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Joseph F. Rice School of Law

  • Student Interviewing


The Externship Program is designed to provide law students with the opportunity to expand their legal education beyond the classroom setting.

Externships are available to 2Ls and 3Ls who have completed relevant prerequisite coursework.
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 Classes at South Carolina Law

Students will be exposed to the field of Administrative Law by working with federal or state agencies. Typically, students will work in a general counsel’s office or an office with substantially similar duties and assist the attorneys in research and drafting documents such as research memoranda and briefs. Students will also have the opportunity to observe court proceedings as well as depositions and interviewing witnesses. In addition to their work at the agency, students will meet periodically with a faculty member to reflect upon their fieldwork experiences. 

Students have the opportunity to work with a lawyer employed by a child-serving agency; an agency involved with child law issues where a child may be charged with a crime or is a victim of a crime; or with an attorney who represents children. Students' work includes hands-on experience with the supervising attorney to engage in the representation or advocacy process for those children based upon the legal setting chosen for the individual extern. Students will observe the lawyer as the lawyer represents clients and also attend meetings, hearings, trials and other legal proceedings in order to experience the legal process firsthand. Students will provide assistance to the assigned lawyer by drafting memorandums, legal motions, proposed orders and providing legal research relevant to each case. Students will be immersed in each system as it relates to the assigned agency’s duties and responsibilities to improve outcomes for children in the legal system. 

Students have the opportunity to learn first-hand about the Criminal Justice System by working with Solicitors and Public Defender Offices in various counties, the South Carolina Attorney General’s office, and federal criminal agencies. Students will assist in the preparation of materials for court and observe attorneys in trial. 

Students have the opportunity to gain insight into the distinctive characteristics of small and family-owned businesses, explore possible career paths, and continue to develop their professional identity, while providing assistance to organizations and agencies that advise low-income and under-represented South Carolinians who are seeking to start, sustain, and scale a business venture. Students will gain a deeper appreciation of the factors that may affect decisions concerning choice of entity form, capital structure, allocation of financial and control rights, protection of intellectual property, and regulatory compliance.

Students will be exposed to the unique role of in-house counsel. The student will observe how the office functions and what impacts in-house counsel to decide whether to manage certain issues or seek outside counsel. Externship placements would typically include: general counsel offices in universities, hospitals, public utilities, and private corporations. Students will have the opportunity to strengthen their legal writing, research and analytical skills by assisting in various projects like the preparation of materials such as employee handbooks, memoranda of understanding, and compliance documents. Students may also have the opportunity to observe contract negotiations, interviews with employees, and possibly discussions with outside counsel.  Further, students will have the opportunity to observe the attorneys role on the organization and the relationship between the attorney and “client.”

Students will be exposed to the work of the federal or state judiciary by working with the judge and the law clerk. Typically, students will have the opportunity to observe court proceedings and conferences in chambers with the guidance of the supervising judge. Students may also assist the judge and the law clerk in research and drafting documents such as bench memoranda, jury instructions, and opinions.

Students have the opportunity to gain insight into the world of public interest lawyering, explore possible career paths, and continue to develop their professional identity while providing needed assistance to organizations and agencies that affect the well-being, rights, health, or finances of the public at large, most commonly advocating for those living in poverty or marginalized populations. Many students will be placed with local organizations and state agencies that serve low-income and under-represented South Carolinians.   

Students have the opportunity to gain valuable insight into the distinctive characteristics of technology and innovation law practice areas such as data privacy, cybersecurity, fintech, software and technology licensing and outsourcing, and intellectual property.  Student will explore possible career paths, including certifications, and continue to develop their professional identity, while providing assistance to law firms, companies, and state agencies.

Externship Placements

All externship placements are audited by the Director of Externships. Students who would like an opportunity at a placement not included on the list below must seek approval from the Director of Externships to ensure the placement meets the ABA and Externship Program’s requirements.  

Here is a list of prior placements:

