The Capitol building in Washington D.C. with lawn in front


Columbia Law School offers a diverse array of experiential learning opportunities. Each semester, students can choose from over 20 externships in which they will help real clients solve legal problems.


Students work 10 to 15 hours each week at their externship site under close supervision. The fieldwork is supported by a rigorous seminar tailored to the substantive law and practice and professional skills they will encounter in their work. The seminar provides an opportunity for students to reflect together on their experience and integrate the practical and theoretical learning. Law School graduates regularly identify these experiences as essential to their professional success.

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Top 10 Reason to Take Externships 

1. Externships offer the opportunity to learn through experience.

2. Externships are offered in many different areas of law and a wide variety of practice settings.

3. Students work on real cases under the supervision of experienced lawyers and the guidance of law school faculty.

4. Students have an opportunity to build professional relationships with practicing lawyers.

5. The real-world environment offers students unique opportunities to observe and experience legal culture and better understand professional norms.

6. Externship students observe and experience ethical issues in real time on real cases and can learn about these issues from both their supervisor and their professor.

7. Students are able to observe and experience work-life balance issues in the externship and explore the topics in class with the professor.

8. Externship students benefit from instruction and feedback from both their externship supervisor and the faculty member teaching the course.

9. Externship students examine supervision and feedback through a critical lens and learn how to solicit and respond to feedback.

10. The multi-layered supervision and feedback that students receive from supervisors and faculty contribute to students’ professional identity formation and growth.

Contact Externships

Susan Kraham

Director of Externships and Field-Based Learning