Western State offers a wide variety and large number of educational placement options, matched to fit individual student goals, experience, academic standing and expectations. Students receive academic credit and individual feedback from supervisors for the legal work they perform. Every student is encouraged and has the opportunity to participate in one or more externships during their time in law school.

In addition to the time spent in their placement, student externs also meet weekly in an on-campus seminar to debrief their experiences and gain a deeper understanding of their role and the functions and responsibilities of attorneys, judges and other legal personnel.

Civil Practice Externships

Students are placed part-time in law firms, state or federal agencies, corporations or other practice settings in the civil law field. Under the supervision of an attorney, these student externs research cases, write memos, interview clients, participate in court proceedings or perform other tasks relating to civil practice. Students in civil law externships may be eligible for certification for court appearances under State Bar rules.

Criminal Law Externships

Students enrolled in a Criminal Law Externship work an average of 12-15 hours per week in the District Attorney, Public Defender or Alternate Defender Offices in Orange County and adjacent counties.

First Year Summer Honors Program

First year students who are invited to participate in the Summer Honors Program will be assigned to part-time appellate, judicial trial or civil practice externships for the eight-week summer session.

Judicial Appellate Externships

Eligible students, if selected by a justice, are placed in the chambers of either a state or federal appellate judge. These students research and draft opinions for the jurist on either a full-time (400 hours) or part-time (150 hours) basis.

Judicial Trial Externships

Eligible students, if selected by the court, are placed in the chambers of a trial level judge in Orange County, Los Angeles or Riverside County Court, where they assist with a variety of tasks in civil or criminal cases.

Externship Benefits

Students earn five units of credit for part-time placements and ten units for full-time appellate placements. Most importantly, externs gain a unique awareness of practice realities and the attendant professional obligations that they will face in their future legal careers. Externships are also viewed as a mark of distinction by many prospective employers.

Mike Zatlin

Mike Zatlin to extern at California Court of Appeal

August 18, 2014

Congratulations to 4L Mike Zatlin,  selected to assist Justice William Bedsworth at the California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, this fall.  After completing this prestigious judicial externship, Mike looks forward to graduation in spring 2015 and to a new career helping others though the practice of law, following his previous career in electronic sales. Mr Zatlin also serves on the Law Review; as a member of the Honors Moot Court Team he has represented Western State at the New York Law School Wagner Labor Law Competition in the Spring of both 2013 and 2014.