  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Federal Highway Administration
  • Health and Human Services
  • U.S. Air Force, Judge Advocate General
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office, Civil Division
  • U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy
  • Coastal Conservation League
  • 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)
  • Municipal Association of South Carolina
  • Santee Cooper
  • South Carolina Attorney General’s Office — Environmental Crimes
  • South Carolina Attorney General’s Office — Post Conviction Relief
  • South Carolina Conservation Bank
  • South Carolina Department of Administration
  • South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (SCDAODAS)
  • South Carolina Department of Children’s Advocacy
  • South Carolina Department of Corrections
  • South Carolina Department of Disability and Special Needs
  • South Carolina Department of Education
  • South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW)
  • South Carolina Department of Environmental Services
  • South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
  • South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
  • South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
  • South Carolina Department of Public Health
  • South Carolina Department of Public Safety
  • South Carolina Department of Revenue
  • South Carolina Enterprise Privacy Office
  • South Carolina Environmental Law Project
  • South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff
  • South Carolina Office of Resilience
  • South Carolina PEBA
  • Ocean and Coastal Resources Management
  • Office of the Governor
  • University of South Carolina Office of Compliance
  • University of South Carolina Rule of Law Collaborative
  • Aiken County Department of Social Services
  • Beaufort County School District
  • Berkeley County School District
  • Catawba Nation
  • Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children
  • 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
  • Newberry County Department of Social Services
  • Palmetto Center for Children's Legal Access
  • Richland County CASA
  • Richland County Public Defender
  • Richland County Public Defender’s Office — Family Court
  • Richland County Solicitor
  • Richland School District One
  • South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center
  • South Carolina Attorney General’s Office of Human Trafficking
  • South Carolina Department of Children’s Advocacy
  • South Carolina Department of Education
  • South Carolina Department of Social Services, Regional Office
  • South Carolina Legal Services
  • Federal Public Defender
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office, Criminal Division
  • Aiken County Solicitor’s Office
  • Beaufort County Solicitor’s Office
  • Charleston County Public Defender’s Office
  • Colleton County Solicitor’s Office
  • Florence County Solicitor's Office
  • Greenville County Solicitor’s Office
  • Hendersonville District Attorney’s Office (Hendersonville, NC)
  • Horry County Solicitor’s Office
  • Kershaw County Solicitor’s Office
  • Lexington County Public Defender’s Office
  • Lexington County Solicitor’s Office
  • Orangeburg Public Defender’s Office
  • Richland County Public Defender’s Office
  • Richland County Public Defender’s Office — Family Court
  • Richland County Solicitor’s Office
  • Safe and Stable Families, Domestic Violence Project (Atlanta, Georgia)
  • South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • South Carolina Attorney General’s Office
  • South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense - Appellate Division
  • South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense — Capital Trial Division
  • South Carolina Law Enforcement Division
  • South Carolina Prosecution Coordination Commission
  • South Carolina Victims Assistance Network
  • York County Public Defender’s Office
  • Blanchard Machinery Company
  • Callison Tighe
  • i3 Resources
  • Robinson Gray
  • South Carolina Council on Competitiveness
  • Sowell + DuRant
  • AgFirst Farm Credit Bank
  • AstenJohnson
  • Belk
  • Charlotte Hornets Sports and Entertainment
  • Dominion Energy
  • Duke Energy
  • Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina
  • Fidelity National Title Insurance Company
  • Furman University
  • GrowCo
  • Honda of South Carolina
  • Keep It Green
  • Lake City Partnership Council
  • Lexington Medical Center
  • Midlands Technical College
  • National Wild Turkey Federation
  • Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation
  • Office Depot
  • Piedmont Hospital (Augusta)
  • Prisma Health
  • Richland County Sheriff’s Office
  • Samsung
  • Santee Cooper
  • South Carolina Emerging Technology Association
  • South Carolina PEBA
  • Southeastern Freight Lines
  • Sundance Institute
  • Trane Technologies
  • TRU Simulation + Training
  • University of South Carolina Office of Innovation, Partnership, and Economic Engagement
  • University of South Carolina’s Technology Commercialization Office
  • The Honorable Joseph Anderson
  • The Honorable Robert Conrad (Western District of NC)
  • The Honorable R. Bryan Harwell
  • The Honorable Mary Geiger Lewis
  • The Honorable Sherri A. Lydon
  • The Honorable Paige Gossett
  • The Honorable Shiva V. Hodges
  • The Honorable David Duncan
  • The Honorable Elisabetta G.M. Gasparini
  • The Honorable John Waites
  • The Honorable J. Michelle Childs
  • The Honorable DeAndrea Gist Benjamin
  • The Honorable Deborah Brooks Durden
  • The Honorable Milton Kimpson
  • The Honorable Phillip Lenski
  • The Honorable John C. Few
  • The Honorable Kaye G. Hearn
  • The Honorable Frank R. Addy, Jr.
  • The Honorable DeAndrea Benjamin
  • The Honorable Paul Burch
  • The Honorable G. Thomas Cooper
  • The Honorable Diane Schafer Goodstein
  • The Honorable Edgar Gregory (NC)
  • The Honorable Eugene C. Griffith, Jr.
  • 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 Debra R. McCaslin
  • The Honorable Walton J. McLeod, IV
  • The Honorable Knox McMahon
  • The Honorable Clifton Newman
  • The Honorable Thomas Russo
  • The Honorable John D. Geathers
  • The Honorable Blake A. Hewitt
  • The Honorable J. Douglas McCullough (NC)
  • The Honorable Paula H. Thomas
  • The Honorable Bruce Williams
  • South Carolina Court of Appeals, Staff Attorney’s Office
  • The Honorable Robert E. Newton
  • The Honorable Rosalyn Frierson-Smith
  • The Honorable Michelle Hurley
  • The Honorable Gwendlyne Y. Jones
  • The Honorable Nancy C. McLin
  • The Honorable C. Vance Stricklin, Jr.
  • The Honorable Thomas H. White, IV
  • The Honorable Caroline Streater
  • The Honorable James Spence
  • The Honorable Joseph Strickland
  • The Honorable Amy McCulloch
  • The Honorable Carolyn Rogers
  • J. Keith Roberts, Esq.


