Externship FAQ

You probably have heard that the law school has adopted new requirements for agency externships. The main thrust of the changes is to require more contact with, and more supervision by, your faculty sponsor — who, in your case, is me. This memo describes what the new system will mean for you. Unless otherwise noted, all assignments may be by e-mail (kang at law.ucla.edu), or in person. E-mail is preferred.

1.Externship plan.

By ____, I would like a draft of a 2-3 page externship plan explaining your educational goals for the semester. The plan should describe what you want to learn from your externship, e.g., what skills you want to develop, what substantive areas of law you want to learn; what aspects you want to examine about the institution you are externing at; what insights about the day-to-day practice of lawyering you hope to probe.

We will discuss the plan at our first “meeting” (face-to-face or virtual), and you will have an opportunity afterward to revise your plan. Final externship plans will be due Friday, Sept. 11.

2. Readings.

Based on the work that you expect to do and the interests identified in your plan, you must help identify three law review articles for us to read together. For instance, if you are externing at the Motion Pictures Association, you may be interested in the intellectual copyright issues raised by a digital environment. If so, do some bibliographic research and identify potential articles for us to read.

3. Meetings.

In addition to the initial meeting, I would like to meet three times (face-to -face or virtually) to discuss the three readings. Imagine that we are in a joint reading group. As you get a better understanding of your schedule, we should work out tentative appointments for these meetings.

4. Papers.

There will be no long paper due at the end of the semester. Instead, you will be required to write short 2-3 page, single spaced, critiques of the articles that we have selected to read. The point of these critiques is not descriptive but analytic. First, present the author’s argument, detailing clearly the various steps in the argument. Then, identify those points in that argument that you agree or disagree with, and explain why. This writing requirement will prepare you for our discussion meetings. You must send these critiques to me before we meet for discussion.

5. Field reports.

In addition to the short papers, you will be required to keep a regular, written record of your workplace experiences and your reflections on those experiences, and to submit your entries to me every Friday, beginning Sept. 18. You do not need to begin keeping this record until after our first meeting. Whether you make entries daily, weekly, or on some intermediate basis will be up to you. The point of this exercise is to force you to think critically about what you are learning about lawyering in general, and about criminal lawyering in particular. Keep copies of your past entries, so that you can compare your earlier and later impressions. Take care not to include in your reports any confidential information related to cases on which you are working; if you are in doubt about whether something falls into this category, discuss it with your on-site supervisor.


As you know, the externship carries eleven units of ungraded (P/U/NC) credit and two units of graded credit. Grades will be based both on your written work — your externship plan, your field reports, and your three short papers — and on the quality of your participation in the seminar meetings.