends, colleagues and faculty members about the kind of work they would like to do.  They may do research on the internet or in the Career Planning Center to find out what legal organizations in the area would offer the kind of experience they are looking for.  If a student reaches out to a potential placement, the student must ensure that he or she will be supervised by an attorney who will provide appropriate work assignments and give guidance and feedback on them, and that there is a workspace for him or her on the premises of the placement.  Once a student has identified a potential placement, he or she must notify the Externship Director and provide contact information for the responsible attorney at the desired placement.  The Externship Director will contact the proposed placement supervisor to explain the supervision and reporting requirements of the externship program, and ensure that the supervisor understands and is willing to comply.  All new externship placements must be approved in advance by the Externship Director. 
What is the enrollment process for individual externships?

To enroll in an individual externship, a student must submit two forms.  The student application form seeks information about the student’s year in law school, number of credits completed and credits sought for the externship.  The application also seeks general information about the placement.  The approval form seeks information about the placement, the placement and faculty supervisors, and the nature of the work that will be performed.  This form must be signed by the faculty and placement supervisors.  Both forms must be brought to the Externship Director for approval and signature, and the Externship Director will effectuate enrollment. The enrollment forms may be found on this webpage under Forms.

 
What are the deadlines for enrollment in an individual externship?

In the fall and spring semesters, externship applications are due by the end of the first week of class of the term in which the externship is being done.  Late applications may be accepted for good cause shown; however, credit for work done prior to the submission of the completed application may not be counted towards the required hours.  It is advisable to submit the externship applications as soon as possible, as they will not be forwarded to the Registrar for enrollment if there is any information missing. 

Summer term enrollment is flexible.  Students may begin externships at the opening of the June Term, or later in June, or even July.  Again, however, students must submit all required enrollment applications prior to beginning work at their field placement, or they risk not having their work hours count toward the credits that they are seeking.

How do students find a faculty supervisor?

The individual externship program requires that every student have a faculty supervisor who is a member of the full-time faculty.  The faculty supervisor must approve the student’s application to enroll in an externship. 

Most students ask faculty members with whom they are most familiar, either from a class, activity or organization.  Faculty supervisors do not have to have expertise in the area of law on which the externship focuses.  However, some students will choose faculty members who do specialize in legal issues students expect to encounter in the externship.  Those faculty members may be in a position to offer subject matter insight and guidance.  There are also some faculty members who are associated with certain externship experiences.  This is particularly true in areas like Tax, IP and Insurance.  The Externship Director can advise students if there are faculty members that tend to oversee externships at certain organizations or involving certain areas of law.

What is the placement supervisor’s role?

The placement supervisor is responsible for providing the extern with varied, interesting and challenging work, incorporating the extern into the day-to-day operations of the field placement, offering opportunities to observe and participate in legal activities, and giving the extern guidance on work assignments and constructive feedback throughout the course of the work experience.  The placement supervisor is also responsible for completing a final evaluation of the student’s work performance.

What is the faculty supervisor’s role?

The faculty supervisor is responsible to ensuring that the student has an educational experience in addition to a work experience.  The faculty supervisor meets periodically with the student throughout the term of the externship, and reviews and discusses with the student the reflective journal that the student will be maintaining during the externship.  The faculty supervisor is also responsible for completing a final evaluation of the student extern’s learning experience.

What reporting requirements are there during the externship?

Students must keep a log of the dates and hours when they are working.  The log should include a brief description of the tasks being undertaken.  Each week, the student must upload the prior week’s log onto a TWEN site maintained for this purpose.  No credit will be given for work hours that are not reflected on the logs uploaded to the TWEN site. 

In addition to preparing weekly logs, students enrolled in an individual externship are required to maintain a reflective journal. By faculty policy, journal entries must be submitted to the Externship Director and faculty supervisor at least four times at regular intervals during the semester or term of the externship.  The dates by which the students should submit each journal entry and the frequency of the journal submissions are to be agreed upon by the faculty supervisor and the student.  Some faculty supervisors may ask the student to submit a page of journal entries per week, while others may ask for journals every two to three weeks, or by specific dates in the semester.  In all, students should expect to write about 12-14 pages of journal entries during the course of the externship.  The purpose of the journal is not to recount the student’s projects or experiences at the field placement.  That information should be contained in the student’s weekly log.  Rather, the journal asks the student to reflect on what the student is learning in the placement – about the law, the practice setting in which the student is externing, the legal profession, or him or herself.  Topics for journal entries may be suggested by the faculty supervisor or selected by the student.  A non-exhaustive list of possible topics for the externship journal is posted on the Individual Externships TWEN site.

