Some advantages of an externship program:
- Placement can be tailored to individual student objectives;
- Focus may be on skills development, substantive law or the legal system, depending on program and student goals;
- Student learns about how legal institutions function;
- Student gains exposure to the practice of law and specific areas of practice; and
- Student develops professional skills such as understanding the traditions of the profession, legal research, planning, trial work, drafting.
You may register after completing one academic year of study, as long as you are not on probation.
Externships earning 2,4, or 6 credits are available during the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. A 12-credit externship off-island may be sought during the Fall and Spring Semesters. Eligibility for a 12-credit externship is restricted, so those interested should consult with the Externship Director before pursuing an externship. Full-time externships outside of Hawai‘i are available for 12 credits in the fall or spring (LAW 555P) semester. In the summer, a full-time externship for six credits (LAW555H) is available in Hawai‘i or outside Hawai‘i.
The relevant ABA Standard explicitly prohibits students in an externship program from receiving compensation for an externship. It is permissible, however, to receive housing or travel assistance, or reimbursement for actual expenses.
You may count as many as six credits of externship towards graduation. However, if you complete a twelve-credit externship, LAW 555P, you may not take another externship during law school. Thus, students who plan to take a full-time twelve-credit externship are cautioned not to register for another externship beforehand.
For the two-credit externship, you must work at least eight (8) hours per week during the fourteen (14) weeks classes are in session for a total of 112 hours. For the four-credit externships, you must work at least 16 hours a week. Under special circumstances, the Externship Director may grant some flexibility in the number of weeks worked although the number of hours completed cannot be less than 112 hours. Externships may start when classes begin and must end when classes end. No externships can be conducted during winter break. If you are enrolled in a full-time externship, you are expected to work full-time for fifteen weeks during the fall or spring semester and eight weeks in the summer.
Summer externships may begin after spring graduation and must end by July 31. To earn credit for a summer externship you must work 112 hours for two credits, 224 for four credits, or 336 for six credits. You may not work for credit more than 48 hours per week without special permission.
You are permitted to work in four traditional sectors of the legal community:
- Public/Private agency
- Private law firm
- State Legislature/Executive Branch
See Externship Types.
In addition, you may explore non-traditional externship venues, provided a licensed attorney will serve as your externship mentor.
You may elect only one externship in each sector. However, the Externship Director may grant a waiver of this rule for an exceptional and unique educational experience. You do not qualify to practice law under the state student practice rule.
Only attorneys and judges may supervise externships. The supervising mentor is the lawyer who will actually supervise the student's work, not the head of an agency or the senior partner of the law firm.
It is up to you to locate an externship. A list of externship opportunities is available – but it is not exclusive – you may also find one on your own.
As soon as an externship is identified and located, you may provide the mentor with a copy of the "Nuts & Bolts" webpage.
The Externship Director will evaluate a combination of requirements include writing assignments, journals, time and activity record keeping and assessments, and critiques by the extern and the mentor.