Spring 2017 Externships Application Schedule
Externship Fair: Wednesday, October 19, 5:00-7:00 p.m. in Jerome Greene Case Lounge (7th Floor)
Applications Due to Externship Instructors: Wednesday, November 2nd at 5:00 p.m.
Offers to 1st Round: Monday, November 14th by 5:00 p.m.
Acceptances Due: Wednesday, November 16th at noon
Offers to Waitlists (if any): Thursday, November 17th by 5:00 p.m.
Waitlist Acceptances Due: Monday, November 21st at noon
Applications are submitted directly to course instructors. Application instructions and requirements for each externship can be found by clicking on the linked title of the course in the list below.
For more information about the externship program at Columbia Law School and the application process, visit our FAQs page.
Externships Offered Spring 2017
Below you will find brief summaries of the externships offered in Spring 2017. For full course descriptions and application information, click on the linked course title.
Arts Law Externship
Teri Silvers and Mavis Fowler-Williams, Lecturers-in-Law (2 graded academic and 2 ungraded fieldwork credits)
The Arts Law Externship provides students with practical experience in intellectual property, entertainment, and nonprofit law as they assist staff attorneys at volunteer lawyers for the Arts (VLA) in their representation of artists and nonprofit arts organizations. Through class discussions and journals, students reflect on the wide variety of clients and issues they encounter in their fieldwork, and engage in critical thinking about the role that law and lawyers can play in the arts and entertainment world. The Arts Law Externship consists of three components: a weekly seminar; a fieldwork placement at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, at which students work for 10 hours per week; and two out-of-class simulated exercises, in client counseling and contract negotiation.
Bronx Defenders Externship on Holistic Defense
Shannon Cumberbatch and Amreeta Mathai, Lecturers-in-Law (2 graded academic and 2 ungraded fieldwork credits)
The Bronx Defenders Externship on Holistic Defense immerses students in the cutting edge of defense work in the South Bronx, the poorest congressional district in the country. A person of color living in the Bronx is more likely to be stopped and frisked by the police, arrested, evicted, receiving public benefits, or the target of child welfare investigations than a resident of any other county in New York State. Learn interdisciplinary approaches to solving these problems at a public defender office that treats clients as people rather than cases and is committed to addressing both the underlying causes and collateral consequences of criminal justice involvement. Course content and fieldwork will train students as future holistic lawyers offering seamless access to services that meet clients’ legal and social support needs; engaging in the dynamic and interdisciplinary exchange of information, ideas, and strategies; developing and improving interdisciplinary skill sets; and seeking a robust understanding of and connection to the community served.
City & State Policy Advocacy Externship
Andrew Friedman, Lecturer-in-Law (2 graded academic and 2 ungraded fieldwork credits)
The City and State Policy Advocacy Externship will expose students to the varied and important roles that lawyers are playing in policy experimentation and innovation in states and cities across the country. Course content and fieldwork will focus on the roles lawyers can play in supporting community-conceived policy initiatives at the city and state level - from analyzing constraints on local authority to drafting policy proposals to engaging in the political fight to win passage. Substantive issues covered in the seminar, and the fieldwork assignments, will include workers' rights, immigrants' rights and immigration reform, civil rights and racial justice issues, health care access, and more. The weekly seminar will focus on core legal issues and academic literature bearing on state and local policymaking and effective policy advocacy; the fieldwork in ongoing policy initiatives will be performed at the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD).
Constitutional Rights Enforcement: Capital Punishment, Life Imprisonment and Post-Conviction Relief
George Kendall, Corrine Irish, and Sam Spital, Lecturers-in-Law (2 graded academic and 2 ungraded fieldwork credits)
This externship will explore federal constitutional rights, the legal doctrines and on-the-ground factors that influence how they are enforced in capital and life imprisonment cases. Students will be assigned to work within the unique public service practice groups of two commercial law firms - the Squire Patton Boggs Public Service Initiative (PSI) and the Holland & Knight Community Services Team (CST) – where they will work on behalf of indigent clients challenging death sentences or life imprisonment. Students may also have the opportunity to assist with litigation and advocacy related to broader criminal justice reform efforts. PSI and CST adopt a strategy of broad-based advocacy on behalf of their clients that can include individual and impact litigation, policy reform, and media advocacy. Students’ work will vary depending on case needs but typically involves one or more of the following: providing legal, policy, record-based, and sometimes media/social media research; conducting fact investigation; or assisting with trial/hearing prep. The seminar for this externship will meet weekly, ordinarily at Squire's midtown office at Rockefeller Center and will be taught by PSI attorneys, George Kendall and Corrine Irish, and CST attorney, Sam Spital.