Externs have the opportunity to work on a variety of South Carolina State Senate Committees.

Externs have the opportunity to work on a variety of South Carolina House of Representatives Committees.

  • Center for Heirs' Property Preservation
  • Charleston Legal Access
  • Disability Rights South Carolina
  • Justice 360
  • Lowcountry Legal Volunteers
  • One80 Place
  • Palmetto Center for Children’s Legal Access
  • Rainy Day Fund
  • South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center
  • South Carolina Legal Services Corporation
  • Chappell, Chappell, and Newman
  • South Carolina Council on Competitiveness
  • Nelson Mullins
  • Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd

Externship Testimonials

Externships provide students with an in-depth, professional experience. Here is what our alumni and students have to say about their externship experience at USC Law:

“Through the Administrative Law Externship, I was able to build a highly transferrable skillset, expand my legal network to include active judges and attorneys in my field, and get academic credit for applying my classroom instruction in the real world. I had the opportunity to work under the General Counsel of the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission. Beyond the support and advice I received, I was assigned highly substantive and engaging work. This included drafting guidance documents for administrative hearings, crafting the agency’s position on novel issues, and briefing the legal team on inter-branch government activities, like budget committee hearings and proposed legislation that may impact the Commission. I left the externship with fantastic work product, writing samples, connections, and knowledge that I have used to get a summer opportunity with a federal agency. All in all, I cannot recommend the Administrative Law Externship enough. It is a great fit for any law student wanting to get out of the classroom and gain hands-on experience in the school year.”

"My externship placement with the South Carolina Department of Education has been one of the best experiences I have had in law school. The Administrative Law Externship gave me the ability to explore a possible interest of mine to determine whether it was an area of law I would like to practice after graduation. It is perfect for the summer and the once a week seminar class with other Administrative Law externs offered support and validation. The feedback I received from my supervisor helped me develop my writing and drafting skills and the experiences I was able to have were things I would have never thought possible at the Department of Ed. Even while in the middle of COVID, I was still able to have a well-rounded experience. I was able to sit in on depositions, go out of the office and ask questions to witnesses with other attorneys present, draft orders, and conduct research. All in all, I highly recommend the summer Administrative Law Externship to any rising 3L as it helps in networking and sharpens various legal skills."

"The Administrative Law Externship was absolutely worth doing this summer. I worked closely with multiple experienced attorneys during my externship at the South Carolina Department of Corrections, and they each went out of their way to provide me with interesting assignments to work on, while also being nothing but supportive throughout the time I was there. I worked on many motions that were subsequently filed, as well as researched topics that the Agency may use to influence actual policy. In addition, the environment of the Office of General Counsel was eminently professional and not “prison-like.” If you have the opportunity to enroll in the Externship Program, you should take advantage of it."

"My experience with the administrative law externship will be the crown jewel of my legal education. To work alongside Joe Shenkar, general counsel for the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS), has truly been a blessing. During this externship I conducted nationwide legal research, assisted in contract negotiations, represented DAODAS at a conference in DC, and drafted a policy memorandum for governor’s office. This is an externship with a purpose — a mission — which if you recognize you will have every opportunity for professional development imaginable. I cannot speak highly enough of my experience and gladly recommend this opportunity to anyone interested in the mission of DAODAS."

"My externship with the Department of Health and Environmental Control was a great chance to see the gears in motion. I had the opportunity to sit in on due-process hearings and a Board meeting for an upcoming rule-making change.  With the feedback of my professor and my externship supervisor, I was also able to improve my writing and research skills. The attorneys at the Department wanted to get me involved at every opportunity, and I am very thankful for the experience."

"My externship with the Civil Rights Division of the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Not only did I get to see firsthand the types of civil rights issues that Medicaid beneficiaries may experience, I got to make a difference with the work and research that I did. I got an insider view into the inner workings of a state agency and how it operates. I am so lucky to have gotten to meet so many amazing people within the government who work hard to make the state better for all!"

