What is a Judicial Externship?
Students work in the chambers of a judge one day a week during the semester or full-time during the summer for academic credit. Externs work alongside the judges and their judicial clerks on research and writing assignments that include any substantive area of law. Students typically engage in drafting memos on motions for transfer, bench memos in preparation for oral argument, court orders on a variety of motions, and full or partial opinions. The judges and their clerks provide detailed feedback. Judges offer the opportunity to observe hearings and participate in meetings. These may include oral arguments, settlement negotiations, pre-trial hearings, trials, voir dire, opening and closing statements, sentencing hearings, naturalization ceremonies.
Both federal and state courts in Indiana host externs during the semester and summer. We have partners with Circuit Court, District Court, Magistrate Court Judges, and Bankruptcy judges. In the State courts, we have partners with the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Tax Court, trial courts, and specialized courts.
How do students apply for it?
Your first step is to schedule an appointment with faculty director Prof. Van der Cruysse (firstname.lastname@example.org), who helps you develop your application and placement in these externships. Application information can be found here.
Who is eligible and when?
All students who have finished their 1L year are generally eligible to work in judicial chambers from their 1L summer onward. In the summer, students typically have a wide choice of locations. During the semester, students work within a manageable commute from the law school.
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit: 2-3 externship positions open each spring for 3Ls. Information is available here.
- Summer programs:
Why do you want to do this?
Working for a judge gives students a unique insight into the judicial decision making process. The setting is formal, but students are given access to and participate fully in the work in chambers and the decision-making process. They learn what few attorneys know: how to craft an argument both in written or oral advocacy form that convinces the court. 1Ls and students interested in applying for post-graduation judicial clerkships are strongly encouraged to do a judicial externship. Anyone with a desire to exponentially improve their legal research and writing skills, should consider pursuing a judicial externship.
What are the application deadlines?
Applications should be submitted to Prof. Van der Cruysse to be guaranteed consideration for placement by October 1 for the spring, January 1 for the summer, May 15 for the fall semester.