Criminal Appeals Externship
Carl S. Kaplan and Mark Zeno, Lecturers-in-Law (2 ungraded academic and 2 ungraded clinical credits)
The Criminal Appeals Externship at CLS offers students a hands-on opportunity to learn appellate advocacy from the inside: each student will represent a client who has been convicted of a serious crime in New York City. Over the course of a semester, students will review the record that led to their client’s conviction (including discovery, motions, and transcripts of the hearings and trial), identify the issues to be raised on appeal (students will have the opportunity to visit their client at an upstate correctional facility to discuss the case), craft an appellate brief on their client’s behalf, and argue before a five-judge panel of New York’s Appellate Division, First Department, or the Appellate Term (under the Center for Appellate Litigation’s practice order, CLS students are permitted to orally argue their client’s appeals). While the context of the externship is New York criminal appeals, its overarching goal is to teach persuasive written advocacy; it should appeal to all students seeking to develop their advocacy skills, regardless of whether they plan a career in criminal law. The externship consists of a seminar component and a placement at the Center for Appellate Litigation, an appellate public defender organization in lower Manhattan engaged in cutting-edge advocacy of defendants’ rights, often involving complex constitutional issues.
Federal Appellate Court Externship
The Honorable Robert D. Sack, Adjunct Professor, and the Director of Clerkships, Lecturer-in-Law (1 ungraded academic and 3 ungraded fieldwork credits)
This externship introduces students to the judicial and adversary processes involved in federal courts of appeals. Students work in the Second Circuit on legal research, analysis, and writing, occasionally drafting lengthy bench memos and parts of opinions. Students also participate in seminar classes, which include lectures addressing fundamental topics of appellate review and federal jurisdiction; discussions with judges and experienced appellate attorneys about appellate law and practice; and reflection/debriefing sessions for students to share their experiences and problem-solve. A moot court argument to three Court of Appeals judges provides a relevant oral advocacy experience.
Federal Court Clerk Externship: Eastern District of New York
The Honorable Nicholas G. Garaufis, Adjunct Professor of Law, and James Gatta, Lecturer-in-Law (2 ungraded academic and 2 ungraded fieldwork credits)
This externship exposes students to the U.S. District Court and the judicial decision making process through both a seminar and fieldwork experience. Students are assigned to federal judges, including district court and magistrate judges, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Students will improve their research, analytical, and writing skills by conducting legal research, preparing written memoranda and drafting judicial opinions. They will also have the opportunity to observe judges as they preside over criminal and civil cases and to study lawyers advocating for their clients through written submissions and in court. Students will attend a weekly seminar at the U.S. District Court, to discuss various topics, including: judicial decision-making in several contexts (i.e., settlements, motions, sentencings), judicial ethics, the externship experience, and effective advocacy in civil and criminal litigation. Guest speakers will also lecture on a wide variety of topics relevant to federal litigation, including habeas and pro se litigation, and new trends in criminal prosecutions, including cybercrime and terrorism.
Federal Court Clerk Externship: Southern District of New York
Paul Radvany, Adjunct Associate Professor, and Co-Instructor TBD (1 ungraded academic and 3 ungraded fieldwork credits)
The Federal Court Clerk Externship provides an in-depth examination of the functioning of the federal trial courts. Students will have the opportunity to work with a federal judge, draft judicial opinions, and observe trials, oral arguments and hearings. Students will also have the opportunity to observe both criminal and civil lawyers in court and to analyze their written advocacy. Students will participate in seven classes to discuss topics such as: an examination of how the federal criminal justice system functions; how the federal civil system functions; writing judicial opinions; judicial ethics and effective courtroom lawyering. There will also be guest speakers consisting of judges and criminal and civil practitioners.
