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Externships

The Externship Program is designed to provide law students with the opportunity to expand their legal education beyond the classroom setting. Students can earn academic credit while gaining professional experience by working under the supervision of an attorney and participating in a course taught by instructors who have experience in the various practice areas. Students will learn through hands on experiences as well as observation.


Externship Opportunities

Administrative Law Externship

Students enrolled in the Administrative Law Externship have the opportunity to work with federal and state agencies. They may work locally during the academic year and nationally in the summer.

Administrative Law externship students typically work in a general counsel's office or an office with substantially similar duties and assist the attorneys in performing legal research and drafting documents such as memoranda and briefs. Depending on the placement, students may also have the opportunity to observe court proceedings, depositions, and interviews of witnesses.

In addition to their work at their placements, students must attend a companion course where they will have the opportunity to reflect upon their fieldwork experience.

Previous placements include:

STATE
  • Fort Gordon, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate (Augusta, Georgia)
  • Fort Jackson, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate
  • Human Affairs Commission
  • Latin American Association (Atlanta, Georgia)
  • Santee Cooper
  • SC Attorney General's Office — Environmental Crimes
  • SC Attorney General's Office — Post Conviction Relief
  • SC Department of Corrections
  • SC Department of Education
  • SC Department of Employment Works
  • SC Department of Health and Environmental Control
  • SC Department of Health and Human Services
  • SC Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
  • SC Department of Natural Resources
  • SC Department of Revenue
  • SC PEBA
  • Ocean and Coastal Resources Management
  • Office of the Governor
  • University of South Carolina Office of Compliance
FEDERAL
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Health and Human Services
  • U.S. Attorney's Office, Civil Division
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Children's Law Externship

Students enrolled in the Children's Law Externship may work with various government agencies involving children's issues. These placements include the Department of Social Services, Solicitor's offices, as well as Public Defenders that represent youth offenders. Typically, students assist lawyers with research and drafting and they will have the opportunity to observe lawyering skills such as interviewing, counseling, and negotiation.

Students are required to attend a companion course that discusses, among other things, the issues of professional responsibility in the representation of parties in child welfare and juvenile matters before the Family Court.

Previous placements include:

  • SC Attorney General's Office of Human Trafficking
  • SC Legal Services
  • Kershaw County Department of Social Services
  • Kershaw County Guardian Ad Litem
  • Lexington County Department of Juvenile Justice
  • Lexington County Department of Social Services
  • Lexington County Public Defender
  • Richland County Public Defender
  • Richland County Solicitor
  • Richland County Department of Social Services

Criminal Law Externship

Students enrolled in the Criminal Law Externship have the opportunity to work with federal and state agencies. They may work locally during the academic year and nationally in the summer. Students have worked with the U.S. Attorney's Office, Federal Public Defender, SC Attorney General's Office, as well as various Solicitors and Public Defenders.

Typically, the students will assist the criminal law attorneys with legal research and drafting documents such as memoranda and briefs. Depending on the placement, students may also have the opportunity to observe court proceedings, witness client interviews, and visit local jails. In addition to their work at their placements, students must attend a companion course where the student will have the opportunity to reflect upon their fieldwork experiences.

Previous placements include:

STATE
  • Aiken County Solicitor
  • Beaufort County Solicitor
  • Charleston County Public Defender
  • Horry County Solicitor
  • Lexington County Public Defender
  • Lexington County Solicitor
  • Richland County Public Defender
  • Richland County Solicitor
  • South Carolina Attorney General's Office
  • South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense — Capital Trial Division
  • South Carolina Law Enforcement Division
  • South Carolina Victims Assistance Network
  • York County Public Defender
FEDERAL
  • Federal Public Defender
  • U.S. Attorney's Office, Criminal Division

Designing Access to Justice Technology Externship

For students interested in consumer law, elder law, or landlord-tenant law: learn how to make the law more accessible and useful for ordinary people. Students will work at least 8 hours per week as part of a technology initiatives project to develop scripts for guided interviews, training videos, and other online resources for self-represented litigants and pro bono lawyers. Software skills not required. The work will consist of substantive legal research; the observation of related proceedings in Magistrate or Probate Court; the translation of legal requirements and concepts into plain language; and the design and testing of online resources for lawyers and self-represented litigants. Students will work with the lead lawyer on the project, as well as the IT specialist and web content manager at South Carolina Legal Services. Students will also meet periodically with a faculty member to reflect upon their experience and learn about new developments in substantive legal technology.

Previous placements include:

STATE
  • SC Legal Services

In-House Counsel Externship

Students will have the opportunity to observe and participate in transactional law experiences while working with in-house corporate attorneys. Students may work with non-profit counsel as well as corporate legal departments. They will work directly under the supervision of an attorney in these offices. Students will have the opportunity to observe and participate in drafting corporate documents, attending meetings, assisting in various projects, and strengthening their research and writing skills.

