FAQ

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What does the course component entail?

Short journal entries, participation, and a paper.  Students must attend a weekly three-hour class session that will explore, inter alia, professionalism, courtroom decorum, confidentiality, judicial ethics, docket management, bench memo writing, oral argument preparation, and judicial opinion drafting. Among other things, students will participate in interactive classroom sessions and submit reflective journal entries.  The reflective 1-2 page journal entries will require students to apply lessons learned in the weekly session to their externship experiences.  Students will be reminded not to divulge any confidential information, etc., in the creation of their entries.  These journal entries will not only refine their writing skills but also will fuel class discussion.  Students will also complete a 20-page reflective paper on a topic to be determined at the Professor or student’s discretion and due at the Program’s conclusion.   Students will also be graded on participation in class discussion and attendance at weekly sessions.  Students receive 6 credits, including 3 pass/fail credits for the externship and 3 graded credits for the classroom component.

Must I maintain a log of my hours and assignments?

Yes. Each extern shall maintain a time log detailing the hours he or she works over the course of the externship. In addition, students only receive credit for non-administrative legal work although it is permissible and strongly encouraged that they also be permitted to perform other types of work and projects, including shadowing oral arguments or court hearings or attending  staff meetings as these present excellent learning opportunities. Students must complete at least 35 hours of work per week of an externship lasting no less than eight weeks and produce at least 3 pages of original, substantive legal writing per week as part of the externship. (This does not mean that students must produce 3 pages per week. This page limit does not include work product produced as a result of the classroom component.)

How do I prepare fo the externship?

Prior to commencing the externship, students are provided with a comprehensive reading list of key cases and court rules relevant to the court’s jurisdiction.  Students are required to complete a reading list prepared by Professor Perdue in conjunction with the participating judge or special master prior to the onset of the externship.  Students are also required to attend a comprehensive orientation that covers professionalism, ethical issues, confidentiality, etc., during the spring semester prior to the externship.  Students must also attend a research strategies session during spring semester that provides insight into how to efficiently and effectively research the areas of law addressed by the court.

Will Professor Perdue be in residence in Washington, D.C.?

Yes. Professor Perdue will be in residence in Washington, D.C., throughout the Program.  She will check in with on-site supervisors throughout the summer to learn more about the students’ externship experiences and performance.  She will also provide supervisors with an opportunity to address any questions or concerns they may have regarding the extern or the Program.  Input from participating Chambers is always welcome.

What are my obligations as an on-site supervisor?

Minimal.  On-site supervisors have few obligations.  We simply require that they provide students with substantive legal work and other educational opportunities.  Supervisors must also meet with externs at least once during the middle of the externship to provide constructive criticism and feedback on performance and again at the end of the externship to provide feedback and tips for successful future performance.

Aside from its educational value, are there any other advantages for students who participate in the Program?

Definitely. We all know that many of the most valuable lessons are learned outside the classroom.  Therefore, informative programming regarding related issues, such as Q&A sessions with current or former law clerks and judges, will also be provided throughout the summer along with occasional social events aimed at allowing Wake students to meet and mingle with current and former law clerks, Wake alumni working in Washington, and other Wake students who are externing in Washington, D.C.  Students will also have an opportunity to attend Washington, D.C. alumni receptions and other ABA and law firm networking events.  Such programming and social events will provide excellent networking opportunities, which are invaluable to students in this tough legal climate.

Am I eligible to participate in the Program? 

The Program launches in June 2013. It is open to rising second and third year law students earning a J.D. and to rising third-year law students earning a dual degree who are in good academic standing at the law school and who wish to receive academic credit through their participation in a summer judicial externship in Washington, D.C.

Is the externship paid? 

No.  Students will not receive any compensation for the externship.  However, students will receive 6 hours of course credit.

Is housing provided?

No.  Students arrange and pay for their own housing and transportation, but the Office of Career and Professional Services may be able to offer some assistance.  In addition, some participating courts provide a metro transit subsidy.