Students enrolled in the Individual Externship Seminar have journaling requirements that are set by the seminar instructor and may differ from those described above.     

How many credits can be earned for an individual externship?

A student may earn up to 3 credits for an individual externship during the fall or spring terms.  During the summer term, students may earn up to 4 credits.  Although there are some externship opportunities limited enough in scope to warrant only 1 credit, most students enroll in externships for 2, 3 or (in the summer) 4 credits.  A credit is earned for every 56 hours of externship work performed.  Therefore, for 3 credits, a student must work 168 hours over the term.  For a 14-week term, this equals 12 hours per week. 

The actual schedule of hours is set by the student and the placement supervisor, and the weekly hours may vary based on the student’s work assignments and the opportunity to observe or participate in activities at the worksite.  While students may complete the required amount of work in one long day, students are strongly encouraged to spend at least two part days at their worksite.  This enables them to become more integrated into the office structure and allow for more time for observation of all types of legal proceedings and meetings.  Students may work more than the required hours needed to earn the credits sought; if they work fewer hours, however, credits will be reduced.

How are individual externships graded?

Individual externships are graded pass/fail.  Students are allowed a total of 12 pass/fail credits during law school.  Also, for planning purposes, note that students cannot earn more than 8 credits total for individual externships and SRPs.

The Individual Externship Seminar, required only for students seeking to use the externship to satisfy the Practice-Based Learning Requirement, is graded and does not count toward the limitations on pass/fail credits or individual externships and SRPs.

How do students get credit for an individual externships?

At the completion of the externship, the student must submit three completed evaluations to the Externship Director.  For efficiency, the following process is recommended:  The student should ask the placement supervisor to complete his/her evaluation as soon as the work is completed.  Once the placement supervisor has completed his or her application, the student should bring that evaluation, and his or her own evaluation, to the faculty supervisor.  The faculty supervisor will review the two evaluations, complete his or her own evaluation, and forward to the Externship Director.  Upon confirmation that the student’s logs submitted on TWEN reflect that the student has completed the requisite hours of work for the credits sought, the Externship Director will approve the award of the credits, and notify the Registrar to record the credits on the student’s transcript. 

May 1L students participate in the individual externship program?

1L students, whether enrolled in the day or evening division, may not participate in the individual externship program during the fall or spring semesters of their first year of law school.  1L students who have completed the fall and spring semester classes may enroll in an individual externship beginning in the June Term, even if they are also taking Moot Court during this term.

Are there special requirements for students on F-1 or J-1 visa status?

Yes.  Although an externship is not employment, students on F-1 or J-1 visa status must obtain proper work authorization prior to enrolling in an externship.  Students on F-1 visa status must obtain CPT (Curricular Practical Training) certification; students on J-1 visa status must obtain Academic Training certification.  The University of Connecticut’s department of International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) handles the applications for certification.  The application forms and a description of the application process may be found at http://isss.uconn.edu/employment/on-campus-work-permission/ and students are encouraged to contact ISSS directly as soon as they apply for an externship placement.  Obtaining work authorization for an externship may take several weeks.  Students are therefore advised to apply for CPT or Academic Training certification at least two weeks prior to the date on which they plan to start their externship in order to ensure that they obtain certification in time for them to begin their externship as planned.  Note that students on F-1 visas who will take longer than two semesters to complete their degree program must wait until after the second semester to begin an externship.
 

Forms
Field Placement Evaluation Forms

To access fillable pdf forms, open forms in Adobe Acrobat Reader.

If you fill in this evaluation on your computer, please save the completed form on your desktop and check to see that your changes have been properly saved before emailing the evaluation.  If they have not, please print out the completed evaluation and either mail the hard copy to Jennifer Mailly, Externship Director, UConn School of Law,  55 Elizabeth Street, Hartford, CT 06105, or scan and email it to jen.mailly@uconn.edu.