Externship on the Federal Government in Washington D.C.
Timothy Reif and Jessica Hertz, Lecturers-in-Law (4 graded academic and 8 ungraded fieldwork credits)
The Externship on the Federal Government in D.C. is a full-semester offering for selected Columbia Law School second and third year J.D. candidates in the spring 2016 semester. It is designed to provide a valuable hands-on complement to the Law School’s more conventional teaching offerings in public law, affording an opportunity to integrate aspects of students’ public law education in an applied setting. Admission is by application only. Up to 15 students will be selected. Ellen Chapnick, Dean for Social Justice Initiatives, and Rachel Pauley, Director of Government Programs, will oversee externship placements, including the application process and term-time counseling. Timothy Reif and Jessica Hertz will teach the seminar components of the program in Washington, D.C. (Please note that this course has its own application period, which has closed.)
Government Anti-Corruption Externship
Jennifer Rodgers and Rachel Pauley, Lecturers-in-Law (2 graded academic and 2 ungraded fieldwork credits)
This externship teaches the structure and complexities of our Government’s efforts to identify, prevent, and prosecute public corruption and provides the opportunity to work in a government agency dedicated to combating public corruption and/or enhancing public ethics, and to examine through the seminar the different approaches and jurisdictions of the various federal, state, and local anti-corruption agencies operating in New York City. In the seminar, externs will approach public corruption matters from a variety of perspectives, learning how each of the placement agencies fits into the broader anti-corruption effort through discussion, interaction with guest speakers, and actual case studies. Through their fieldwork, students will gain professional skills by working with attorneys and learning about how the placement agencies investigate and respond to corruption.
Low-Wage Worker Externship
Karen Cacace and Young Lee, Lecturers-in-Law - Pending Faculty Approval (2 graded academic credits and 2 ungraded fieldwork credits)
Taught by practicing attorneys at The Legal Aid Society’s Employment Law Unit, the Low-Wage Worker Externship is an intensive introduction to employment law issues faced by low-income workers in New York City. The externship is designed to provide this substantive introduction and develop students’ litigation skills through discussion, simulation, and hands-on representation of clients in federal and state court and before administrative agencies, including the New York State Department of Labor, the Equal Opportunity Commission and the New York City Commission on Human Rights. The substantive laws covered will include minimum wage and overtime laws, anti-discrimination laws, including criminal records discrimination, and family and medical leave laws.
Pro Bono Practice and Design Externship
Miriam Buhl and Marlene Halpern, Lecturers-in-Law (2 graded academic and 2 ungraded fieldwork credits)
This externship offers students the opportunity to engage in critical reflection about the role of pro bono service by corporate lawyers, on the legal profession and on broader societal issues such as access to equal justice, in the United States and other countries. Students will examine the often competing goals of the various constituencies involved in pro bono activities and the need to mediate the resulting tensions if pro bono programs are to succeed in meeting clients' needs. The Externship on Pro Bono Practice and Design consists of a weekly seminar and placement at an NGO of the student’s choosing which provides high quality legal services and has a pro bono program for corporate lawyers.
Representing New York City: New York City Law Department Externship
Doris Bernhardt and Steven Louis, Lecturers-in-Law (2 ungraded academic and 2 ungraded fieldwork credits)
In this externship, students will gain first-hand experience working on litigation matters, transactional matters or policy matters for the City of New York. The New York City Law Department handles the City’s litigation, offers advice and counsel to the Mayor, the City Council, and City agencies, and represents the City in development deals. In the past, students have drafted legislation, participated in development deals, drafted memoranda of law and litigation documents, including complaints and answers, joined City attorneys in meetings with government officials, and assisted at legislative hearings, depositions or trials. Each student will be assigned to work at a division at the NYC Law Department for a minimum of 10 hours/week, working on issues such as: lawsuits challenging the validity of the City’s regulatory laws; litigation in which the City is a plaintiff; economic development projects; discrimination, retaliation, or other employment-related claims; legislation and counseling; or juvenile delinquency matters.
