The Judicial Externship Program provides students with the opportunity to work in judicial chambers on legal research memos and judicial opinions under the supervision of judges and their postgraduate or permanent law clerks. Our students extern with judges at state and federal trial and appellate courts as well as with administrative law judges.
- Classroom Component – 1 unit
- Orientation – mandatory, two business days prior to the first day of classes for the semester (Spring 2018, January 4th and 5th)
- Pre- or Co-Requisite Requirement – 2 to 3 units
Complete course from the approved list, prior to or during the externship semester
- Fieldwork Component – 3 to 9 units
Full time externs – minimum of 12 weeks for at least 35 hours per week
Part-time externs – minimum of 12 weeks, minimum of 45 hours per unit
Classroom Component (1 Unit, graded pass-fail): All judicial externs complete a mandatory two day orientation prior to starting in their placement. The class does not meet on an ongoing going basis but externs are in regular contact with their faculty supervisor. In addition, each student must complete a 2-3 unit pre- or co-requisite course of his or her choice from an approved list of courses.
The mandatory orientation takes place at UC Law SF during the two business days preceding the first day of classes for the semester. The ongoing supervision requires students to keep a journal during their placement and to be in contact with the faculty supervisor several times during the semester. This contact may be by telephone or e-mail if the student(s fieldwork is outside of the Bay Area.
Placement (3 to 9 Units, graded pass-fail. Placement units count against non-classroom 20 unit cap.) Students may earn up to 9 units of non-classroom credit by working as externs at any level of state or federal courts and at some selected administrative agency tribunals. Students may extern part-time and earn between 3 and 8 units of fieldwork credit, computed at the rate of one unit for every 45 hours of work. Full-time externs may earn 9 units (for a minimum of 12 weeks and a minimum of 35 hours per week).
If the externship does not afford a substantial research and writing experience or is with a court of limited jurisdiction, the maximum number of units which may be earned is 5 (the maximum number of units for criminal court and externships with administrative law judges is 5).
Students may extern anywhere in California; externships outside California require advanced permission.
Interested students should inquire at the Externships and Pro Bono Programs Office early in the semester prior to the semester or summer during which they would like to extern. It is helpful to review the surveys of prior externs’ experiences available in the externship office. Group meetings about the program requirements are held each semester. A student who accepts a judicial externship position may not withdraw to take a position with another judge or court.
All judicial externships for credit are open to 4th, 5th, and 6th semester students. For permission to enroll, please contact Professor Professor Nira Geevarigs, email@example.com.
Can I do two externships (or an externship and a clinic or the Startup Legal Garage) in the same semester?
UC Law SF Academic Regulations state that students may not enroll in a two live-client experiences—including a clinic, an externship, and the Start-Up Legal Garage—in the same semester. (See AR 2704 & 2808.) This restriction may be waived if a student has consent from both faculty supervisors and can demonstrate that he/she can manage the workload and that conflicts of interest will be clearly identified and will be manageable.
Think about what you are hoping to take from this experience
A judicial externship is a special opportunity to see how justice is administered. With the exception of post-grad clerkships, this is one opportunity many will not have again in practice. That said, you should consider what your goals are for the experience as it will help guide where you apply (both geographically and to what court), and if another experiential opportunity might better serve your larger career/ learning objectives.
Consider what level of court you want to be at
What do you want your interactions with the judge or clerk to be like? Do you want more research or more court observation?
- Trial Courts – SF Superior Court, U.S. District Judges and Magistrate Judges, Agency and Specialty Courts
- Appellate Courts – CA Court of Appeal, CA Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals
Research the Judges
- Research in the Externships office – read reviews from prior externs which outline how much time the extern spent with their judge, what their work load was like, etc.
- Look Online – Google and use WL/ Lexis to read their opinions.
- UC Law SF career site – Review the Summer Surveys for limited information on the placements and to see where UC Law SF students have worked previously.
