Externships Program

Externships Program

Externships Program

Students in D.C. Program


The deadline to apply for fall 2021 full-time externships is extended to Tuesday, March 30.

UVA Law in DC will be held spring semester 2022. Please direct any questions to Sprightley Ryan at asryan@law.virginia.edu.

UVA Law's externships program allows students to make connections between legal theory and practice during their second and third years of law school. Through the program, students can earn academic credit while working in the public sector under the supervision of a lawyer. The program includes four options:

UVA Law in DC

UVA Law in DC is a curricular offering requiring 35 hours per week of work at the host organization, which must be a government office or agency or a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization. Students participate in a weekly seminar in Washington, complete directed reading and writing assignments, and write a research paper on an approved topic relevant to the host organization’s work. The paper may fulfill the upper-lever writing requirement. Students receive a total of 13 credits (3 graded, 10 credit/ no credit).

Part-Time Externships

Part-time externships are primarily local and require students to work 10 hours per week for the host organization, as well as complete reading and short writing assignments. Students receive 4 academic credits (1 graded, 3 credit/no credit).

Full-Time Externships

Full-time externships may be local, national or international, and require 35 hours per week of work at the host organization. Students must design a course of study and work under the supervision of a faculty member to complete directed readings and academic writing assignments, including a substantial research paper on an approved topic relevant to the host organization’s work. The paper may fulfill the upper-lever writing requirement. Students receive a total of 13 credits (3 graded, 10 credit/no credit).

January Term Externships

January Term externships take place for three weeks before the spring semester starts, for two credits.

Why Extern?

Externships combine substantial, practical legal work for a governmental or nonprofit organization with academic inquiry through readings, a reflective journal, research papers and guided reflection papers, and, in the case of UVA Law in DC, a weekly seminar.  Externs learn to work under close supervision, receive feedback from the supervisor at the host organization and a Law School faculty member, and engage in self-assessment.

The externship program connects traditional academic learning and abstract legal thinking with the practice of law, and assists students in adjusting to their roles as professionals, becoming better problem-solvers, and developing interpersonal and professional skills. The program is meant to help students master self-directed learning, define and pursue learning goals, and acquire the skill of learning from direct observation of and experience in the practice of law.

A. Sprightley Ryan
Faculty Director
  • Professor of Law, General Faculty
  • Director of Externships