The supervised practicum course is available for students seeking an experiential learning opportunity that is not otherwise available in the Law School’s curriculum and a faculty member is willing to supervise the student’s work in the field. This is a distinct class from the “Supervised Research” course.
The supervised practicum is an exceptional course because the School’s recent expansion of externship courses and law clinics provide a wide array of law in practice opportunities that minimize the gaps the supervised practicum course was designed to fill. That said, instances arise when the supervised practicum is a suitable vehicle for academic experiential learning. The practicum does not count against the School’s Clinical Program Guarantee.
Externships and practica are distinct from being a paid law clerk because the paid clerk is there as an employee to meet the employer’s objectives. In contrast, students in practica and other academic externships are at the placement for legal practice experience and bring educational objectives to the placement. Thus, the student should determine what the institution has to offer the student. In the process of obtaining that experience, students will undoubtedly provide some valuable service and will, of course, be bound by the rules and norms of the placement. The more actively students seek a good educational experience, the more students will receive from the fieldwork. In choosing placements, and while in them, students should speak with the field supervisor about the primary work of the institution and what role the student may play in it.