Field Placements (Externships)

Connect Your Education to the Real World

Students argues at podium in court room

Nebraska Law is proud to debut a new field placement (externship) program for spring 2023! Led by the new Director of Externships, the program supports students seeking course credit for work completed outside the college in professional settings. Placements vary from non-profits, to government and military, to law firms, and companies. Simply put, these placements are experiential learning opportunities that give students practical experiences for academic credit. The experience allows students to apply their learning in a real life setting with classroom and peer support.

On this page students and employers can find information about the new program as well as submit a proposal to begin a placement.

Propose An Externship

This is "Form A: Student Proposal." Students are required to submit this form and receive confirmation from the Director of Externships before registering for credit hours.

Note, we're in a transition! If you have already filled out and submitted the existing forms ("the appendices") formerly available on this page, or have them nearly complete, we can also accept those. Place contact Elsbeth Magilton at elsbeth@unl.edu.

Form A: Student Proposal

Supervisors Agreement

This is "Form B: Supervisor Agreement." A student's onsite supervisor must submit this form before a student may register for credit. The supervisor manual is available on this form and must be reviewed and agreed to when submitting. Employers may receive a PDF copy of the form, or sign a non-digital agreement, by contacting the Director of Externships, Elsbeth Magilton (elsbeth@unl.edu).

Note, we're in a transition! If you have already filled out and submitted the existing forms ("the appendices") formerly available on this page, or have them nearly complete, we can also accept those. Place contact Elsbeth Magilton.

Form B: Supervisor Agreement

Supervisor Manual

Field Placement (Externship) Course

Learn more about the new course component and the required text. Students must also be mindful of the hours required for work and how to plan for each semester or session. Most semesters are 16 weeks. The course will meet for a total of 6.25 hours per semester and out of course work is estimated at 8 hours for the whole semester. All other hours must be completed in your placement.

View the Academic Calendar

Course Information

Finding and Developing a Placement

Students are generally responsible for finding and securing their own placements, but the Director of Externships, the Career Development Office, and the faculty are here to help! If you're an employer seeking a student, we'd love to help you post a position and identify a great fit for your office.

Email The Director of Externships

Who is Eligible?

To be eligible to participate in an externship for academic credit, the student must have successfully completed the first-year law student curriculum prior to beginning participation in the externship. Under this Externship Program Policy, a maximum of six hours of externship credit shall be counted toward the graduation requirements for the J.D. degree. To have more than six credit hours for a single externship counted toward the graduation requirements for the J.D. degree, the externship must be approved by the faculty as a separate, distinct and ongoing externship program. A student may participate in more than one externship during the student’s course of study at the College of Law, but the total number of credit hours awarded under this Externship Program Policy for all externships shall not exceed six credit hours.

What is the goal of a Field Placement (externship)?

The educational goals of the Externship Program are:

  • To encourage the further development of the student’s legal research, writing and drafting skills through work on various types of documents;
  • To expose the student to lawyering skills through participation in or observations of activities such as interviewing, counseling, negotiation, mediation, oral and written advocacy, factual investigation, public hearings and the development of strategies for case management and the legislative process;
  • To develop the student’s advocacy skills through participation in or observations of court proceedings, discovery, administrative agency proceedings, lobbying activities and legislative hearings and debate;
  • To give the student practical legal experience and to enhance the student’s understanding of the application of the principles learned in law school to real world legal problems;
  • To give the student the opportunity to participate in, and reflect upon, the work of legal institutions;
  • To expose the student to issues of professional responsibility within the context of the workplace;
  • To encourage the student to explore and consider the different roles that lawyers have in the economy and in society, and to expose them to the range of career opportunities available to those individuals who possess a J.D. degree; and
  • To permit the student to gain practical experience in specialized areas of the law through experiences that will supplement the student’s course work within the law school.

6+ Credit Hour Placements

Under Nebraska Law's policy, a maximum of six hours of externship credit shall be counted toward the graduation requirements for the J.D. degree. To have more than six credit hours for a single placement counted toward the graduation requirements for the J.D. degree, the placement must be approved by the faculty as a separate, distinct and ongoing externship program. A student may participate in more than one externship during the student’s course of study at the College of Law, but the total number of credit hours awarded shall not exceed six credit hours.

Some examples include approved placements at NORAD and NORTHCOM, Senator Fischer's Office, and the Honors Program Described below. Student's with questions about 12 credit hour, full time, placements should contact the Director of Externships, Elsbeth Magilton (elsbeth@unl.edu).

Honors Externship in the Department of Defense Office of General Counsel (International Affairs) Supervised by Professor Jack Beard
This honors externship in Washington, D.C. is one of the most prestigious international law/national security externship opportunities for law students in the United States Government and meets the requirements of a full semester (12 credits) at the University of Nebraska College of Law. Students serving in this externship are involved in significant work and every effort is made to integrate them into the professional life of the office. Duties include legal research, drafting memoranda and assisting in the drafting of international agreements, attending departmental and inter-agency meetings, and dealing with senior national security officials of the U.S. Government. The externship offers an unparalleled opportunity to observe and participate in international legal practice in the United States government, hands-on experience in national security legal matters, and a unique and valuable insight into career opportunities in this field. A security clearance is necessary. This program is facilitated directly by Professor Beard and interested students should contact him directly.

Portrait of Elsbeth
Questions?

Elsbeth Magilton
Director of Externships
402-472-6295
elsbeth@unl.edu