Clinics, Clinical Alliances, and Externships – BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School

Clinics, Clinical Alliances, and Externships

The following policies govern law school clinic, clinical alliance and externship registration, participation, grading and credit-hour limitations.

1.      Law School Clinic (788R).

A.    A law school clinic provides a substantial lawyering experience that:  (i) involves advising or representing one or more actual clients or serving as a third-party neutral; and (ii) includes the following: (a) direct supervision of the student’s performance by a faculty member; (b) opportunities for performance, feedback from a faculty member, and self-evaluation; and (c) a classroom instructional component.  The determination of whether a course meets these requirements will be made by the Law School Associate Dean for Curriculum and Faculty.

B.     Law School Clinics are graded on a pass/fail basis.

C.     Law school clinics are not subject to the 21-hour cumulative credit hour limitation contained in Section VIII.B.

2.      Clinical Alliance (780R) and Externship (599R).

A.    Clinical Alliance.  A clinical alliance course combines a regularly scheduled 1-credit seminar with a clinical alliance field placement.  The classroom component allows for faculty instruction specifically tailored to the subject matter of the clinical alliance field placement as well as ongoing, contemporaneous, faculty-guided reflection for the clinical alliance field placement experience.

B.     Externship.  An externship is a summer, fall or winter field placement.  Any student who wishes to participate in an externship during fall or winter semester must first complete a clinical alliance course in the same subject matter area as the desired externship field placement. First-year summer externships are not subject to this clinical alliance course requirement.

C.     Clinical Alliance or Externship Field Placement.  The clinical alliance or externship field placement provides a substantial lawyering experience that is reasonably similar to the experience of a lawyer advising or representing a client or engaging in other lawyering tasks in a setting outside a law clinic under the supervision of a licensed attorney or an individual otherwise qualified to supervise, and includes the following: (i) direct supervision of the student’s performance by a faculty member or site supervisor; (ii) opportunities for performance, feedback from either a faculty member or a site supervisor, and self-evaluation; (iii) a written understanding among the student, faculty member, and a person in authority at the field placement that describes both: (a) the substantial lawyering experience and opportunities for performance, feedback and self-evaluation; and (b) the respective roles of faculty and any site supervisor in supervising the student and in assuring the educational quality of the experience for the student, including a clearly articulated method of evaluating the student’s academic performance; and (iv) evaluation of each student’s educational achievement by a faculty member.

D.    Clinical Alliance or Field Placement Registration Process.    In general, placements will be approved on a first-come, first-served basis.  Clinical alliance or externship field placements may be competitive, pre-arranged or student-arranged.

1.      Competitive Clinical Alliance or Externship Field Placements. If a clinical alliance or externship field placement is competitive, the Office of Career Services & Professional Development (“CSPD”) will advertise the field placement opportunity to all eligible students who must complete an application process through the CSPD.  A student who enters the competitive clinical alliance placement process must commit to register for the corresponding clinical alliance course or externship if selected.  A student who is selected by a competitive field placement provider and who fails to accept the placement and to register for the associated clinical alliance course or externship will not be permitted to participate in any future competitive clinical alliance or externship field placements.  Students may only accept one competitive clinical alliance or externship field placement per semester.

2.      Prearranged or Student-Arranged Clinical Alliance or Externship Field Placements.  If the clinical alliance or externship field placement is pre-arranged or student-arranged, the student must complete the petition process for working in an approved clinical alliance or externship field placement through the CSPD.  Details on applying for clinical alliance or externship field placement are available from the CSPD which will assist students in securing placements with pre-arranged or student-arranged placement providers.  Placements with providers who do not have a past or ongoing relationship with the law school will be evaluated to ensure that the student will be properly supervised, provided adequate space and support for work, and given a high quality experiential learning opportunity and must be approved by the CSPD.  Any student who wishes to participate in a pre-arranged or student-arranged clinical alliance field placement during fall or winter semester must enroll in the clinical alliance course which corresponds to the field placement selected by the student.  Any questions about selecting the appropriate clinical alliance course should be directed to the CSPD.

E.     Clinical Alliance or Externship Field Placement Work-Hour Requirement.  Students are required to perform 42.5 hours of work in the clinical alliance or externship field placement for each credit hour earned.

F.      Clinical Alliance and Externship Field Placements Credit Hours.

1.      Generally, students may earn up to 4.0 credits in a fall or winter semester clinical alliance or externship field placement.  Students participating in the Washington Seminar or other curriculum committee approved program may earn up to 9.0 credit hours.

2.      Generally, students may earn up to 4.0 credits in a summer externship field placement, however, up to 6.0 credit hours may be earned under the following circumstances:

a.       A student pursues both an international and a domestic field placement in the same summer;

b.      A student pursues a government or public interest field placement where the placement provider requires the student to spend more than 170 hours in the field placement;

c.       A student pursues two high-quality government or public interest placements which cumulatively require the student to spend more than 170 hours in the respective field placements;

d.       A student pursues a private sector placement for up to 4-credit hours and a government or public interest placement which cumulatively require the student to spend more than 170 hours in the respective field placements.

3.      Only the Director of Externships may grant exceptions to these credit hour limitations and such exceptions will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

G.    Clinical alliance courses and externships are graded on a pass/fail basis.

H.  Credit earned by completing Clinical Alliance (Law 780R) and Externship (Law 599R) courses are subject to the following limitations:

For students entering the law school as first-year students in August 2016 or earlier:

All clinical alliances and externships are subject to the 21-hour cumulative credit hour limitation contained in Section VIII.B.

For students entering the law school as first-year students in August 2017 or later:

  1.  No more than six (6) externship credits earned during the Spring or Summer semesters may count toward graduation;
  2. No more than three (3) externship credits earned at a law firm placement may count toward graduation;
  3. No more than four (4) externship credits may be earned in a single Externship (Law 599R) or Clinical Alliance (Law 780R) course or experience during a Fall or Winter Semester; provided, however, that students participating in the Washington Semester may earn up to nine (9) externship credits at their Washington Semester externship placement.
  4. In addition to the above limitations, no more than twelve (12) credits from Externship (Law 599R) and Clinical Alliance (Law 780R) may count toward graduation; provided, however, that any student entering BYU Law School in August 2017 or August 2018 and participating in a full-time externship outside the state of Utah in a program approved by the law school may count up to three (3) additional credits from that externship toward graduation if those credits would cause the student to otherwise exceed the 12-credit limitation.
  5. All Clinical Alliance (Law 780R) and Externship (Law 599R) credits are subject to the 21-hour cumulative credit hour limitation contained in Section VIII.B.

I.        Students may not receive both compensation and credit for any field placement work.  Stipends for travel expenses, living expenses and other costs associated with the field placement work are permitted.

J.       Generally, only students who complete the first year curriculum may enroll in an externship or clinical alliance.  Students who seek an exception to this rule must submit a written petition to the Externship Director identifying the proposed field placement and the first year courses not yet completed.  An exception will only be granted where the Externship Director, the Dean of Students and the appropriate field placement faculty supervisor agree to the exception.

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