Washington, D.C., Summer Program

DC program web two cropeed

Each summer, approximately 20 students have the opportunity to take part in the Washington, D.C., Summer Program. Students work in substantive externships in D.C., accompanied by a high-quality academic program and a summer in the nation’s capital. The externship lasts at least seven weeks and students work at least 30 hours per week, in conjunction with taking classes. Students are paired with a supervisor at their externship, and the supervisor ensures that at least 80 percent of the student’s time is substantive work.

“The D.C. Summer Program is an amazing opportunity to live and work in the center of law, policy, and politics. You have the chance to work for any number of government agencies, legislative committees, lobbying groups, and other organizations, while also taking classes to lighten your load during the school year. Whether or not you want to end up in the District, it’s the perfect place to broaden your horizons and gain invaluable legal experience. Especially if you’re interested in any type of government work or the intersection of law and policy, this is the program for you.”

Sarah Pomeroy, Class of 2015

Professor Chris Walker directs the program. He has extensive experience working in the D.C. area, as he previously worked in D.C. at the U.S. Department of Justice, for a prominent litigation boutique, as a law clerk to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court, and most recently on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Throughout the school year, Professor Walker meets with the students to identify externships that are a good fit with the students’ interests and backgrounds and then assist in placing the students in those externships.

DC priyaStudents take a 2-credit course on The Ethics of Washington Lawyering, as well as a 3-credit externship seminar. In previous years, students have worked in major federal agencies and nonprofit groups that are often national leaders in their fields. Externships in the past few years have included the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Education, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the D.C. Office of the Attorney General. A year-by-year list of prior placements since 2003 is available under the Externships page.

Several trips have been included in past years, such as tours of the Capitol, CIA headquarters, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court, and White House. There are a number of social outings as well. Students speak highly of their time spent in D.C. and note the bonds they form with each other add to the value of the experience. For more information on the classes and field trips, visit the Summer Experience page and check out this Twitter thread recap of the 2019 summer program.

“The Washington, D.C., Summer Program is really nice because it gives students great substantive work right after their 1L year. I would recommend the program to anyone. It’s also been something that has been helpful to talk about in job interviews. Recruiters are really interested in what the program is about, how it works, and what kind of work I did at my externship.”

Cassie Pedicelli, Class of 2017