Externship Program

Externship Program

Externship Experiences

Administrative Law

My externship with the Civil Rights Division of the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Not only did I get to see firsthand the types of civil rights issues that Medicaid beneficiaries may experience, I got to make a difference with the work and research that I did. I got an insider view into the inner workings of a state agency and how it operates. I am so lucky to have gotten to meet so many amazing people within the government who work hard to make the state better for all!

— Rebecca Akselrod, Class of 2017

"I highly recommend the Administrative Law Externship for students who want to learn more about the administrative law decision-making process. Participating in the Administrative Law Externship Program was a rewarding experience for me. Not only did I learn more than I could have ever hoped for, but I also was able to see real legal issues in a real-world setting. The externship program allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of government agencies as well as put my administrative law classroom knowledge to use outside of the classroom. My externship has taught me research and analytical skills that will be helpful in becoming a practicing attorney."

— Ivia Smith, Class of 2017

"The Administrative Law Externship has been one of the best experiences I have had in law school. The attorneys at the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation are so helpful and willing to work with you. You learn a lot about the administrative process and are able to sit in on hearings to get a broader understanding of how agencies operate. This was absolutely a phenomenal experience and I would definitely do it again if given the choice!"

— William O'Shields, Class of 2017

"Both my placement at Santee Cooper and my supervising attorney were extraordinary. Working there not only strengthened my ability to advocate, business knowledge, and research skills, it also helped me clarify my career path. It was a wonderful place to get my hands dirty with an assortment of legal issues and to make recommendations to my supervisor in a safe space. Her feedback on my work was a huge eye-opener. In law school, we don't often have the chance to hear whether the position we take on an issue is the correct one or best for the client, or even if there are better solutions we had not thought of. I can't recommend this experience enough!"

— Anna Lynn Moore, Class of 2017

"Overall, my experience at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has been very rewarding and I think I have grown a lot. Not only have I gained a better understanding of the inner workings of administrative law, I feel that my experience has solidified my desire to work in this area. During my externship I have improved my researching skills immensely. I know this will be a useful skill that I will be able to utilize throughout my final year of law school and beyond."

— Lexi Flores, Class of 2017

An externship is a great opportunity for students to specifically select an area of law in which they would like to gain more experience, which is different from a law clerk position because your chances of obtaining a law clerk position in your specific area of preference are much more limited. For instance, prior to my externship I know that I would like to practice education law, including special education law and eventually get into education policy. This is a very specific and narrow field, and there are very few firms and opportunities in this area.

The administrative externship was my greatest opportunity to gain more exposure to this field by working for the SC Department of Education in the Office of General Counsel. I was able to work in all three of these specific areas. I worked with the attorneys who specialized in special education law. I was able to learn more about South Carolina education policies and policy making by attending monthly meetings of the SC State Board of Education. I also learned about the overlap of education law and employment law when I worked with cases involving breach of contract and teacher disciplinary cases.

Not only did I gain more experience in the area of law that I prefer, but also I was able to make connections with education law professionals who worked for the Department of Education and for firms that specialize in this area. My externship has also lead to other employment opportunities, and as law students, that's our ultimate goal. I hope everyone has as great an experience as I did!

— Chelsea Rikard, Class of 2014

An externship is a great opportunity to 1) gain experience and add it to your resume, and 2) an even better opportunity to meet people. My supervisor at the Division of Natural Resources and just telling people that I was an extern there has led to many conversations at networking events (always leads to "Oh! You like environmental law and land use? I should introduce you to so-and-so," or "Do you know xyz?" etc.).

— Sara Bozarth, Class of 2014

Children's Law

I had the pleasure of participating in children's law externship. I was placed at the Kershaw County Guardian ad Litem office. It was such an honor and privilege working with this organization. It was nice to gain firsthand experience with individuals whose sole purpose is to advocate for the best interest of children. I had never met such dedicated and devoted people, who truly go above and beyond to ensure that those children who have been abused and/or neglected are represented in court. I was in awe with the program and what it had to offer, so much so that I became a guardian ad litem myself and I have the children's law externship to thank for this wonderful opportunity.

— Jazmon Kearse, Class of 2014

The Children's Law Externship was one of the best experiences I've had in law school. Working with lawyers at the Attorney General's office who prosecute child abuse cases everyday encouraged me to pursue a job as a solicitor after law school so that I too can be a voice for those victims who cannot fight for themselves. Not only did the Children's Law Externship inspire my career choice, it also gave me practical skills, like interviewing victims and working in an office environment that I could not have obtained in the classroom. I wholeheartedly recommend any externship to any law student.

— Pete Shahid, Class of 2014

Criminal Law

"My summer externship at the Attorney General's Office has reminded me that I am in law school because I want to be a lawyer and I am going to LOVE being a lawyer. This is honestly the best thing that a person gains from doing an externship. It is easy to forget why you are in law school and to start thinking "wow what if I really just suck at this and no one had the heart to tell me?" This externship has wiped my fears away. I remember why I enrolled in law school. I got my confidence back and that is truly what I needed this summer."

— Grace Barringer, Class of 2017

"My summer externship with the Capital Trial Division of the South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense was an incredible opportunity to work hands-on with pending death penalty cases. Working side-by-side with an experienced attorney allowed me to meet several clients and complete work that furthered the case for the defense. The legal work I completed was substantive work-product material necessary for the defense's case-at-hand. My goals for the program were to learn more about the criminal justice system and ensure that all of these indigent clients facing the death penalty received the best defense possible. It is an honor for me to say that these goals have well-been accomplished."

