Program Overview

The Charlotte Externship Program is an exciting opportunity for second-year and third-year students to gain real-world experience in a "field placement," with the supervision of a licensed attorney or judge.

You will spend the spring semester externing at a participating host organizations in the Charlotte area. In addition to the externship, you will also participate in a weekly online Legal Theory in Action course. You will receive a total of 13 credit hours for the semester.

Externship

The externship runs from the first day of class through the last day of class with observance of the law school spring break. During this time you will work 35 hours a week with your host organization. Host organization settings for the externship include:

  • Governmental/public interest
  • Judicial
  • Non-profit
  • Corporate in-house
  • Law firm

As a part of the unpaid externship, you will participate in the kinds of activities that first-year attorneys perform, including conducting research on pending cases, analyzing contracts, reviewing discovery material, performing due diligence, drafting pleadings and other documents, spending time in the courtroom, participating in mediations and arbitrations, and interacting with clients.

Legal Theory in Action Course

Legal Theory in Action explores the issues that arise in field placement practice. The course begins by considering how you develop the core competencies you will use in practice and then builds on this theme through discussions of:

  • Ethics
  • Law practice management
  • Litigation practice
  • Business practice
  • Drafting
  • Client engagement

The course further explores how lawyers balance the competing demands of practice and personal life.

About the Program Director

Jennifer Flynn (BA '86, JD '89) has worked in both private practice and as in-house corporate counsel. She also has an extensive background with community organizations, particularly non-profits, in various capacities.

Her experience includes training individuals and groups in substantive learning and strategic planning as well as providing legal representation and board leadership. Jennifer has a passion for connecting people with similar interests and skills, so that they can learn from one another.

In her role as program director, she is able to use her legal knowledge, administrative expertise, and interpersonal skills to help students find a field placement that will challenge them and address their interests. Her skill set also enables her to establish and maintain relationships with the host organizations.

She seeks to raise awareness of the myriad career paths available to a lawyer, enabling students to have another lens as they evaluate their professional goals in conjunction with their values and priorities.

Apply

  1. Complete the online application
  2. Email your resume and cover letter to Jennifer Flynn flynnjj@wfu.edu with the subject line: Charlotte Externship - Your Last Name

    In your cover letter, please explain why you want to participate in the program and how doing so will contribute to your post-graduate career goals.
  3. You will be notified by email if you have been accepted into the program and how to proceed with the next steps in the process by November 14.

Deadlines

  Application Deadline

April 15, 2019

  Decision Deadline

September 27, 2019

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the school provide housing?
No. It is your responsibility to provide housing.
How are the externship placements determined?
Placements are based as closely as possible on the your areas of interest. The program director will review your application, resume, and cover letter. You will then meet with the program director to discuss your preferences and interests in order to find the best placement match.

Host organizations will also review your application materials and may choose to meet with you prior to finalizing the placement.
Can I find my own placement?
Yes. You are free to pursue your own placement, and upon doing so, provide the information to the program director who will work with the host to ensure program compliance.
How will I be graded for the externship?
You will be graded based on the director's learning journal review as well as assessments by the supervising attorney, which will be based on your performance as it relates to your customized training plan.
What is the training plan?
Because each placement is unique, the training plan is based on learning objectives distinctly crafted to your placement.

At the start of the externship, you and your supervising attorney will determine the learning objectives that fit with your placement, and create a training plan based on these objectives. The program director provides a template for the training plan, and will work with you both on getting it in final form within the first 2 to 3 weeks of the semester. As the semester proceeds, the training plan is considered a fluid document that may be modified as work evolves.