Board Service Leadership Externship Program

In the Board Service Program law students serve a one-year term in a non-voting seat on a nonprofit board of directors and, in doing so, attend all board meetings and related committee meetings participating fully in each. The new program concluded in fall 2022 and is currently being evaluated. The program is planned to continue in fall 2023. 

Interested students or board members should contact the Director of Externships, Elsbeth Magilton, at elsbeth@unl.edu

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Child Advocacy Center



The Child Advocacy Center is a nonprofit organization providing a safe, child friendly location for conducting forensic interviews and medical evaluations for abused children in Southeast Nebraska. 

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Food Bank of Lincoln



The Food Bank of Lincoln is a proud member of Feeding America. Since their founding in 1982, they've been focused on their mission to alleviate hunger in Southeast Nebraska.

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LUX Center for the Arts



The LUX Center for the Arts is dedicated to transforming lives through art. They provide education through art classes, artist in residency programs, gallery exhibitions, and community outreach.

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Malone Center logo
Malone Center



The Malone Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating unity and prosperity throughout Lincoln while honoring African American heritage.

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Mourning Hope logo
Mourning Hope



Mourning Hope companions children, adults and families before and after a death loss. They provide support groups, counseling, community education, resources, and referrals.

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Program Outline

What is the commitment for students?
In addition to serving on the board, law students go through a training session (held prior to the start of the spring semester) in advance of the first board meeting that sets expectations of service, explores the role of the board, and covers a variety of topics related to board service and function.

How are students selected?
Law students submit an application to the College of Law using ROSCOE; the College of Law provides the nonprofit organization a minimum of 2 applications for final selection.

Will students be recognized upon successful completion of the program?
Upon the successful completion of the externship, the student will receive up to 3 credits graded as a Pass and reflected as such on their transcript. Students will register for 1 credit hour in the spring 2022 semester and 1-2 credits in the fall 2022 semester based on the needs for the nonprofit board.

Each credit hour requires 42.5 hours of work. This work can be done by attending board meetings and committee meetings, meeting with the on-site supervisor, writing reflection journals or other assignments, and attending the initial training.

Anticipated Outcomes

The faculty supervisor will work in coordination with the on-site supervisor to identify goals for the extern and how the student can best meet these goals through the program. The student must complete all necessary requirements as set forth by the faculty supervisor and as set forth in College of Law’s Externship Policy.

  • Increased understanding of how nonprofit organizations operate, including exposure to the work of boards of directors as governance institutions in nonprofit organizations and how that contrasts with the role in for-profit organizations;
  • Increased understanding of the roles and responsibilities of board members, and how they are different from the roles and responsibilities of a lawyer who advises the board in a professional legal capacity;
  • Expanded understanding of the roles lawyers play in the leadership of communities and community organizations;
  • Exposure to skills relevant to lawyering through participation in or observation of such as meetings, monitoring, overseeing, investigating, and developing strategy for organizational operations;
  • Development of advocacy skills through participation in corporate board and subcommittee meetings;
  • Professional network creation and expansion;
  • Increased understanding of leadership styles and approaches; and
  • Up to 3 academic credits awarded on a Pass/No Pass basis.

Externship Program Requirements

The faculty supervisor will determine how to assess student learning and may ask for feedback from the on-site supervisor in making this assessment.

  • Weekly or monthly logs
  • Evaluation by on-site supervisor after 6 weeks
  • Attend winter interim session training
  • Attend periodic trainings and group discussions facilitated by the faculty advisors
  • Reflective Journaling, Outside Reading and Writing Assignments
  • Facilitate a transition to new participating students

Application Process

Students interested in participating in the Board Service Leadership Externship Program should contact Elsbeth Magilton.