"I highly recommend the Administrative Law Externship for students who want to learn more about the administrative law decision-making process. Participating in the Administrative Law Externship Program was a rewarding experience for me. Not only did I learn more than I could have ever hoped for, but I also was able to see real legal issues in a real-world setting. The externship program allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of government agencies as well as put my administrative law classroom knowledge to use outside of the classroom. My externship has taught me research and analytical skills that will be helpful in becoming a practicing attorney."

"The Administrative Law Externship has been one of the best experiences I have had in law school. The attorneys at the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation are so helpful and willing to work with you. You learn a lot about the administrative process and are able to sit in on hearings to get a broader understanding of how agencies operate. This was absolutely a phenomenal experience and I would definitely do it again if given the choice!"

"Both my placement at Santee Cooper and my supervising attorney were extraordinary. Working there not only strengthened my ability to advocate, business knowledge, and research skills, it also helped me clarify my career path. It was a wonderful place to get my hands dirty with an assortment of legal issues and to make recommendations to my supervisor in a safe space. Her feedback on my work was a huge eye-opener. In law school, we don’t often have the chance to hear whether the position we take on an issue is the correct one or best for the client, or even if there are better solutions we had not thought of. I can’t recommend this experience enough!"

"Overall, my experience at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has been very rewarding and I think I have grown a lot. Not only have I gained a better understanding of the inner workings of administrative law, I feel that my experience has solidified my desire to work in this area. During my externship I have improved my researching skills immensely. I know this will be a useful skill that I will be able to utilize throughout my final year of law school and beyond."

"An externship is a great opportunity for students to specifically select an area of law in which they would like to gain more experience, which is different from a law clerk position because your chances of obtaining a law clerk position in your specific area of preference are much more limited. For instance, prior to my externship I know that I would like to practice education law, including special education law and eventually get into education policy. This is a very specific and narrow field, and there are very few firms and opportunities in this area.

The administrative externship was my greatest opportunity to gain more exposure to this field by working for the SC Department of Education in the Office of General Counsel. I was able to work in all three of these specific areas. I worked with the attorneys who specialized in special education law. I was able to learn more about South Carolina education policies and policy making by attending monthly meetings of the SC State Board of Education. I also learned about the overlap of education law and employment law when I worked with cases involving breach of contract and teacher disciplinary cases.

Not only did I gain more experience in the area of law that I prefer, but also I was able to make connections with education law professionals who worked for the Department of Education and for firms that specialize in this area. My externship has also lead to other employment opportunities, and as law students, that’s our ultimate goal. I hope everyone has as great an experience as I did!"

"An externship is a great opportunity to 1) gain experience and add it to your resume, and 2) an even better opportunity to meet people. My supervisor at the Division of Natural Resources and just telling people that I was an extern there has led to many conversations at networking events (always leads to “Oh! You like environmental law and land use? I should introduce you to so-and-so,” or “Do you know xyz?” etc.)."

"I really enjoyed my placement, and it solidified my interest in crimes against children prosecution. I also am incredibly happy that I got to learn from and watch an attorney that is respected on both sides of the aisle for her prosecution style."

"The Externship Program at USC School of Law has allowed me to gain hand-on experience that has shaped my career path. I externed at the SC Attorney General’s Office in the State Grand Jury Unit and assisted on domestic violence and criminal sexual conduct cases. That experience really prepared me for my summer position clerking at the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. This semester I did the Children’s Law Externship and was able to work in the juvenile unit at the 5th Circuit Public Defender’s Office. The externship program has provided me invaluable knowledge and experiences and has also given me the rare opportunity to work on both the prosecution and defense sides of criminal law before graduating. I highly recommend all of our externship classes to any law student."

"I had the pleasure of participating in children’s law externship. I was placed at the Kershaw County Guardian ad Litem office. It was such an honor and privilege working with this organization. It was nice to gain firsthand experience with individuals whose sole purpose is to advocate for the best interest of children. I had never met such dedicated and devoted people, who truly go above and beyond to ensure that those children who have been abused and/or neglected are represented in court. I was in awe with the program and what it had to offer, so much so that I became a guardian ad litem myself and I have the children’s law externship to thank for this wonderful opportunity."

"The Children’s Law Externship was one of the best experiences I’ve had in law school. Working with lawyers at the Attorney General’s office who prosecute child abuse cases everyday encouraged me to pursue a job as a solicitor after law school so that I too can be a voice for those victims who cannot fight for themselves. Not only did the Children’s Law Externship inspire my career choice, it also gave me practical skills, like interviewing victims and working in an office environment that I could not have obtained in the classroom. I wholeheartedly recommend any externship to any law student."

