UC-DC Law Program: Application Process

To apply for a UCDC Law externship, follow these steps (clicking each step reveals more information about that step):

  • Step 1: Determine when enrollment in the UCDC program is best for your particular academic and career goals.
  • There are no course prerequisites, and students are free to enroll in the UCDC program as early as the fall of the second year, but you should consider waiting to do the Program until you have taken upper-year courses relevant to the placement: for a litigation placement, evidence, federal courts, advanced civil or criminal procedure and similar courses; for a Congressional placement, legislative process or drafting; for an administrative agency externship, administrative law; for an international organization, international law; and some course preparation or extracurricular experience in the subject matter area of the externship. Click here to read the eligibility requirements. The UCDC Program Director, King Hall’s Externship Coordinator and the Senior Assistant Dean for Student Affairs can advise you about your decision whether and when to apply. Bring any initial questions, including finding placements or completing the application, to the UCDC Program Director.
  • Step 2: Complete the UCDC Law application, and submit it by the deadline to the UCDC Program Director and to the King Hall Externship Coordinator.
  • Obtain a copy of the UCDC Application. Attach a resume, unofficial transcript, and any other materials you think will help us help you find an appropriate placement. Because there is no cap on enrollment, the UCDC Law application is informational, not competitive: it helps us to know you and to advise you effectively. Application deadlines are here. Late applications will be considered by permission, but it is in your interest to apply early, both to the Program and to potential placements of your choice.
  • Step 3: Start applying to placements immediately.
  • Remember, you apply on your own: we advise you as extensively as you want, but we do not apply to placements for you. If you are not sure where you would like to work and need additional counseling, please contact the UCDC Program Director, Nicole Lehtman (Nicole.Lehtman@ucdc.edu), for help.

    The Program Director will contact students to discuss placement options after students submit their applications. Nonetheless, we encourage you to begin your placement search, and apply for placements, even before you submit your UCDC Law application or receive our first post-application advice. We want that advice to be as helpful to you as possible in deciding where and how to apply to placements, so the more you know about your own goals and interests, and how they might be furthered in Washington, the better.

    When you apply to placements, prepare a resume and tailored cover letter and send them to each placement host office or organization. Explain in your letter that you will be externing in the UCDC Law Program in Washington, D.C. for a semester. To receive credit for a semester law school, you must extern for 40 hours a week for 14 weeks.

    Please see this page for more information on finding and choosing a placement.

    All placements, whether secured by you or by the Program, must be approved by the UCDC Program Director and include:

      •  Performance of substantive legal work under the direct supervision of an attorney
      •  Involvement with federal law (either legislative, executive, regulatory or advocacy work)
      •  Commitment from the externship supervisor to ensure a high-quality educational experience, including regular feedback, mentorship and insulation from purely clerical or administrative work that is inappropriate for law school credit.

    The UCDC Program Director can answer questions about a placement’s eligibility.

    If you learn that a security clearance is part of the externship application process, apply with as much lead time as possible, even if there’s no stated deadline.
  • Step 4: Report briefly on your progress.
  • Please provide us with brief twice-monthly progress reports from the time you apply until the time you secure a placement. Please email these reports to law@ucdc.edu, and to Rena Contreras (rgcontrreras@ucdavis.edu), the Externship Coordinator. Briefly tell us exactly where and when you have applied, to whom if to a specific person, any interviews with names and dates, decisions or timing of expected decisions, updates on your preferences, thoughts on how we can help, and up-to-date information on how we can reach you.
  • Step 5: Obtain approval from the Program Director before accepting a placement offer.
  • When you get an offer, thank the placement host and tell them you will give an answer as soon as the placement is approved. After an offer is made to you, the Program Director will contact the host office and secure its commitment to meet the UCDC placement criteria. You cannot accept any offer or enroll in the Program without this step.

    NOTE: also before accepting a placement offer, please check the Program start and end dates for the semester you plan to enroll. You must be at your placement for at least 14 weeks and you must attend all 14 mandatory seminar classes. Placement start and end dates normally track the start and end of classes at our participating schools, but a number of factors can alter that timetable.

    After the Program Director has approved your placement, you will be enrolled in the UCDC Program by the King Hall Registrar.
  • Step 6: Plan your logistics, including travel arrangements and housing, in California and Washington, D.C.
  • The Program does not provide or arrange for housing, but can advise you on neighborhoods, transportation and some nuts and bolts of Washington, D.C. life. We try to let each semester's students know one another's non-privileged contact information early enough to be useful for roommate searches and co-transportation. Plan on arriving a week before the seminar or placement begins, whichever is earlier, and staying until the end of the semester. Keep your travel arrangements as flexible as you can. Expect to have to change a return flight, for instance, depending on circumstances that arise once you are in Washington.

    King Hall students who receive financial aid may request funding for additional living expenses, including travel costs between UC Davis and UCDC for the term using the Revision Request for Additional Expenses.  Allow two weeks for processing. 
  • Step 7: Most importantly, please let us know that you are applying or considering the UCDC Program so that we can help you!
  • Ask questions and seek advice from the UCDC Program Director, Nicole Lehtman (Nicole.Lehtman@ucdc.edu), King Hall’s Externship Coordinator, Rena Contreras, (rgcontreras@ucdavis.edu), and the Senior Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. The Program Director is the best source of help for finding placements, logistics and information about living and working in Washington, D.C. The Externship Coordinator can discuss the requirements of the externship placement and the Dean for Student Affairs can help with questions regarding your program eligibility.