Non-Litigation Externships

Explore non-litigation externships:

Teri Silvers and Karen Sandler, Lecturers-in-Law​ (2 graded academic and 2 ungraded fieldwork credits)

Course Description
This course 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; and two simulated exercises in client counseling and contract negotiation.

The Seminar
Students attend weekly two-hour seminars designed to reinforce and expand on their work at VLA through discussion of cases, agreements, reflections from student journals and analysis of the concepts from various readings. In the seminars, the professors cover topics such as copyright, trademark, nonprofit law, music rights, and intellectual property licensing, as well as some of the practical skills students need to work effectively at VLA, such as client interviewing, client counseling and contract negotiation. In a few of the seminars, guest speakers will discuss their pertinent work experience and relevant cases during a portion of a class. There are assigned readings for almost all weeks, and weekly journals or short papers are expected to be handed in. Students are encouraged to use journals and classroom discussions as a time to integrate their field and seminar work and to reflect on their development as lawyers in training.

Fieldwork
Students spend 10 hours each week working at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (1 East 53rd Street). The work is split over two days, in two 5-hour shifts or one 4-hour and one 6-hour shift, and must fall between VLA’s working hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  VLA’s clients are low-income artists and nonprofit arts organizations. Their legal concerns fall primarily into the areas of copyright, nonprofit incorporation and tax exemption, trademarks, the music industry, and other entertainment-related areas. These clients typically seek assistance reviewing; negotiating and/or drafting contracts; resolving disputes; protecting copyrights and/or trademarks, and becoming a nonprofit tax-exempt arts organization. During their 10 hours at VLA, students will handle calls on VLA’s Art Law Line and participate in regularly scheduled client consultations. They will also spend at least 5 hours on substantive research projects assigned by VLA staff attorneys on questions and issues arising from client representation and VLA educational and advocacy programs.

Simulated Exercises
Students participate in two role-playing exercises, one simulating a client counseling session, and the other, a negotiation.

Grading
Students will receive four credits—two academic credits for the seminar and two clinical credits for the fieldwork. The seminar will be graded with letter grades. The fieldwork will be graded Credit/No Credit. Grades will be based on class participation, written work, and performance in the simulated exercises. Performance in the fieldwork portion of the course can influence the grade for the seminar by half a grade in either direction (e.g. poor performance at VLA will lower an A- to a B+).

Requirements and Application Process
The course will be limited to eight students to facilitate active engagement and contribution by all. The course will be taught in Fall and Spring and will be open to J.D. and LL.M candidates. Students in the course are required to have taken, or be concurrently enrolled in, either Copyright Law, or, with permission of the instructors, the Seminar in Law and the Theatre; Seminar in Law and the Visual Arts; or Authors, Artists, and Performers.

To apply, please complete the externship application available through LawNet. The application period can be found on the Experiential Learning home page (https://law.columbia.edu/academics/experiential). Prospective applicants may be contacted for an interview once all applications have been submitted.

Any additional questions can be sent to Susan Kraham at [email protected].

Sonya Cheney and Mark Nielson, Lecturers-in-Law​ (2 graded academic and 2 ungraded fieldwork credits)

This externship is only offered in the Fall semester

Course Description
The In-House Counsel Externship will provide students with an understanding of roles in-house lawyers play while offering them an opportunity to experience that work firsthand at placements in for profit and nonprofit corporations.

The Seminar
This 2-hour externship seminar will explore areas of the law that are integral to in-house corporate practice—including corporate governance, securities and SEC reporting, M&A, internal investigations, employment law, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), cybersecurity, contracts, and litigation—from the perspective of the attorney whose job is simultaneously both lawyer and client. The seminar component will also explore the ethical considerations of in-house attorneys including conflicts of interest and confidentiality. In-house attorneys are in a unique position at the intersection of law and business; we will discuss how the in-house attorney must be fluent in both—able to explain legal rules and processes to business people and to ensure that the legal team understands business considerations and context. The seminar component will integrate students’ in-house experiences into our weekly discussions and facilitate students’ reflection on those in-house placements. The seminar component will also include a number of simulations and feature guest speakers who will be able to share their varied experiences as in-house counsel.

Fieldwork
Students will be able to identify their own placements or discuss with Susan Kraham for placements. More information will be provided once you are formally accepted into the externship.

Requirements and Application Process

To apply, please complete the externship application available through LawNet. The application period can be found on the Experiential Learning home page (https://law.columbia.edu/academics/experiential). Prospective applicants may be contacted for an interview once all applications have been submitted.

Any additional questions can be sent to Susan Kraham at [email protected].

Andrew Friedman, Dmitri Holtzman, and Kumar Rao, Lecturers-in-Law (2 graded academic and 2 ungraded fieldwork credits)

Course Description
The Law, Power, and Social Change 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 externship will comprise (a) a weekly, 2-hour seminar, focused on core legal issues and academic literature bearing on state and local policymaking and effective policy advocacy and (b) 10 hours per week of fieldwork in ongoing policy initiatives with the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD).

The Seminar
The weekly seminars will be focused on core legal issues and academic literature bearing on state and local policymaking and effective policy advocacy.

Fieldwork
Students are expected to do 10 hours per week of fieldwork in ongoing policy initiatives with the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD).

Grading 
Students will receive four credits total, two graded academic credits for the in-class seminar and two ungraded credits for the fieldwork component. The seminar will be graded on weekly class participation, class presentations and simulations, periodic short reflection papers on readings and fieldwork, and a final term paper.

Requirements and Application Process
The course will be open to J.D. and LL.M. candidates and will be limited to 10 students to facilitate active engagement and discussion. There are no prerequisites.

To apply, please complete the externship application available through LawNet. The application period can be found on the Experiential Learning home page (https://law.columbia.edu/academics/experiential). Prospective applicants may be contacted for an interview once all applications have been submitted.

Any additional questions can be sent to Susan Kraham at [email protected].

Meredith Stead and Alison Besunder, Lecturers-in-Law (2 graded academic and 2 ungraded fieldwork credits)

Course Description
This Extemship will consider: 1) the doctrines relating to the creation, modification and termination of trusts; 2) the administration of estates and trusts (including investment powers, duty of loyalty, allocation between income and principal, remedies for breach of fiduciary duty and spousal rights); and 3) lifetime and postmortem estate planning for moderate and substantial estates (including exemption trusts, disclaimers, the marital deduction, gifts to minors, life insurance trusts, charitable remainder trusts and grantor retained trusts).

Fieldwork
There will also be a Field component to this Extemship which 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.

Requirements and Application Process
The course is open to JD and LL.M. candidates. In order to be considered for the externship, students are required to have taken, or be concurrently enrolled in a course in Trust, Wills, and Estates. Alternatively, previous work or internship experience relating to wills, trusts, estate, or administration is also sufficient.

To apply, please complete the externship application available through LawNet. The application period can be found on the Experiential Learning home page (https://law.columbia.edu/academics/experiential). Prospective applicants may be contacted for an interview once all applications have been submitted.

Any additional questions can be sent to Susan Kraham at [email protected].