Aother advantage Cumberland School of Law has to produce exceptional trial attorneys, is its clinical education which includes externships in judicial, litigation, corporate, government and public interest offices. Externships are coordinated through the director of clinical education.
Cumberland School of Law is located in the major metropolitan area of Birmingham, Ala. Birmingham is home to a thriving legal community with more than 4,000 practicing attorneys, federal and state courts, and government agencies. Externships give students an opportunity to work with experienced lawyers, and to apply in a real setting what they have learned in the classroom. This gives students an inside view of a particular area of practice. In addition, externships give students the opportunity to enhance their advocacy skills through real-world practice in various prosecutor’s offices, legal services programs, judge’s chambers, and numerous other positions. Networking for future career options is also a vital aspect of these experiences. Every student who wants an externship has the opportunity to do one.
Externship registration is open to all second- and third-year students and is available for every Cumberland School of Law student who wants to participate. Students work 120 hours during a semester and receive two credit hours. Some placements will have pre-requisites. For example, the placement for the district attorney’s office requires that a third-year student must be certified under the Alabama Rule for Legal Internship. To qualify the student must be approved by the Alabama Bar as a student, must have completed their second year of law school, and must have successfully completed Basic Skills in Trial Advocacy. Prior to the start of course registration, the Office of Clinical Education holds an information/registration meeting during the fall and spring semesters. Students are allowed to do six hours of placement/class hours. The first time a student participates in an externship they are required to take the one credit hour seminar class. If a student participates in a second externship, they do not take the seminar class again.
Judicial Observation: Students sign-up to work within the office of a state court judge. Students are required to work a minimum of 56 hours and submit the following written work: a statement of goals at the beginning of the semester; a weekly report of hours with narrative description of activities; submission of a research paper; and a reflection essay.
Externship I: Students enrolled in any externship for the first time must also enroll in this class component. This externship class meets one hour each week. This class addresses some substantive topics; negotiation, trial, and other lawyering skills; professionalism and ethical issues; communication with supervisors, clients and others; workplace problems; and other issues applicable to all externs. Some classes have break-out sessions to address specific topics relevant to particular types of placements. Students enrolled in the externship class submit written work, including the following: a statement of goals at the beginning of the semester; a weekly report of hours with narrative description of activities; submission of a research paper; a reflection essay; and others assigned by the instructor.
Judicial Externship I & II: Externship with a federal judge. To be eligible students must be on the American Journal of Trial Advocacy or Cumberland Law Review or have other evidence of superior writing skills. Many judges and magistrate judges in the Northern District of Alabama participate in this program.
Corporate Externship I & II: Externship placement with a corporate legal office. Banking, construction, health, real estate, and patent offices have all participated in this program.
Litigation Externship I & II: Externship placement in a litigation office such as the district attorney’s offices, public defender’s offices, Legal Aid Society and Legal Services of Metro Birmingham. For some placements students must be certified under the Alabama Rule for Legal Internship and have completed Basic Skills in Trial Advocacy course.
Government Agency Externship I & II: Externship placement in a government agency such as the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Internal Revenue Service, National Labor Relations Board or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Public Interest Externship I & II: Organizations such as the Coalition Against Violence, Birmingham Volunteer Lawyer Program and the YWCA Domestic Violence Clinic participate in this program.
The offices listed in the categories above also participate during the summer. The most significant change in the summer is that the Office of Clinical Education works with students to set up externships outside of the Birmingham metro area to help them network and broaden their experience in their field of interest. Below, are places where students have worked:
United Nations, The Hague; Department of Justice, Narcotics & Dangerous Drug Section, Washington, D.C.; Federal Bureau of Investigation; University of Ohio, Athletics Compliance; San Francisco Bay Keepers; Solo practitioners and small law firms; Judge Advocate General (multiple placements across U.S.); Attorney General’s Offices (multiple placements across U.S.); States Attorney’s Offices (multiple placements across U.S.); Public Defender’s Offices (multiple placements across U.S.); Federal Judges (multiple placements across U.S.)
Page last updated: Tue, 05/14/2013 - 16:24