— Caitlyn Pennington, Class of 2017

"During my externship I was able to find cases or statutes that allowed the attorneys to move forward with trial preparation and would provide the basis for the arguments that they would make during trial. It was a good feeling to have an attorney slap me high five when I resolved a critical issue or hear them cite the cases that I found on the record in court. Sure, some of these issues that I was able to resolve may have been an inevitable discovery, that if the attorneys did the research they would have found them too, the point is that I was the one who found them. No matter how strongly you feel that you would be able to do something given the opportunity, you don't truly know until you do it. For me, this externship program gave me the opportunity to do just that, to show myself that I can work in a fast paced, high pressured legal environment and not just survive, but thrive."

— Robert J. Grimm, Class of 2017

The summer Criminal Law Externship was an invaluable experience that allowed me to convert the classroom to the workroom. Being able to apply actual concepts learned in the classroom to the real world, allowed me to see just how great of a job our professors do and to further envision my future. Most importantly, not only did the program allow me to gain great practical experience in a prosecution setting, but it gave me the opportunity to build relationships with some great attorneys that will last throughout my career.

— Stuart Brooks, Class of 2014

My externship with the Federal Public Defender's Office was an excellent opportunity to work one-on-one with an experienced lawyer in a real-life context. I was given both the freedom and responsibility to work on a long-term project that affected people's freedom. It was a very useful and rewarding experience and I am happy that I took the opportunity to gain a new perspective.

— Chelsea Clark, Class of 2014

In-House Counsel

"I have truly enjoyed my time working as a law clerk with the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina (ECSC). Not only did this externship placement directly relate to my personal career goals but I was able to valuable insight into the life of general counsel of an entity. As a law clerk, I was able to research and write legal memos concerning varying subject matter. Furthermore, I was able to engage with a number of different stakeholders which gave me a valuable perspective. I am very fortunate to have gained a great mentor and I am looking forward to continuing to work as a law clerk for the ECSC next semester."

— Kintéshia S. Scott, Class of 2017

Judicial Externship

My judicial externship experience with Judge Childs was both unforgettable and invaluable. With my goal of eventually having a civil litigation practice, Judge Childs made a special effort to expose me to issues in that area of practice. From day one, Judge Childs and everyone in her chambers make you feel welcomed as part of the family. I was fortunate enough to be invited to sit in on hearings and allowed to work closely with Judge Childs and her judicial clerks in drafting orders and opinions across a wide variety of legal topics. This externship has an unbelievable impact on my understanding of both procedural and substantive aspects of the law, and I am certain that it will continue to have that impact as I finish my education and make the transition to a career as an attorney. It is a rare opportunity for a law student — or any lawyer for that matter — to see and be a part of the inner workings of the Federal District Court, and I can't possibly recommend this experience enough, especially if you are at all interested in litigation.

— Carson R. Parker, Class of 2017

My summer in the Judicial Externship program has been one of the most rewarding experiences I've had in law school. Being able to work closely with a Federal Judge is an opportunity that most law students do not have, but they should! I was able to draft orders and assist with trial preparation. This externship will have a lasting impact on my legal education and career. I would highly recommend any student who has an interest in clerking to do this externship because this experience is invaluable!

— Lauren Lavin, Class of 2017

The summer externship course at USC Law is a true hidden gem. The externship was a perfect fit because it combined my desire to eventually practice appellate law with the skills I developed during my first two years of school. I was fortunate enough to spend thirteen weeks during the summer after my 2L year working for the Honorable Kaye G. Hearn, Associate Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court.

From day one as a Hearn-tern (the name Justice Hearn uses to affectionately describe her interns), I was given big shoes to fill. My tasks included a wide variety of research and writing assignments and I attended every hearing of the Court during my summer. I got to know many of the Justices on a personal level. I had the opportunity to draft bench memoranda that were reviewed by Justice Hearn and distributed to all members of the Court. In addition, I provided support on opinion writing and drafted speeches for Justice Hearn to give before public groups. The ability to have my work critiqued daily by a Supreme Court Justice was an invaluable experience that took my writing game to the next level.

I would highly recommend a Supreme Court externship to anyone willing to work hard who wishes to learn about appellate practice in South Carolina.

— Steve Meyer, Class of 2014

I really enjoyed my experience with the Judicial Externship program. I had the opportunity to clerk for a Federal Judge — helping her draft opinions and participating in trial preparation. The skills I learned during my externship semester have been valuable not only in my summer clerkships, but also in my class work.

— Lauren Patterson, Class of 2014

Legislation Externship

Working alongside State Senator Marlon Kimpson in his first term in Columbia presented the invaluable opportunity for me to apply my passion for Constitutional law in the very environment that wrestles with federalism and supremacy the most. As an extern, I found myself immersed in the relevant legal questions and concerns underlying the bills that were being discussed on the Senate floor. The Legislative Externship, for me, provided a comprehensive legal perspective of State governance in real time. I would recommend this experience to any student who has an interest in parsing through contemporary legal issues in the realm of State affairs that addresses them at their inception.

— Adam Mandell, Class of 2014

Participating in USC Law's Legislative Externship was such a rewarding experience. I learned a great deal about our great state's legislative process and got a sneak peek behind the scenes at how the SC House of Representatives deals with important issues that affect our lives every day. One of the most beneficial aspects of the externship was the networking opportunities it offered. It was because of the relationships that I formed with various Representatives and staff and the critical knowledge I gained about the inner workings of the State House that I was able to secure my position as a law clerk for the House Labor, Commerce and Industry committee this year. I would highly recommend that anyone who is considering a career in government or policy take advantage of this great opportunity.

— Sarah Phillips, Class of 2014