"My externship with the South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (SCACDL) was invaluable to my law school education and the best experience I have had at the law school thus far. Through the externship program, I was exposed to an area of law that I never would have seen. I frequented the State House lobby, networked with State Senators and Representatives, and met all of the South Carolina Supreme Court Justices. Additionally, I attended Judiciary Committee meetings in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. At these meetings I listened to debate on the newest legislation coming out of South Carolina on unique topics such as criminalization of artificial intelligence, judicial selection reform, and imposing age limits on social media. This externship gave me a perspective on state politics and legislation that I will forever cherish!"

“My externship at the South Carolina Attorney General's Office was one of my favorite law school experiences. Clerking for the State Grand Jury introduced me to an incredible team of attorneys and staff who worked with me to teach me how to improve my legal research skills. Learning in the real world is different from learning in the classroom, and conducting legal research, drafting evidentiary reports, and preparing indictments for real cases solidified my interest in criminal law. Not only did I love going to work every day, but every day was full of interesting and meaningful work with high stakes. Moreover, joining a close, serious team with a positive work environment made this semester special. Everyone should take an externship to experience the day-to-day of various legal fields truly.”

"Participating in the externship program was an unexpected turning point in my law school career, because it marked the first time that my place within the practice of law felt real and within reach. I spent my summer doing death penalty defense with the Capital Division at the South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense. From the start I was thrown into trial work and given assignments for cases that expanded my range of skill and knowledge. I got to focus intently on a handful of individual cases, and even meet with the clients. But beyond the obvious practical benefit of this work, I am even more grateful for the intangible effects it had in improving my confidence and giving me a greater sense of purpose and responsibility. My time at SCCID gave me a sense of direction that I had been missing, and has provided much needed perspective on where I want to go in my career. This applies not merely to what areas of law catch my attention, but to the kind of people I want to be around and the kind of culture and environment I want to make a career in. This wouldn't have been possible without the incredible people I was able to meet through the externship program, who were quick to take me under their wing and include me in social and networking opportunities that are now leading to potential jobs. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't benefit from this program in some way."

"My externship experience at the Attorney General’s was one of the most fulfilling experiences that I’ve had at the law school. Not only did I work with wonderful people, but I learned so many practical things about criminal law and had the opportunity to use my legal research skills. I truly enjoyed the wide-range of work that I was exposed to, because I was able to observe attorneys in court, attend plea hearings, and help the attorneys prepare for trial. Before this externship, I took trial ad and I feared the courtroom, but now that has changed. I’ve learned so much about the criminal system and the role that prosecutors play. Prosecutors truly have the power to help people, who are at their lowest point, and this is what touched me the most."

"My placement at the Richland County PD’s Office was incredible, in every conceivable way. Not only did I have endless opportunities to put my legal mind and skills to the test, but it helped me see the role my work played in the overall system, which was an invaluable experience. This is hands-down the most hands-on clerkship I’ve ever worked, and would recommend this externship experience to any future extern looking to get down and dirty in the criminal defense field."

"My criminal law externship has been one of the most fulfilling experiences I have participated in. As a student with no legal background or work history, I feared my skills from school would not meet the standard for the legal work environment. After spending seven weeks with the Lexington Public Defender’s Office, I feel much more confident in my ability to perform a legal job. The analytical skills I developed in school can be tailored around research tactics used in any law firm. I was able to bring relevant cases to my supervisors and found helpful cases we used for trial. In addition to gaining skills for the work place, the criminal law externship also opens your eyes to a world that many fail to acknowledge. There are so many issues with incarceration rates that play into a backed up legal system. Having this job over the summer has given me a new perspective on my life and allowed me to empathize with others. I am grateful to have the opportunity to provide assistance to those in need of my services and I am proud that I was capable of providing effective assistance."

"If you are interested in federal law enforcement, or federal criminal practice in general, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is a great place to get experience. The attorneys at the USAO immediately make you feel like part of the team and give you the chance to contribute from the start. You will have countless opportunities to research complex federal issues and attend a variety of court proceedings. You will also be exposed to fascinating subject matter and case facts while getting hands on experience in federal law enforcement by learning how to draft documents like indictments, motions, and PCR briefs. My externship at the U.S. Attorney’s Office has been one of my favorite law school experiences and I enjoyed going to work every day. I cannot recommend this externship opportunity enough."

"The Externship Program has been such a rewarding experience and a great opportunity to learn intricate details about practicing criminal law (including how to do an initial client interview; how to handle first and second appearances; and negotiating with prosecutors) as well as the opportunity to meet so many lawyers, judges, support staff, and clients."

