Academic Programs

Legal Externship Program

The Legal Externship Program (LEP) is a one semester program where students work for credit at a legal organization in Boston. Students work in areas related to children's law, civil rights and human rights, education law, IP law, environmental law, and finance, to name a few.

Students may work at a public interest, nonprofit, or government organization. Students may also work in the legal department of a corporate placement. A student may do an internship at a law firm, but only if the student works solely on pro bono projects.

Credits and Hours

Students receive variable credits (pass/fail) for the fieldwork component of the externship, determined as follows:

  • 3 credits = 150 hours total
  • 4 credits = 200 hours total
  • 5 credits = 250 hours total

With permission from the Office of Clinical Programs, students may receive 6, 7, 8 or 9 credits for the fieldwork (300, 350, 400 and 450 hours, respectively).

The student's schedule and hours are determined in consultation with the placement supervisors. Some placements require 250 hours. The fieldwork begins the first week of classes and students work through the last week of classes. Students may not begin the fieldwork before the semester begins.

In addition to the fieldwork, students receive three graded credits for a seminar in legal ethics. For specific course information: fieldwork; seminar.

Field Placement

Upon acceptance to the LEP, the program directors work with students to identify suitable field placements depending on each student's individual interests and career goals. Once possible placement organizations are identified, students are responsible for applying to those organizations.

Although there are no formal prerequisites for the LEP, some classes are highly recommended. For any litigation-based placement, you should have taken Evidence. Additionally, you should take any other substantive law class that will help you understand the law related to your placement. For example, if you want to work at an environmental placement, you should take an environmental law class.


An integral part of the externship is a two hour weekly seminar examining legal practice and the ethics of lawyering. The seminar requires students to write a paper and make a class presentation. In addition, each student keeps a weekly journal chronicling their educational experience and reactions to the practice of law observed at the field placements.

The seminar satisfies the Law School’s professional responsibility requirement.