Maximize Your Experience

  1. Plan your schedule far ahead to make sure you are on track for graduation, completion of certificates, and are addressing any academic performance goals. It can be helpful to map out your ideas and prospective timing for an externship or clinic as you complete your first year at King Hall.
  2. Externships are a self-directed educational experience. Your first assignment will be to write a professional development plan at the beginning of the semester. That will create your own personal syllabus for the semester. 
  3. Find and review information about prospective placements -- attend OCS events and student organization panels with attorneys, talk to the Externship Director, and seek out students who have previously externed at the office or agency of interest to you. Use social media, such as Linked In, to seek out connections.
  4. If possible, observe in advance the working conditions of the placement. For example, most courtrooms are open to the public, and you can sit and watch courtroom proceedings conducted by a judge for whom you are interested in interning. Or if observation isn’t possible, set up an “informational interview’ with an appropriate contact.
  5. Certain placements - most frequently Criminal Justice placements - will not permit students to work until a background check has been completed. This process can take several weeks, sometimes longer, and you need to plan ahead to align with your application process and prospective working dates. Security checks are also required for federal agencies and some, such as the State Department, can take months to process. 
  6. Schedule your time in at least four-hour blocks at the placement.
  7. Keep a calendar of appointments, deadlines, court appearances, etc. Time management is an essential skill for professional success.
  8. Make sure you understand and comply with the organization's rules about confidentiality.
  9. Make a good impression from the very beginning. Complete and submit assignments in a timely manner, and don't commit to assignments that you cannot finish.
  10. Make sure you understand the assignment and ask clarifying questions. 
  11. If problems begin to develop, seek out the Externship Director for advice on how to proceed.
  12. Maintain an open-minded and critical learning state of mind throughout. Get outside of your comfort zone, to take on new challenges.