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Capital University Law School’s expansive externship program offers varied opportunities for CapLaw students to earn academic credit for experience in the legal field. An externship offers law students the opportunity to apply legal knowledge and procedure learned in the classroom and to develop practical lawyering skills through hands-on experiences at field placements within the legal and business community. An externship placement is an ideal experience for students to interact with legal and business professionals, apply knowledge and skills, develop practical lawyering skills, and enhance individual professionalism. It is also an opportunity to earn academic credit.

As an Extern, you will:

  • Acquire increased substantive and procedural knowledge;
  • Further develop the ability to analyze, synthesize, and critically apply the law to a set of facts by using appropriate legal reasoning skills;
  • Demonstrate increased competence with research-related tasks or projects;
  • Be able to identify and articulate the legal problems faced by externship site placement and present satisfactory options for addressing those problems;
  • Use communication techniques and skills appropriate to the site placement;
  • Develop written communication skills appropriate for professional settings including litigation documents, policy papers, transactional documents, and emails;
  • Learn and apply the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct, specifically Rules 1.1 and 1.6-1.10; and
  • Develop the ability to communicate and collaborate with others effectively, including assisting and supporting the legal system by treating others with dignity and respect.

Externship Program Eligibility and Structure


All full-time students may apply for the externship course after completing the first two semesters of law school. First-year full-time students who are applying for a summer or fall externship following the first year must have earned a 2.3 GPA during the first semester of law school.

All part-time students may apply for the externship course after completing the first full year plus the fall and spring semesters of the second year.

Placement Types

The student is placed with a court, an administrative agency, a nonprofit organization, or corporate legal department, usually at sites located in downtown Columbus (unless otherwise noted). There the extern will observe legal processes and assist with legal work under the supervision of a site lawyer.

Placements Made by or through Capital
These are sites that work with the Law School to host qualified students and are considered part of the Externship Program. These sites either host a student based on a recommendation made by the Law School or through a coordinated application review facilitated by the Office of Professional Development. These sites are made up of courts, administrative agencies, nonprofit organizations, or corporate legal departments.

Placement with Employer or Volunteer Site
These sites are not a part of our Externship Program and are approved on a case-by-case basis. Often, these are sites at which students currently work or volunteer. These may include sites outside of central Ohio.

Placement at a Pre-Approved Site that Selects Externs Externally
Included in this category are sites where the placement is not necessarily facilitated by the Law School, as the site has an external application process. The Law School considers these pre-approved partners. Sites in this category include:

  • U.S. Federal Public Defender, Southern District of Ohio
  • U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio
  • Ohio Public Defender
  • Supreme Court of Ohio
  • Ohio Attorney General
  • Legal Aid Society of Columbus
Program Goals

Capital University Law School operates a for-credit externship program to give students the opportunity to develop their practical lawyering skills in government, nonprofit, public service, and other legal organizations. The program aims to teach professional development through experience; to increase insight into legal system; and to help develop an understanding of lawyers’ work and professional responsibilities.

Site Hours and Course Credit

Externs must perform 50 hours of work at the approved site for every hour of course credit to be earned.

A student may earn two (2), three (3), or four (4) credit hours per semester. Part-time students may be permitted to earn one (1) credit hour in exceptional circumstances and
only with approval from the Assistant Dean for Professional Development. A student may earn a maximum of six (6) hours of externship credit.


Externship work is graded as Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory and does not affect GPA. Both the site supervisor and internal faculty supervisor will evaluate students.

Evening Students

Some placement sites are “evening student friendly” and will take students who can only be at the site about two hours during work-week hours and who need to do the remainder of extern work on their own time.

Application and Class Registration

Any student seeking to enroll in the externship course must complete the Externship Application. Students seeking placement through the school’s sites will be informed of selection following application. Students seeking employer approval for site placement will be informed of approval once the employer has completed the site application.

Approved students will be enrolled by the Assistant Dean for Professional Development in the Externship course (students may not register for the course themselves) and will be charged tuition for the enrollment credit.