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 Program

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.

Informational Meeting: An informational meeting for students interested in participating in the Summer and Fall 2024 Judicial Externship Programs were already held but if you wish to view a prior meeting, one is available to watch on Panopto.

Application Process:  There are two ways to apply for a judicial externship:  Through judges already in our program or on your own through 12Twenty (see below).  

To apply for an externship through judges already in our program, fill out this Google Form and upload a packet which includes:

  • Cover letter addressed to each of the judges you're applying to
  • Resume
  • Transcript
  • Writing sample 

Applications for the Fall 2024 semester are due on Monday, April 22 at noon.  If you have any questions about the application process, reach out to Michael Oakes (moakes@kentlaw.iit.edu).  Note:  Before you apply, please know that you must be able to commit 16 hours/week during the fall and spring semesters; 32 hours/week in the summer.  If you have any questions about the Program, please contact Professor Jon Decatorsmith (jdecator@kentlaw.iit.edu).

Find your own judicial externship:  Students can find their own externship through posts made by individual chambers on the Career Services Management System 12twenty* 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.   We will also post any opportunites for externships below.  

Cover Letter and Resume Guidance:  Below are short guides on to help you prepare your cover letter and resume:

Cover Letter Guide

Writing Sample Guide

 

Judicial Externship Opportunity – Judge Nixon

 

His Honor Lewis M. Nixon of the Circuit Court of Cook County is looking for externs summer and fall 2024. He is the Supervising Judge of the Mortgage Foreclosure / Mechanics Lien Section therein and specializes in mechanic’s liens. He expects to conduct at least one bench trial in the summer and one bench trial in the fall. There is always a chance for the bench trials not to occur, as the cases may settle. If they go forward however, externs will have the opportunity to observe them and will likely be able to perform tasks associated with them.   Please see our Record announcement for more information, deadline and how to apply.  If you receive this externship, please contact Jon Decatorsmith and Michael Oakes to get a permit to apply.  

 

Judicial Externship Opportunity – Judge Allen Walker

This externship position provides an excellent opportunity to work closely with a judge in a state trial court that handles General Chancery cases. These cases include class actions, administrative review, declaratory judgments, temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions, actions for accounting, partition suits, and many other types of cases.  An extern will function as an additional judicial law clerk and must possess outstanding writing skills and superior analytical abilities.  Please see our Record announcement for more information, deadline and how to apply.  If you receive this externship, please contact Jon Decatorsmith and Michael Oakes to get a permit to apply.  

Judicial Externship Opportunity –  Seventh Judicial Circuit
Sangamon County, Springfield, Illinois

The judges of the Seventh Judicial Circuit in Sangamon County are in need of a law student(s) to conduct legal research and assist in writing memorandums. Sangamon County is one of six counties in the Seventh Judicial Circuit. The counties include Greene, Jersey, Macoupin, Morgan, Sangamon and Scott.  This position is for Sangamon County only. The position is open to 2L or 3L students.  

The internship would primarily consist of conducting legal research by Westlaw and analysis in areas relevant to the particular area of law for cases assigned to individual judges. This position supports the judges to deliver value to the profession by focusing on speed of delivery, pragmatic application of law, and well-reasoned, written opinions on the research results. Should there be any interest from the student, s/he may be able to attend court proceedings remotely and in person.

For more information on the position and how to apply, visit 12Twenty or the Record announcement.  The due date is May 17, 2024.  

Access2Practice (A2P) Legal Externship is a 4-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.  Externs must work 16 hours per week during the Fall/Spring semesters and 32 hours per week in the Summer semester as well as attend a series of classes that 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. 

Informational Meeting: An informational meeting for students interested in participating in the Summer 2024 Judicial Externship Program was already held but we hope to hold another for the Fall semester in March.

Application Process:  Externships can be found via Chicago-Kent’s extensive legal network.  For information on how to do this, 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.  

Once a student has secured an externship, you must apply to the externship program by (1) informing Professor Decatorsmith via email (jdecator@kentlaw.iit.edu) and (2) filling out this Google Form.  This information allows us to keep track of student placements as well as give us the information needed to reach out to firms and confirm student placement.  The deadline for securing an externship in the summer is May 6, 2024.  

Externship Opportunity - Natural Resources Defense Council

The Litigation Team at the Natural Resources Defense Council has three openings for their 2024 Fall Term Litigation Internship.  The internship can be completed remotely, or in person at their Chicago, Washington D.C., or California offices.  Please see our Record announcement for more information, deadline and how to apply.  If you receive this externship, please contact Jon Decatorsmith and Michael Oakes to get a permit to apply.  

Externship Opportunity - Law Office of Michael R. Johnson LLC

Our small but impactful law firm is seeking a highly motivated Legal Extern to join our team. The Legal Extern will work closely with more experienced lawyers to handle complex legal matters and represent our clients in primarily in the Appellate Court of Illinois and the Circuit Court of Cook County. Appellate work will principally involve civil commitment appeals on behalf of the committed person stemming from cases under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act, 725 ILCS 207/1 et seq.  For more information on the position and how to apply, see our Record announcement

If you need assistance/need to be pointed in the right direction in terms of where to find Legal Externships, contact Michael Oakes (moakes@kentlaw.iit.edu

Externship Opportunity - U.S. Department of Homeland Security

The Office of the Associate Chief Counsel provides legal advice to, and legal representation for, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in a wide range of matters relating to the diverse activities and functions of the Agency. These areas include international trade, immigration, seizures and forfeitures of contraband and IPR infringing merchandise, ethics, and labor and employment matters.  For more information on the position and how to apply, see our Record announcement

Semester Law Firm Associate Program (6 credits)

The Semester Law Firm Associate Program.  Chicago-Kent’s Semester Law Firm Associate Program is a unique for credit, non-graded program offered to 2Ls and 3Ls with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2.  Semester Associate externs will receive 6 credits and devote 24 hours a week during the semester to the fieldwork component (compared to other externship programs, which are only four credits and 16 hours a week). There is also an accompanying classroom component.   This program is only offered in the spring and fall semesters.

Information for the Fall 2024 semester will be forthcoming.