The Semester in D.C. Program provides students the opportunity to gain legal and policy experience in the real-world settings where law and policy are made, applied, and practiced. By employing one of our student externs, you give them the chance to learn from practice – and you gain the advantages of a structured, full-time, intensely supervised externship program that draws some of our most ambitious and focused students.

Advantages of the Semester in D.C. program

  • Full-time law student interns during the spring semester. Rather than being limited to only a few hours of work a week, as they would be in a traditional externship program, our students are able to work full-time for a four-month semester in spring (early January to early May).
  • Highly motivated law students who are committed to ultimately working in Washington. The law students who participate in our program have worked hard to set aside an entire semester to come to D.C. They are conscious of the unique opportunity an externship in your office provides them and are prepared to make the most of that opportunity. 
  • Hands-on supervision & training from a full-time faculty member in Washington. In our D.C. Seminar, students meet weekly with Professor Elena Baylis, the director of the program, and get regular feedback on their externship experiences and performance.

Program Requirements

In order to qualify for the program, externships must meet the following requirements:

  1. Employers must be either non-profit organizations or government offices; 
  2. Students must do primarily law- or policy-related work;
  3. Students must be supervised by an attorney, or by an equivalent policy professional if they have policy-focused internships;
  4. Students must work a minimum of 42 hours per externship credit during the semester (This amounts to approximately one day of work per week for each 2 credits.)
  5. Students’ externships must be unpaid (except for a stipend or reimbursement of expenses of up to $3,375); and
  6. Students must work in the office (no telecommuting).

During the externship, the employer, the law school, and the student share responsibility for ensuring the educational quality of the externship. Those responsibilities include:

Employer: For a student to receive credit for the externship, the externship site must be approved in advance, and the supervising attorney must verify the student’s hours worked and complete a final evaluation. We request that each externship employer carefully select a supervising attorney who will provide the extern with prospective guidance on the employer’s expectations for the externship and constructive feedback on the extern’s performance throughout the externship.  At the beginning of the semester, each student is asked to develop a set of goals for his/her externship; we ask that the supervisor review these goals with the extern to discuss whether and how they might be met and to propose modifications if appropriate. Throughout the semester, students should be given substantive, law- or policy-related assignments and the opportunity to participate in the regular work of the office to the extent possible.

Law School: Pitt Law provides continual faculty involvement in each externship, through a weekly seminar meeting, a site visit to the student’s workplace, and faculty review of weekly journal entries and a final seminar research paper.

Student:  Each student is expected to perform his or her work with the dedication, quality of judgment and analytical skill, and attention to professional ethics that can reasonably be expected of a future member of the Bar. To receive credit, the student must meet the responsibilities of the externship in a manner that is deemed satisfactory by the supervisor at the site and the faculty member.

How can employers participate?

Students apply directly to employers for their externships. If you are interested in hiring a Pitt Law extern, please submit an externship announcement. We circulate new externship announcements to students via email and maintain a list of available externships for our students on the law school’s extranet. You can submit information either by filling out our Externship Announcement Form or by sending an e-mail to Prof. Baylis. You may be contacted to confirm the information provided and/or to obtain additional details.

Thank you for your interest in our Semester in D.C. students. If you would like more information about the program, please contact Professor Baylis at pittindc@pitt.edu.