"I highly recommend the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) externship for those who have a combined interest in criminal and administrative law. The experience you will receive while working there is unique, as the supervising attorney handles legal questions and cases that arise from all over the state. There is a good combination of compliance-type work and criminal law research and writing. You may also be exposed to legislative research. Most of all, the people you will meet are incredibly friendly and helpful! This externship is not only a great way to maintain your current skills and learn some new ones, but it is an excellent networking opportunity. I am forever grateful to the externship program and the people at SLED for providing me with this invaluable opportunity while in law school."

"My summer externship at the Attorney General’s Office has reminded me that I am in law school because I want to be a lawyer and I am going to LOVE being a lawyer. This is honestly the best thing that a person gains from doing an externship. It is easy to forget why you are in law school and to start thinking “wow what if I really just suck at this and no one had the heart to tell me?” This externship has wiped my fears away. I remember why I enrolled in law school. I got my confidence back and that is truly what I needed this summer."

"My summer externship with the Capital Trial Division of the South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense was an incredible opportunity to work hands-on with pending death penalty cases. Working side-by-side with an experienced attorney allowed me to meet several clients and complete work that furthered the case for the defense. The legal work I completed was substantive work-product material necessary for the defense’s case-at-hand. My goals for the program were to learn more about the criminal justice system and ensure that all of these indigent clients facing the death penalty received the best defense possible. It is an honor for me to say that these goals have well-been accomplished."

"During my externship I was able to find cases or statutes that allowed the attorneys to move forward with trial preparation and would provide the basis for the arguments that they would make during trial. It was a good feeling to have an attorney slap me high five when I resolved a critical issue or hear them cite the cases that I found on the record in court. Sure, some of these issues that I was able to resolve may have been an inevitable discovery, that if the attorneys did the research they would have found them too, the point is that I was the one who found them. No matter how strongly you feel that you would be able to do something given the opportunity, you don’t truly know until you do it. For me, this externship program gave me the opportunity to do just that, to show myself that I can work in a fast paced, high pressured legal environment and not just survive, but thrive."

The summer Criminal Law Externship was an invaluable experience that allowed me to convert the classroom to the workroom. Being able to apply actual concepts learned in the classroom to the real world, allowed me to see just how great of a job our professors do and to further envision my future. Most importantly, not only did the program allow me to gain great practical experience in a prosecution setting, but it gave me the opportunity to build relationships with some great attorneys that will last throughout my career.

"My externship with the Federal Public Defender’s Office was an excellent opportunity to work one-on-one with an experienced lawyer in a real-life context. I was given both the freedom and responsibility to work on a long-term project that affected people’s freedom. It was a very useful and rewarding experience and I am happy that I took the opportunity to gain a new perspective."

"The In-House Externship with Prisma Health during the summer was an incredible experience. It was a fast-paced environment, so no day was ever the same. I was assigned a range of tasks which truly sharpened my research and writing skills. I was paired with each attorney in the department so I could learn something valuable from them all. I was included in departmental meetings, corporate meetings, a workers compensation review, and several mediations. I was able to network with outside counsel and gained several mentors because of it. The externship has definitely been a highlight of my entire law school experience!"

"Choosing to do the In-House Externship Program with AstenJohnson is one of the best decisions I have ever made.  As an extern, I was able to work hands on with the general counsel of an international company and gain valuable experience that can only be learned in the Externship Program.  For anyone with an interest in corporate or transactional law, I highly recommend the In-House Counsel Externship Program."

"I have truly enjoyed my time working as a law clerk with the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina (ECSC). Not only did this externship placement directly relate to my personal career goals but I was able to valuable insight into the life of general counsel of an entity. As a law clerk, I was able to research and write legal memos concerning varying subject matter. Furthermore, I was able to engage with a number of different stakeholders which gave me a valuable perspective. I am very fortunate to have gained a great mentor and I am looking forward to continuing to work as a law clerk for the ECSC next semester."

“Getting to spend my last semester in law school with Judge Childs was nothing short of incredible. Seeing Judge Childs and her chamber at work reassured me that our judiciary always strives to find the right answer, even when it isn't an outcome they particularly like. This opportunity also allowed me to sharpen my legal research and writing abilities in an environment most law students and lawyers will never be exposed to. And my work with Judge Childs helped me build confidence as I enter my career, reminding me that I can do hard things, excel in new legal areas, and hold my own with the brightest minds in our legal community. Simply put, I will treasure this experience forever."

