Pitt Law’s Externship Program allows JD students to earn credit for legal work outside law school during the fall, spring, or summer. MSL and LLM students: contact your program director regarding your program's externship requirements.


  • Externships with non-profit organizations or governmental entities are eligible for the program, whether paid or unpaid. Under limited circumstances, the Externship and Semester in DC Directors may approve externships with for-profit entities.
  • Student externs must do primarily law- or public policy-related work.
  • If the externship is related to law, an attorney must supervise the student extern. If it is policy-focused, an equivalent public policy professional may supervise the student extern.
  • Student externs must work at least 42 hours per externship credit during the program dates.
  • Students may work at their externship sites or remotely (after completing a telework agreement). Historically, telecommuting has not been permitted as part of the externship program (except occasionally due to unusual circumstances, e.g., if the office closes temporarily due to weather or a government shutdown).

For-Profit Externships

For-profit employers should pay law student interns a sufficient salary to enable students to engage in such internships. However, the Externship and Semester in D.C. Directors will approve externship credit for work with for-profit employers under limited circumstances. This policy is meant to enable a student to earn credit for an externship that is educationally valuable to the student but is with a for-profit organization that does not offer paid student internships. These organizations may include small companies, social enterprises, and law firms. To qualify for externship credit, a student’s work with a for-profit entity must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. The student could not pursue the internship without receiving academic credit. (e.g., opportunities through the Semester in D.C. Program, the need to earn academic credit for work due to an employer or visa requirement, or the employer not offering paid internships.)
  2. This internship presents a learning opportunity for the student or fulfills a mandatory external requirement. For example, a fellowship or other external program requires the student to work in an internship, or the work closely matches the student’s career goals, and this is an unusual opportunity to gain skills, knowledge, or career connections not available elsewhere.
  3. Process requirements: To have the for-profit externship preapproved, the student must submit additional for-profit externship information on PittLawWorks. The employer must also address specific for-profit questions on the externship site approval form in advance, confirming that it meets the Pitt Law program requirements and the Department of Labor guidance concerning unpaid internships.

Students commonly engage in externships in judicial chambers, the offices of prosecutors and public defenders, other government agencies (local, state, and federal), and non-profit organizations (domestic and international).

Externship Credit

The Law School awards one externship credit for 42 hours of work satisfactorily completed by a student extern at an approved externship site, up to a maximum of four externship credits that may be earned during the student’s tenure at the Law School. Course credit will be awarded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. 

In addition to satisfactorily completing the externship work at the externship site, a student must also complete the additional requirements indicated on the externship course syllabus, including:

  • following the special enrollment procedures,
  • completing all required classwork on time,
  • logging your externship work hours on PittLawWorks, and
  • submitting the evaluations needed.

The Fall and Spring Externship Program dates follow the Law School calendar, and the Summer Externship Program dates follow the University calendar. The externship requirements for your term will be explained during the mandatory orientation session, described below and in the course syllabus.