Externship Program

Externships at Washington and Lee offer students the opportunity to work in placements off-campus as part of a unique educational experience that moves the student toward the world of legal practice. Placements include externships with State and Federal Judges, Commonwealth, City, and County Attorney's Offices, United States Attorney's Offices, Offices of the Public Defender, Corporate and University Counsel, Legal Services, Bankruptcy Trustees, private law firms, governmental agencies in Washington, D.C., and other legal agencies and organizations. 

Externship opportunities serve a critical role in third-year experiential learning.  Students engage in off-campus placement contemporaneous with a classroom component.  Both are designed to engage the student in a unique educational experience and move the student toward the world of legal practice.  Enrollment in an externship course satisfies the "actual practice" requirement of the Washington and Lee University School of Law third-year curriculum.  Ideally, students will strive to accomplish four things in an externship:

  • Improve their legal skills, such as research, writing and analysis or negotiation, client communication and courtroom demeanor;
  • Increase their knowledge of a substantive area of law such as criminal justice, administrative law, corporate law, or employment law;
  • Learn the mission and administration of an agency, court, or non-profit or for-profit entity and explore how the organization accomplishes its mission; and
  • Perhaps most importantly, begin to develop a concept of professional identity.

Student externs spend one to two days at their externship site each week, and must enroll in an accompanying course taught by Washington and Lee's Externship Program Director and Professor of Practice, Keri Gould, or other designated faculty.  Externship faculty maintain an ongoing "conversation" with supervisors, who are asked to evaluate their extern at the midpoint and the close of the semester.

For questions about the externship program, or if you are an attorney interested in accepting a Washington and Lee University School of Law externship student, please view the links on this webpage or contact Professor Gould:  540.458.8133 or gouldk@wlu.edu