"In the Spring of 2023, I had the joy of externing with The Honorable Michelle Hurley in Family Court. Throughout my law school career, I learned the law and was able to take a test at the end of the semester to prove that I knew the law. However, during my externship with Judge Hurley, I began developing a love for the law and embraced the law. While sitting next to Judge Hurley, I admired how Judge Hurley knew the law like the back of her hand, and used the law to ensure just results for parties involved. I am a firm believer that people learn best from someone’s actions, and not someone’s words. I learned invaluable lessons from Judge Hurley’s actions that I will take with me into my legal career. One of my favorite lessons learned from Judge Hurley’s actions was remaining kind and humble, while in a position of power. I am truly thankful for participating in the externship program with Judge Hurley."

"I loved my time working with Judge Hewitt and the South Carolina Court of Appeals. This opportunity exposed me to new judicial and legal networking connections and drastically improved my understanding of the judicial system. Working alongside Judge Hewitt has been fantastic.  He is knowledgeable, invested, and engaged with the practice of law and his externs. Throughout the semester I improved both my writing and legal analysis skills. Overall, I couldn't think of a better way to learn during my law school experience."

"I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of my externship. The judge and her clerks pushed me to become a better writer and researcher. I was nervous my first week because I did not know what I had gotten into, but this class by far has been one of the best parts of my law school experience. For me my externship gave me more insight into the direction I wanted to guide my career and where my interests in the law laid. Beyond opening my eyes to what I was interested in practicing as a lawyer, the externship provided me a safe place to hone my writing skills. All around it was an experience that I would recommend to any student who wants a chance to see the law at work and to receive mentorship from great members of the legal profession."

"I had the privilege of externing with Judge Childs throughout this past semester. It was an incredible opportunity that gave me so much insight into what clerking for a judge would actually be like. This was one of my primary goals in the judicial externship, and it affirmed the desires that I have to clerk for a judge after graduation. Judge Childs and her clerks went above and beyond to make sure our experience in chambers was both practical and created an environment where we could learn and grow. I know that because of this opportunity I am a better writer and will take the experiences from this past semester well past graduation."

"My judge provided me with invaluable courtroom observation experience and legal assignments. He was direct about what he wanted and provided feedback. I want to be a judicial law clerk after graduation, and this externship helped me understand exactly what it takes to become one."

"My Externship with Judge Robert Hood was one of my most rewarding post-secondary educational experiences."

"I would highly recommend working in Judge Childs’s chambers through the judicial externship program to any USC law student who is interested in learning more about the judicial process, working closely with a Judge and her law clerks, and contributing to the work of the court."

"Do it! Take advantage of the judicial externship program! I gained a close set of friends, familiarity with the courthouse system, insights on a judge’s perspective, and an incomparable opportunity to view several areas of the law — all for 2 credit hours. I highly recommend this experience!"

"A judicial externship is one of the most invaluable experiences that our law school has to offer. Whether you are interested in clerking after graduation or the nuances of a courtroom, this is truly the only opportunity you have to get hands-on experience AND class credit. My externship with Federal District Judge Lewis enlightened me on many facets of the judicial system, allowed me to expand my network, and helped me establish my future career goals."

"My judicial externship with Judge Seymour was one of the best experiences I have had in law school. Everyone in Judge Seymour’s chambers were welcoming and willing to answer any questions I had about the topics I was working on. I was given assignments that that pushed me to not only think critically but also objectively about a topic while further strengthening my writing skills. This externship experience has affirmed my desire to pursue a clerkship after graduation. I would recommend this experience to anyone, the hands-on experience you get from it is invaluable."

"My externship with Judge Bruce Williams at the South Carolina Court of Appeals was an incredible experience that I would recommend to anyone interested in a judicial clerkship. By affording me the opportunity to work with Judge Williams’ law clerks in editing bench memos and opinions, exposing me to the day-to-day responsibilities of an appellate law clerk, and helping me improve my writing and editing skills, this externship affirmed my desire to pursue a judicial clerkship."

"My judicial externship experience with Judge Childs was both unforgettable and invaluable. With my goal of eventually having a civil litigation practice, Judge Childs made a special effort to expose me to issues in that area of practice. From day one, Judge Childs and everyone in her chambers make you feel welcomed as part of the family. I was fortunate enough to be invited to sit in on hearings and allowed to work closely with Judge Childs and her judicial clerks in drafting orders and opinions across a wide variety of legal topics. This externship has an unbelievable impact on my understanding of both procedural and substantive aspects of the law, and I am certain that it will continue to have that impact as I finish my education and make the transition to a career as an attorney. It is a rare opportunity for a law student — or any lawyer for that matter — to see and be a part of the inner workings of the Federal District Court, and I can’t possibly recommend this experience enough, especially if you are at all interested in litigation."

"My summer in the Judicial Externship program has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in law school. Being able to work closely with a Federal Judge is an opportunity that most law students do not have, but they should! I was able to draft orders and assist with trial preparation. This externship will have a lasting impact on my legal education and career. I would highly recommend any student who has an interest in clerking to do this externship because this experience is invaluable!"

