Public Interest Externship Program

pub interest externship webThrough the Public Interest Externship Program, the college places approximately 40 students per semester in state and federal governmental agencies and with non-profit organizations. The college has established relationships with a host of state and federal government agencies and nonprofit organizations throughout the state, including the Federal Public Defenders’ Office, the Franklin County Public Defender, the Legal Aid Society of Columbus, and the Ohio Children’s Defense Fund. In addition to these and other placements, students have the opportunity to find their own placements.

The Public Interest Externship Program provides students with practical legal experience in an academic setting that monitors the quality of the placements and asks students to reflect critically upon their experiences. Additionally, this program provides much-needed assistance to governmental entities and non-profit organizations that further the public good.

Externs attend an orientation designed to prepare them for work at the placements, are instructed in professionalism and ethics, and attend monthly classes that enable students to share their experiences.

The program runs the full 14 weeks of the Autumn and Spring Semesters and 7 weeks of the Summer Semester. Students receive 3 credits in Autumn and Spring and their choice of 2 or 4 credits for the Summer Semester. The course is graded on a “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” basis.

The course requirements include 50 hours of work per credit hour earned, attendance at the orientation and classes, weekly journal entries, a short paper about what the student learned during the externship, a sample of the student’s written work product, and an evaluation of the student’s work by his or her attorney supervisor.

Selection Process

Selection is on a competitive but broad basis. A demonstrated interest in public interest work and the capacity to represent the college well are important criteria. Law school grades will be neither irrelevant nor controlling. Under faculty policy, third-year students are given preference in the selection process. The placements’ preferences will also be taken into consideration.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

Students interested in Spring (Winter) 2014 externships must submit an application, a resume, and a 5-page writing sample to April Davis by 5 p.m. on Friday, November 22, 2013. Submissions may be made by email or by delivering a hard copy to her office in Room 104. The deadline for applications for Summer 2014 and Fall 2014 externships is March 28, 2014. An informational meeting will be held prior to the March deadline.

Selected students will be notified shortly after the close of the application period. Students with questions about the public interest externship program may visit April Davis in Room 104 or email her at davis.3537@osu.edu.