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Summer Program

Examples of Externship Projects:

  • Review agreements for liability and insurance issues
  • Make an employee manual more user-friendly
  • Attend staff meetings, strategy meetings, and in-house CLEs
  • Brainstorm solutions to antitrust questions
  • Help prepare for negotiations between a parent and subsidiary
  • Create a system for tracking SEC filings
  • Research the effect of new legislation on a company
  • Revise a licensing agreement
  • Craft a list of corporate governance questions that might be asked by shareholders during an annual meeting
  • Revise a vendor agreement template for readability
  • Compare interstate and international laws
  • Watch
  • Listen

Q&A for Corporate Externship Supervisors

Why did the University of Minnesota Law School start the Corporate Externship Program?
The Corporate Externship Program is a way for the law school to provide students with experiences in business law, specifically in corporate law. The law school's only other externship program, the Judicial Externship, familiarizes students with the workings of the court system. The Corporate Externship Program familiarizes students with the working connections between law and business in corporate counsel settings.

This program is a fitting companion to our Corporate Institute's Business Law Clinic, where students represent start-up and emerging businesses in non-dispute-related matters.

Which students are eligible to sign up for the program?
Any student who has successfully completed the second year of law school may participate in this program.

In what kinds of projects and activities can we expect students to participate?
We ask that projects be transactional (non-dispute), but the projects you assign students will be up to you. Projects and activities should focus on research, writing, and thinking related to lawyering and business skills—problem analysis, organizational strategy, negotiation, and drafting or revising commercial documents. Approximately half of the student time should be experiencing the environment of the corporate legal department. Shadowing, mentoring, and other kinds of observation are experiential activities.

How do you assign students to companies?
We will assign a student based on the student's preferences when possible. We also may be able to address a specific request you may have as to organizational experience or foreign language proficiency.

Can we offer placements to more than one student?
Yes, if that fits your program and schedule. It probably does not increase your workload to accept more than one extern. Some of our placements prefer taking more than one.

How can my company participate?
Contact David Fisher at the Corporate Institute at the Law School.

What are the interests of the students who will choose this program?
Many students who attend law school have a strong interest in the business side of law. Their career goals do not include adversarial dispute resolution. These are the students who will be most interested in this program.

Will we be required to compensate students for the work they do?
No. The students pay tuition for this 3-credit course. And they are not employees under to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

How many hours can we expect the students will be at our company?
The students will put in 150 on-site hours. This is up to 20 hours per week during the summer session. In the past many students have put in more than 150 hours, with the permission of their supervisors.

How will you evaluate the students?
We evaluate the students based on feedback from you and from the students and on assignments that will be part of the program.

How will you evaluate the program?
Feedback from you and from students will provide us with the best information about the quality and value of the program. Both supervisors and students complete evaluation surveys at the end of the summer.

Will the students be graded for participating in this program?
Grades for the Corporate Externship are on a Pass/No Pass basis.

Is there anything else students will be required to do to earn the credits?

  • Corporate Counsel Presentation
  • Essay based on interview or conversations with placement supervisors on their experiences in the role of corporate counsel
  • Weekly reflective journal

For more information, contact:

David F. Fisher
Executive Director