How to Evaluate Law School Internships, Study Abroad and Study Abroad | Admission procedure for law

If you choose proper law school Hopefully, you’ll get involved on a campus where you’ll feel at home as you meet peers, professors, classes, and activities that match your interests.

That said, once you get over the hard part first year JD program and realize that you still have two years ahead of you, you may find that you are more than ready for a change of scenery.

If first summer at law school doesn’t scratch that itch, consider spending some time off campus through an internship, study abroad, or degree program.

More law schools than ever offer such opportunities, from externships at a local law firm to a semester abroad dealing with international and comparative law.

Whether you are an applicant looking for a law school that offers such opportunities or a current student considering these options, here are four questions to consider when evaluating off-campus programs:

  • Is the program well established?
  • Is academic credit available?
  • Are there any off-campus opportunities unavailable?
  • How will the program support your career goals?

Is the program well established?

Some off-campus opportunities are deeply integrated into law school curricula. For example, Northeastern University Faculty of Law in Massachusetts requires second- and third-year students to practice law off campus through a unique “co-op” program. Washburn University School of Law in Kansas offers the Third Year Anywhere program, through which students can work under the supervision of an attorney anywhere in the world while taking Washburn Law courses online.

However, not all off-campus opportunities benefit from strong institutional support. Some may be new and experimental; others may exist more on paper than in reality. Staff turnover, changes in funding, or university travel policies may prevent participation.

Do not assume that every program listed on a school website he is active. If in doubt, ask admissions officers or current students about such programs and how you might be able to participate.

Is academic credit available?

Earning off-campus school credit should be the hallmark of a strong internship or study opportunity. After all, it would be a shame to fall out of the way to graduate just because of a life-changing externship experience.

Unfortunately, law students sometimes complain about administrative hurdles that make it difficult to get credit outside of school. While the American Bar Association has relaxed these requirements in recent years, universities and state bar associations may set stricter rules.

Before joining, make sure you understand the rules regarding such programs so you can earn credit and graduate on time with your peers.

Are there any off-campus opportunities unavailable?

Before you venture too far from campus, make sure you know what you’re missing out on besides your friends back home.

If a certain class or legal clinic is critical to your goals, consider completing it on campus before taking time off. You never know if it will become unavailable in the future, for example due to the retirement of a supervising professor.

How will the program support your career goals?

It can be tempting to choose an off-campus program in an exciting place you’ve always wanted to visit. But treating this opportunity like a vacation can mean you miss out on more worldly opportunities that can help you in your job search after graduation.

If, for example, you could not choose a law school or location where you hope to work, consider using off-campus opportunities to build connections within legal market.

That’s one reason dozens of law schools offer students the opportunity to spend a semester engaging in federal law and policy in Washington, D.C. The nation’s capital is a key legal labor hub that attracts graduates law schools across the country.

If you are interested in working internationally, the chance to spend a semester in Rome or Hong Kong can be invaluable. But if you’re just doing it for the warm weather and delicious food, consider the trade-offs.