In addition to the work at their placements, students must attend a companion class once a week to review substantive corporate law and reflect upon their fieldwork experiences.

Previous placements include:

  • AgFirst Farm Credit Bank
  • Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina
  • Fidelity National Title Insurance Company
  • Lake City Partnership Council
  • Palmetto Health
  • South Carolina PEBA
  • University of South Carolina's Technology Communication Office

Judicial Externship

Students enrolled in the Judicial Externship have the opportunity to work with federal or state judges. They will be exposed to the work of the federal or state judiciary by working directly with the judges and their law clerks. Typically, students will have the opportunity to observe court proceedings and conferences in chambers with the guidance of the supervising judge. The student may also assist the judges and the law clerks in research and drafting documents such as bench memoranda, jury instructions, and opinions. Students may be expected to provide the judge with analysis of court proceedings and proffer opinions regarding their observations.

In addition to their work at the court, students must attend a companion course that explores the role of the judiciary and to reflect upon their fieldwork experiences.

Previous placements include:

STATE

SUPREME COURT

  • The Honorable John Few
  • The Honorable Kaye Hearn

COURT OF APPEALS

  • The Honorable J. Douglas McCullough (NC)
  • The Honorable Bruce Williams

STATE TRIAL COURT

  • The Honorable DeAndrea Benjamin
  • The Honorable Paul Burch
  • The Honorable G. Thomas Cooper
  • The Honorable Edgar Gregory (NC)
  • The Honorable John C. Hayes III
  • The Honorable Robert Hood
  • The Honorable William P. Keesley
  • The Honorable Alison Renee Lee
  • The Honorable Casey Manning
  • The Honorable Knox McMahon
  • The Honorable Clifton Newman
  • The Honorable Thomas Russo

FAMILY COURT

  • The Honorable Paul Garfinkel
  • The Honorable Michelle Hurley
  • The Honorable Dorothy Mobley Jones
  • The Honorable George McFaddin
  • The Honorable Nancy C. McLin
  • The Honorable Leslie Riddle

MASTERS IN EQUITY

  • The Honorable James Spence
  • The Honorable Joseph Strickland

PROBATE COURT

  • The Honorable Amy McCulloch
  • The Honorable Carolyn Rogers

MAGISTRATE'S COURT

  • The Honorable Caroline Streater

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW COURT

  • The Honorable Deborah Brooks Durden
  • The Honorable Phillip Lenski

WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION

  • J. Keith Roberts, Esq.
FEDERAL

U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT

  • The Honorable Henry Floyd
  • The Honorable Dennis Shedd (by special application)

U.S. FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT

  • The Honorable Joseph Anderson
  • The Honorable Michelle Childs
  • The Honorable Robert Conrad (Western District of NC)
  • The Honorable R. Bryan Harwell
  • The Honorable Mary Geiger Lewis
  • The Honorable Margaret B. Seymour

U.S. FEDERAL MAGISTRATE COURT

  • The Honorable Paige Gossett

U.S. BANKRUPTCY COURT

  • The Honorable David Duncan
  • The Honorable John Waites

Legislative Externship

Students enrolled in the Legislation Externship have the opportunity to witness how proposed legislation is developed. Students will get the opportunity to evaluate proposed legislation for constitutionality, unintended ambiguities, and conflicts. Students are placed with a Lawyer-Legislator in the SC Senate or SC House of Representatives.

Students may be assigned to evaluate bills, research potential legal issues raised by legislation, or prepare written reports. The student's work product will be submitted to the supervising lawyer-legislator. Students are also required to attend a companion class for directed reflection upon their field experiences.

Previous placements include:

SOUTH CAROLINA SENATE

  • Senator Chip Campsen
  • Senator Tom Davis
  • Senator Marlon Kimpson
  • Senator Shane Massey
  • Senator Luke Rankin

SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE

  • Representative Bruce Bannister
  • Representative J. Derham Cole, Jr.
  • Representative Laurie Funderburk
  • Representative Chris Hart
  • Representative Walt McLeod
  • Representative Tommy Pope
  • Representative Todd Rutherford
  • Representative Ronnie Sabb
  • Representative James E. Smith, Jr.


Educational Outcomes

Students enrolled in the externship program are given the opportunity to enhance their professional legal skills. Depending on the externship placement, students can develop their research and writing, interpersonal skills, professionalism, and professional responsibility. In addition to working on substantive tasks like drafting memos, assisting with brief writing, and legal research, students also have the opportunity to observe attorneys and judges both in the courtroom and behind the scenes.