Academic Programs

How to Plan for the Semester-in-Practice Program

Plan early! 

Spending the semester away takes foresight and preparation. We recommend you get information about the program and internships as early as you can in your law school career. Here's what you should do:

First, get an idea of what organizations may support your career path. If you are interested in the Government Lawyering Program, meet with Professor Sean Kealy.  If you are interested in any of the other programs, set up a meeting with the Office of Clinical Programs.  Also meet with the CDO to discuss your overall career goals.

Then, make some informational inquiries. Contact relevant organizations to find out if they take interns and how to apply. Our program requires you to work on legal work, and that your supervisor be an attorney.

You should spend your 2L year taking courses that would support your externship.  Also take several core bar classes – you don’t want to leave bar classes for your 3L year if you’ll be gone a full semester.  Map out your course plan to make sure you satisfy all of BU Law's graduation requirements, and adhere to any credit caps (for example, BU Law's 16-credit non-gpa maximum). If you think you may want to do the program your spring 3L year, be sure you take professional responsibility first.

How to apply

As a first step, you should be accepted to the placement organization. Next, you will need to receive permission from BU Law by filling out the Semester-in-Practice Program application.

Before applying to either the placement organization or the SiP Program, you must meet with the Office of Clinical Programs (Geneva, Death Penalty or Independent Proposal Programs) or Professor Sean Kealy (Government Program). By doing so, any concerns about your plans can be worked out prior to applying to any outside organizations.

Your application will be reviewed based on the following criteria:  the quality of the opportunity, how well the opportunity supports your career and academic plans, how well your employment and coursework background have prepared you for the opportunity, and any other factors the committee deems relevant. To be approved, your proposed supervisor must be an attorney.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. The deadline is August 1 for fall participation, and December 1 for spring participation.

Human Rights Externship –The UNHCR has asked us to review applications and choose which students will participate.  Therefore, you should not apply to the UNHCR on your own.  Instead, upcoming 3Ls should submit the SiP application by February 15, for fall and spring participation.  If you are a 2L hoping to participate your spring 2L year, plan to take supporting coursework your fall 2L year and submit a SiP application by Oct. 15.

Finding a faculty sponsor

As part of the SiP application, you will need to find a faculty sponsor who will work with you on the academic portion of the program. The Faculty Sponsor Agreement (link below) outlines the sponsor's responsibilities. You can give the Agreement to any faculty member you approach, so that the faculty member knows what is involved.

Professor Sean Kealy is the designated faculty supervisor for the Government Lawyering in D.C. Program. Students interested in the Death Penalty Program should contact Professor Tracey Maclin. Students seeking a faculty sponsor should begin by contacting faculty members who do research or practice through the clinical programs in the area in which the student will be doing their Semester in Practice. Seek out faculty who are not already overloaded with supervisory commitments. The Faculty Supervisory Database is designed to help students identify these faculty members.