Trusts, Wills, and Estate Planning Externship
Lawrence Newman, Joseph Solomon Adjunct Professor, and Karin McNair, Lecturer-in-Law (2 graded academic and 2 ungraded fieldwork credits)
This extemship will consider the doctrines relating to the creation, modification and termination of trusts; the administration of estates and trusts; and lifetime and postmortem estate planning for moderate and substantial estates. The fieldwork will consist of interviewing clients at a Senior Center on Manhattan's West Side and drafting Wills, Powers of Attorney, Living Wills and Health Care Proxies for these clients. During the semester, there will be meetings with clients at the Senior Center and class and individual meetings at the Law School to discuss the estate planning situations and to review drafts of documents prepared by the students. Work will be done in teams of two and each team will interview two clients and will prepare the documents and participate in the execution of the documents.
Unaccompanied Immigrant Youth Externship
Kathleen M. Maloney and Cristina Romero, Lecturers-in-Law (2 graded academic and 3 ungraded fieldwork credits)
The recent humanitarian crisis at the border underscores the urgent need for legal representation for immigrant children facing deportation. This externship provides students with the opportunity to learn and practice immigration and family law through the lens of child advocacy. Unaccompanied immigrant youth are children under the age of 18 who have been apprehended at the U.S. border without traditional caregivers. Following their detention at federal facilities, children are released to sponsors and placed in removal proceedings in immigration court where they do not have the right to a lawyer. Working under the supervision of two attorneys, up to 8 externs will provide legal services to these children, including representing them at hearings in family court and immigration court. The seminar will explore the intersection of immigration law, family law and criminal law. The seminar will analyze the ethical challenges representing unaccompanied minors present and deconstruct the U.S. government’s immigration policies and their impact on communities. Through both field work and the seminar, externs will develop relevant legal, analytical and lawyering skills while serving immigrant youth from intake to appellate phases of their cases.
United Nations Externship
Larry Johnson, Adjunct Professor of Law, and Nyaguthii Chege, Lecturer-in-Law (2 graded academic and 2 ungraded fieldwork credits)
This externship provides students with an opportunity to learn more about the law and practice of the UN and the processes of making and implementing institutional law at the world organization. Fifteen students will be selected and placed in the UN or UN related offices. The course consists of two parts: externship (2 fieldwork credits) and weekly seminar (2 academic credits). The seminar will focus on the development of UN law through interpretations in practice of the UN Charter and other instruments. Students will examine primary materials focused on the normative context within which the UN functions, developing an understanding of the interaction between law and practice. For the field placement, each student will be expected to work two days per week for 14 weeks at the respective host unit.
U.S. Attorney's Office Eastern District of New York: Federal Prosecution Externship
Taryn Merkl and Nicole Argentieri, Lecturers-in-Law (2 ungraded academic and 2 ungraded fieldwork credits)
This externship offers students the opportunity to work one-on-one with experienced Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the EDNY as they investigate and prosecute violations of federal criminal law. Each student will be assigned to work directly with an experienced AUSA in one of the Office's five senior prosecutorial Sections: Business and Securities Fraud, Narcotics, Organized Crime and Racketeering, Public Integrity, and National Security and Cybercrime. Students will have the opportunity to take part in all aspects of their supervising AUSA's criminal caseload - from investigation to sentencing and post-conviction appeal - and should expect to do substantial research and writing. The local rules of the U.S. District Court for the EDNY permit law students to conduct court appearances, such as arraignments, guilty plea proceedings, sentencings, hearings, and trials. This externship consists of a placement at the U.S. Attorney's Office and a weekly seminar.
If you have questions about a specific externship, please click through to the externship's full course description and address your question directly to the course instructor(s).
If you have any questions about the externship application process, please check the FAQs page. If you require further assistance, contact Brian Juergens.