The Field Placement Course is the classroom component for Nebraska Law students in externships for course credit six credits and under. The course is designed to complement your fieldwork, offering opportunities for thoughtful reflection about your experience and to enhance and improve your skills.
The course includes discussions, small group exercises, case rounds, and oral presentations, designed to build professional and lawyering skills that will assist you as you perform and observe externship fieldwork. We will engage in interactive dialogue relating to:
- The work you are doing and the skills you are building in your field placements
- Your impressions of the field placement, your supervising attorney and other attorneys with whom you interact, and the justice system as a whole
- Issues relating to diversity and inclusion, ethics, and professionalism in your field placement
- Issues relating to your Professional Identity and the values and standards you hold yourself to
We will use reflective writing assignments as a means of promoting self-directed learning and professional formation.
The class accounts for one credit, and each additional credit requires 42.5 hours. The program is designed for students to do either two 3-credit externships or one 6-credit externship. So, for example, if you’re doing a 3-credit externship, you’ll complete 1 credit in the course and 2 credits through your work at the placement.
Students may do a variable 2 or 4 credit placement, but the co-required course may only be taken twice and students may never do more than 6 credit hours.
- 3 Total Externship Credits = 1 credit hour course + 85 hours worked onsite (approx 6-7 hours per week)*
- 6 Total Externship Credits = 1 credit hour course + 212.5 hours worked onsite (approx 15-16 hours per week)*
There are typically 16 weeks in the fall and spring academic semesters, including finals. The above weekly averages assume students will work around 14 weeks to avoid working during finals. These hours set the minimum a student must work, students may elect to work more hours than required at their discretion.
*In the summer, work is condensed into a 10-13 week time frame and weekly averages should be adjusted.
Registration and Participation
Students may register for the appropriate number of Field Placement credit hours with the permission of the Director of Externships.
Students in their first externship will register for Section One. Students in a second externship, or who are doing a semester away program, will register for Section Two. The required one-credit hour course is graded. It is LAW 792E and every extern must register for it, in either section one or two. The remaining hours will be graded pass/no pass and are LAW 792.
For example, a 3 credit hour registration will look like:
LAW 792E - 1 credit (section 1/2)
LAW 792 - 2 credits (section 1/2)
The classes meet in-person for placements that are within 75 miles of the law college (thus including those working in Omaha). Students at placements outside of that 75 mile range should join Section Two for the remote, asynchronous course.
The overarching goal of field placements is to provide you with experience in legal practice. You will work with your On-Site Supervisor to develop more individualized goals that fit within the larger goals articulated in the policy and report those back to the instructor and your classmates.
The goals of the Field Placement Course are:
- To provide students with an opportunity to reflect on their placement experiences and develop self-evaluative skills, i.e., the ability to learn from and build on their experiences
- To cultivate effective communication and problem-solving skills
- To introduce students to, and encourage students to delve into, professional responsibility topics particularly as they relate to their externships
- To encourage students to learn from each other how to deal with challenges at their placements and how to deepen their experiences
- To provide students with opportunities to develop and practice their professional skills, particularly the skills of legal research/analysis/reasoning, problem-solving, and written/oral communication in the legal context of their placement
- To allow students to examine the settings where they work and the types of lawyering they are observing with the goal of helping them make more informed choices about their legal careers
The full syllabus and all other materials will be available in Canvas.