Information for Students

Chicago-Kent offers three avenues for students to pursue externship opportunities in the areas of government, public interest, private, and for-profit firms and corporations. Examples of externships include working for the Office of the Illinois Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney’s Office; public defender offices; the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; and numerous major law firms and nonprofits. All externships must be approved. The three types of externships include:

Judicial Externships acquaint you with the day-to-day operation of the courts as you work with trial and appellate court judges and their law clerks to research and write legal memoranda and draft opinions.

Legal Externships allow you to work in civil or criminal practice in a specialized area of your choice with supervising attorneys in federal, state, and local government agencies; corporate legal departments; or public interest organizations.

The Semester Law Firm Associate Program is a unique six credit program during which students have the opportunity to work for academic credit as “associates” for prestigious Chicago-based law firms. Students must spend 24 hours a week at the firm that selects them and also attend a classroom component. This program is only offered in the spring and fall semesters.

Judicial Externship Applications

Judicial Externship Program (JEP) is a four credit hour, pass/low pass/fail program open to students who have completed at least their first full year of law school and want to do legal research and writing for a federal appellate, district or magistrate judge, or designated Illinois appellate or circuit court judges.

JEP enables a student to become involved in particular legal problems through research and writing, and to contribute to the resolution of those problems by participating in drafting memoranda and opinions. Depending upon the judge, an extern may also have the opportunity to observe the judge’s day-to-day routine and discuss with him/her the issues and problems that judges confront. Take advantage of this prestigious learning opportunity while enhancing your marketability in the legal world.

For externships achieved through Chicago-Kent’s extensive network, follow our document on How to Apply for a Judicial Externship Placement. If you would like to apply for a Judicial Externship in the Spring 2024 semester, please apply here.  Note that the minimum GPA for 2L applicants is a 3.3 and for 3L applicants it is a 3.2.

Applications for the Judicial Externship are due on Friday, October 13, 2023 before 5:00 p.m.

Informational Meeting: An informational meeting for the Spring 2024 semester will be held on October 3 at 12:00 in room 355.  If you wish to view a prior meeting, one is available to watch on Panopto.

Students can also find their own externships through posts made by individual chambers on 12twenty*, the Career Services Management System, or get placed with judges in various divisions via the Cook County application. In the Summer, students can also apply to judges via the Just the Beginning - A Pipeline Organization, and applications typically close by the end of January each year. For those students who have secured their own judicial externship, please inform Professor Decatorsmith by sending in a short application form: Judicial Externship Short Form Application, Spring 2024The due date for those who have secured their own externship is January 2, 2024. 

Interested in the Domestic Relations Division? Upcoming deadlines for applications to Domestic Relations TBA.  If you wish to view a prior presentation, one is available to watch on Panopto

Legal Externship Programs

Access2Practice (A2P) Legal Externship is a four credit hour, pass/fail program which enables Kent 2Ls and 3Ls to gain supervision/mentoring in a wide variety of legal areas—both civil and criminal. LEP externships are offered in the fall and spring semesters and in the summer session and consist of two separate components: fieldwork and classes. Externs must work 16 hours a week during the fall/spring semesters and 32 hours per week in the summer semester. In addition, externs must attend a series of classes that meet on designated dates, TBD. Classes focus on different legal areas and the often complex realities at the core of law practice. 

The program does not assign students to particular field placements. Instead a student must first independently obtain an externship placement before applying to participate in and register for an Access2Practice Legal Externship. Each placement is independent and external to the law school and will have its own independent selection and screening process.

For externships achieved through Chicago-Kent’s extensive legal network, follow our document on How to Apply for a Legal Externship Placement. Students can find their own externships through 12twenty*, the Career Services Management System. Newly posted externships will also be featured in The Record.

Informational Meeting: An informational meeting for the Spring 2024 semester will be held on October 10 at 12:00 in room 165.  

Accepted Externs

Upon receipt of an externship in a legal externship placement, the extern must submit an application and be approved by Professor Decatorsmith before the extern can officially enroll in and begin the program. All Spring applications must be received no later than Wednesday, January 3, 2024.  This is because Professor Decatorsmith must contact the prospective supervisor to ensure that the placement and supervisor are informed of and able to comply with academic requirements.

Semester Law Firm Associate Program  (6 credits)

The Semester Law Firm Associate Program is announced during the spring and fall semesters via The Record and email. Applications go to Professor Decatorsmith. The program is six credits and 24 hours a week, compared to other externship programs, which are only four credits and 16 hours a week.

The Spring 2024 program will be announced in October.