Timing of Applications
The timing of reviewing applications and conducting interviews varies greatly by location and judge but a majority of hiring for the Spring Semester takes place in September and October. If you don’t have a placement by the end of October and are flexible about where you work, there will still be some positions available. With the exception of the online system for the U.S. Northern District http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/externships, there is no easy way to tell if a judge/ court has openings and when they are conducting interviews. Start by selecting five or so placements you would happily say “yes” to. If those don’t work out, then move on to additional placements.
What You Need to Submit
All chambers expect that you will submit a cover letter, a transcript (unofficial is fine), a resume, three references or letters of recommendation, and a 5-10 page writing sample. Some chambers have additional requirements, look for these in the posting or ask if there is anything additional when you contact chambers. If you are submitting via email, put all of the documents into a single pdf for the convenience of the court. As you know, proofread carefully, including your email note submitting your materials.For More Information or to Confirm Your Externship Contact Professor Brittany Glidden, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The classes officially designated as satisfying the pre- or co-requisite course requirements are as follows:
The following courses satisfy the pre-/co-requisite requirement for any externship:
- Advanced Criminal Law Seminar
- Advanced Legal Research
- Alternative Dispute Resolution and Settlement
- Capital Punishment Seminar
- Class Actions Seminar
- Courts as a Political Actor Seminar
- Criminal Punishment Seminar
- Judicial Process Seminar
- Negotiations and Settlement
- Negotiations and Mediation.
- Pretrial Practice
- Problem Solving & Professional Judgment
- Roles and Ethics in Practice
- Trial Advocacy I or II
- Trial Objections
If you have not taken one of the above courses and would like to choose a course which is more closely tailored to your externship, choose one of the following:
Federal District and Circuit Courts:
Complex Litigation, Federal Courts, Federal Criminal Law, Federal Pretrial Litigation
Any appellate court externship:
Any California court:
California Civil Procedure
California appellate courts:
California Appellate Process
California family law courts:
Wills and Trusts
Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Remedies
Keep in mind that these are pre- or co-requisites, and are intended to be completed before or taken during the semester of your externship. Only one of the courses listed above is necessary. Students registering for summer externships for credit may complete an appropriate course in the fall semester.
SF SUPERIOR COURT- Each county in California has a trial court (Superior Court). The Court is divided into Civil and Criminal Divisions. Externs usually work part-time. Externs research and write to assist judge in ruling on motions. Writing experience may be less extensive than at other courts. Opportunity to observe court proceedings.
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGES- Externs prepare “bench memoranda” to assist judge in ruling on various pretrial motions (civil and criminal). Externs also draft dispositions on social security, habeas corpus, and prisoner civil rights claims. Opportunity to observe courtroom proceedings. Externs usually work full-time.
U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGES- U.S. Magistrate Judges are appointed by U.S. District Judges. In the Northern District of California magistrates have their own case calendars as well as matters, such as discovery disputes or settlement, referred by district judges. Externs prepare “bench memoranda” to assist magistrates in ruling on matters referred by district judges and related to their own caseload. Externs may be full or part-time.
AGENCY COURTS & SPECIALTY COURTS – Often these courts don’t have clerks so externs have close contact with the judge. This allows you to specialize in an area of law. These placements may not offer a substantial writing experience, depending on the placement, and are generally part time.
CALIFORNIA COURTS OF APPEAL- Extern researches issues presented in appellant’s and respondent’s briefs, reviews trial record, and drafts an opinion for the judge. Cases are both civil and criminal. Externs usually work full-time. Address cover letter to “Justice” before the Judge’s name.
CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT- Extern often screen petitions for hearing and write “conference memos” recommending whether a hearing should be granted or denied (most are denied). Some externs work on “calendar memos” for cases for which a hearing is granted — discussing issues in greater detail and recommending disposition. Externs screen mostly civil cases. Externs usually work full-time. Address cover letter to “Justice” before the Judge’s name.
