Curricular Innovations Include D.C. Externship

Fall 2010

Recent enhancements to the upper-year curriculum that strengthen the bridge between theory and practice include the formation of an initiative with Columbia Business School to encourage joint teaching and research, a new program on national security law, a global alliance in finance and law with Oxford, and a semester-long federal government externship in Washington, D.C.

Under the direction of Social Justice Initiatives, the new externship, which began this semester, combines intensive field work in a federal agency or office with a weekly seminar taught by Law School professors.

“This externship is part of a broader effort to enhance our third-year curriculum,” said Dean David M. Schizer. “The world is changing in exciting ways, and our curriculum has to change as well, so that we continue to offer students deep and rigorous engagement with the latest trends in our profession.”

Students will spend a full semester at federal agencies and institutions, including the Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and participants can petition to work within an agency of their choice.

“This is an opportunity for students to get a firsthand look at the life of a government lawyer while also making a valued contribution at the agency where they are placed,” said Ellen P. Chapnick, Dean of Social Justice Initiatives, who helped create the externship with Professors Nathaniel Persily and Trevor W. Morrison '98. “It’s the kind of experience that will serve them well no matter where their career paths
take them.”

Externs will work alongside qualified supervisors—including many Law School graduates—and will participate in weekly seminars examining the roles that lawyers play in the federal government.