The USC School of Law appreciates your willingness to serve as a supervising judge for our judicial externship program. The purpose of this memo is to give you some insight into the externship program and some guidelines to refer to as a supervising judge.
An externship is first and foremost an academic undertaking. Students will have the opportunity to obtain practical experience, but the ultimate goal is to provide them with another way to learn, namely in an on-the-job setting.
Throughout the externship, the students should have the opportunity to learn how your court functions structurally, as well as how you, as judge, address ethical, substantive, and procedural issues that come before you. This can be achieved by exposing the students to the judicial decision-making process through observation or participation in the various court functions such as case evaluation, legal research, discussion of attorney performance, and conferences with counsel.
The students would benefit from the continued development of their research and writing skills by working on legal memoranda, bench memoranda, opinions, and motions and that is a valid part of the externship. But we ask that you help to ensure that they also have every opportunity possible to observe court, especially your interaction with lawyers practicing before the court.
In addition to the objectives above, here are some additional suggestions:
We recognize and appreciate that your days are very busy and adding an extern will increase your workload. We understand that sometimes the extern will be working closely with your law clerk and/or assistant. However, the more time they can spend directly with you the better. We request that you perform the primary supervision of the externs, including work assignments, supervision of work and critiques of such work.
Judge Thomas Cooper from Manning will be teaching the course component of the externship. In addition to the time they work with you, the externs must also attend four classes at the law school. The purpose of the class component is to discuss and reflect upon what they have done and observed as well as to learn about each others' experiences. They will be instructed on the importance of maintaining confidences in those classroom discussions. Externs will also be providing Judge Cooper with written journals memorializing the lessons they feel they are learning throughout the experience. Based upon your evaluations of the students, their journal entries, attendance (both at the externship and the class), and class participation, each student will receive a letter grade at the end of the course.
The externship course will run from approximately June 3, 2013-July 22, 2013 and the students are expected to work at least 35 hours per week. The class meetings with Judge Cooper will take place on Thursday afternoons. We recognize that many, if not all of you will be taking vacations during this time and the externs will keep Judge Cooper aware of the dates they are not at the court.
Judge Cooper will be in touch with you during the summer to make sure everything is going well. Also, please do not hesitate contact the externship coordinator, Megan Seiner with any questions, comments, or concerns throughout the externship and afterwards. Megan's email is firstname.lastname@example.org and telephone number is 803-777-1451.
We are so grateful for all of your help!