"The summer externship course at USC Law is a true hidden gem. The externship was a perfect fit because it combined my desire to eventually practice appellate law with the skills I developed during my first two years of school. I was fortunate enough to spend thirteen weeks during the summer after my 2L year working for the Honorable Kaye G. Hearn, Associate Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court.

From day one as a Hearn-tern (the name Justice Hearn uses to affectionately describe her interns), I was given big shoes to fill. My tasks included a wide variety of research and writing assignments and I attended every hearing of the Court during my summer. I got to know many of the Justices on a personal level. I had the opportunity to draft bench memoranda that were reviewed by Justice Hearn and distributed to all members of the Court. In addition, I provided support on opinion writing and drafted speeches for Justice Hearn to give before public groups. The ability to have my work critiqued daily by a Supreme Court Justice was an invaluable experience that took my writing game to the next level.

I would highly recommend a Supreme Court externship to anyone willing to work hard who wishes to learn about appellate practice in South Carolina."

"I really enjoyed my experience with the Judicial Externship program. I had the opportunity to clerk for a Federal Judge — helping her draft opinions and participating in trial preparation. The skills I learned during my externship semester have been valuable not only in my summer clerkships, but also in my class work."

"Participating in the Legislative Externship has been one of the best experiences of my law school career. It is such a unique opportunity that most law schools cannot offer, so I felt very fortunate to have this opportunity while in law school. This externship allowed me to apply knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to real world situations. I was able to research important legal issues, draft bill summaries and work on current legislation. The structure of the externship allowed me to work in both the House and the Senate, so I was able to see how both bodies function. In addition, working with one committee at a time allowed me to build relationships with the staff, who were extremely welcoming and willing to help me in any way. My supervisors wanted to ensure I was always getting the best experience possible, so I was also able to frequently attend subcommittee meetings, full committee meetings and session for both bodies. Attending these meetings allowed me to see the legislative process in action and provided me a much deeper understanding of how law-making actually works. Attending these meetings, and other events, also provided me opportunities to meet attorneys from different committees, lobbyists and legislators from all over the state, and thus expanding my network. I highly recommend this externship for anyone who is interested in policy, government work or politics, or even someone who is unsure what they want to do. It is such an interesting and fun experience!"

"My externship at the South Carolina State House was one of the most beneficial experiences of my law school career. The legislative externship brought the classroom into the real world and allowed me to learn more about the personal factors that affect legislative process. Observing subcommittee meetings, full committee meetings, and session for both the House and the Senate allowed me to understand the subtle differences between the two legislative bodies. Staff for both bodies were always willing to conform my assignments to best match my interests and my schedule in order to ensure that I got the most out of my experience. In my opinion, the best part of the legislative externship is the abundance of network opportunities with staff, lobbyists, and legislators. I would highly recommend the legislative externship to anyone looking to learn more about legislative process and hoping to gain a better understanding of how information learned in the classroom applies to the real world."

"My externship with the House Legislative Oversight Committee definitely has been one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences I have had in law school. The staff on the Committee were incredible to work with and were always willing to answer any questions I had related to my assigned research tasks. I learned so much about our state legislature and how the oversight process works and am grateful for all of the exposure I gained through observing Committee meetings and watching the House Budget on the floor. I would highly recommend this externship for anyone who has an interest in politics and an interest in learning how our state legislature operates on a daily basis."

"Working alongside State Senator Marlon Kimpson in his first term in Columbia presented the invaluable opportunity for me to apply my passion for Constitutional law in the very environment that wrestles with federalism and supremacy the most. As an extern, I found myself immersed in the relevant legal questions and concerns underlying the bills that were being discussed on the Senate floor. The Legislative Externship, for me, provided a comprehensive legal perspective of State governance in real time. I would recommend this experience to any student who has an interest in parsing through contemporary legal issues in the realm of State affairs that addresses them at their inception."

"Participating in USC Law’s Legislative Externship was such a rewarding experience. I learned a great deal about our great state’s legislative process and got a sneak peek behind the scenes at how the SC House of Representatives deals with important issues that affect our lives every day. One of the most beneficial aspects of the externship was the networking opportunities it offered. It was because of the relationships that I formed with various Representatives and staff and the critical knowledge I gained about the inner workings of the State House that I was able to secure my position as a law clerk for the House Labor, Commerce and Industry committee this year. I would highly recommend that anyone who is considering a career in government or policy take advantage of this great opportunity."

Contact Us

Stephanie Nye

Director of Externships

Stephanie Nye
1525 Senate Street
Columbia, SC 29208


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