U.S. COURT OF APPEALS-NINTH CIRCUIT- Externs prepare “bench memoranda” to assist judge at oral argument. Externs also draft “memorandum dispositions” and opinions following oral argument. Externs work full-time.
- U.S. District Courts
- SF Superior Courts
- CA Court of Appeals
- CA Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Application materials include cover letter, résumé, writing sample (5 – 10 pages), transcript and three professional references
(E) Electronic Applications
Click Career Opportunities, then, Applying for Judicial Externships
Dear Judge _____
Charles R. Breyer (E)
Edward M. Chen
James Donato- email email@example.com
Susan Illston- email SI_Applications@cand.uscourts.gov
William H. Orrick
Jon S. Tigar- email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pro Se Department- email Michael_deibert@cand.uscourts.gov
*Jacqueline Scott Corley (E)
*Elizabeth D. Laporte
*Joseph C. Spero
*Nandor Vadas (Eureka) (E)
Dear Judge ____
Saundra B. Armstrong- email Keith_Fong@cand.uscourts.gov
Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers (E)
Phyllis J. Hamilton
Jeffrey S. White
Pro Se Department (E)
*Donna M. Ryu
*Kandis A. Westmore
Lucy H. Koh
Ronald M. Whyte *Nathanael M. Cousins- email Jonah_Lalas@cand.uscourts.gov
*Paul Singh Grewal
(*Magistrate Judges) SF Superior Courts The Honorable ____ SF Superior Court 400 McAllister Street SF, CA 94102 Dear Judge _____ Ernest H. Goldsmith
Teri L. Jackson
Richard A. Kramer
Newton J. Lam
James J. McBride
Ronald E. Quidachay
A. James Robertson II Mary E. Wiss Garrett L. Wong Kristen Hoadley Staff Attorney Unified Family Court SF Superior Court 400 McAllister, Rm 441 SF, CA 94102 email@example.com Dear Ms. Hoadley Hon. Peter J. Busch Hon. Andrew Y.S. Cheng Probate Department SF Superior Court 400 McAllister, #204 SF, CA 94102 Dear Judge Busch and Judge Cheng The Honorable ___ SF Superior Court 850 Bryant Street SF, CA 94103 Dear Judge ____ Tracie L. Brown Bruce E. Chan
Samuel K. Feng
Jeffrey S. Ross
Kay Tsenin CA Courts of Appeal The Honorable ____ California Court of Appeal 350 McAllister Street SF, CA 94102 Dear Justice ____ Paul R. Haerle Jim Humes- email Mary.Jean.Mitchell@jud.ca.gov
Martin J. Jenkins
J. Anthony Kline
Stuart R. Pollak
Timothy A. Reardon
Maria P. Rivera
Ignazio J. Ruvolo
Peter J. Siggins
Mark B. Simons CA Supreme Court The Honorable ____ Supreme Court of California 350 McAllister Street SF, CA 94102 Dear Justice ____
C.J. Tani Cantil-Sakauye- email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ming Chin Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar- email email@example.com
Civil Central Staff U.S Court of Appeals For the Ninth Circuit The Honorable _____ U.S. Court of Appeals P.O. Box 193939 SF, CA 94119-3939 Dear Judge ____ Carlos Bea
Lynn Ng, Office of Staff Attys. US Bankruptcy Court The Honorable ____ U.S. Bankruptcy Court 235 Pine Street SF, CA 94104 Dear Judge ____ Thomas E. Carlson
Dennis Montali The Honorable ____ U.S. Bankruptcy Court PO Box 2070 Oakland, CA 94604- 2070 Dear Judge ____ Roger L. Efremsky
M. Elaine Hammond
William J. Lafferty III The Honorable ____ U.S. Bankruptcy Court 280 S. First Street San Jose, CA 95113 Dear Judge ____Stephen L. Johnson