Externship Types

Judicial Externships

A Judicial Externship provides students with an opportunity to be intimately involved in the judicial decision-making process. Students should work closely with judges in an effort to better understand the judicial process. Judges, in turn, should actively encourage the student to question, challenge, and shape legal decisions. In addition to learning office policy and procedure, students will gain a better understanding of case review and analysis. Students should also improve his/her legal research and writing techniques while learning the intricacies of bench memoranda.

Legislative/Executive Externships

A Legislative/Executive Externship allows students to understand how law is created in the State of Hawai`i, deepening his/her understanding of the politico-legal nexus. Students will work with in-house counsel, either directly or through a sponsoring legislator, to draft legislation and position papers, and to monitor its progress. Students may also work with the Executive Branch. Mentors should encourage creativity and discussion generated by proposals, and students, in turn, will improve legal research and writing skills as they deepen their understanding of the legislative process. Additionally, students shall examine critically the law's development within its political, social, and economic contexts. Although the state legislature meets in session only during our Spring semesters each year, students may extern in either the Fall or Spring semesters.

Public Agency Externships

A Public Agency Externship provides students with an opportunity to see the implementation and application of the law at work. Students explore the conflicts between policy and practice and understand the responsibilities associated with work in a public agency. Prosecuting attorneys, public defenders and state and county governments have been among those public agencies participating as Externship venues. Non-profit private agencies are also attractive placements. Mentors should explain office policy and procedure but encourage suggestions for change and creative thinking. Additionally, students should develop legal skills associated with the agency's work - these include, but are not limited to, appellate brief writing, trial skills, legal research, fact investigation, and preparation of position papers.

Private Sector Externships

A Private Sector Externship allows students an opportunity to understand the workings of, and responsibilities associated with, the private practice of law. The primary educational objective is to permit students to explore intensively one particular area of the law practice. Extern mentors, should provide students with a variety of new tasks to facilitate the student's understanding of that field of law. Students should be exposed to tasks that develop interviewing and counseling skills, legal research and writing techniques, negotiation skills, office management and office acculturation techniques. Mentors should explain office policy and procedure and encourage student curiosity and self-development. Students should be allowed to observe a variety of activities including depositions, strategy sessions, meetings with clients and court hearings/trials.

Pacific/Asia Externships

Given the unique location of the Law School and its commitment to the people of the Pacific basin, special 12-credit externships are offered in the Pacific Islands, Asia, and the continental United States. The primary objective of the externship is to heighten the student's awareness of the cultural diversity in the Pacific Rim, thereby gaining a deeper understanding of the role of the legal profession in these areas.


Dale W. Lee

Director of Professional Development
(808) 956-8636