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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.


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.


Students enrolled in a Criminal Law Externship work an average of 14 hours per week in the Office of the Orange County District Attorney or in the Office of the Orange County Public Defender.


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.


This course requires students to work in the chambers of an appellate judge at the state level. The educational objectives of the externship include introducing students to the appellate process, enhancing students’ research and writing skills through drafting legal memoranda and opinions, and exposing students to civil or criminal matters in a “real world” setting. Students will work with judges and/or attorney staff members who will introduce them to civility and ethical issues in practice, as well as the importance of the court case record.


This course requires students to work in the chambers of a trial judge at the state level. The educational objectives include exposing students to the judicial process, allowing them to gain a better understanding of what judges and attorneys do in a litigation setting and the judge’s role as arbiter of disputes. Students will enhance their research and writing skills through drafting legal memoranda and orders, as well as gain understanding of the practical use of the rules of evidence and trial techniques.


An externship is a limited enrollment course for which students are assigned to an approved placement arranged by the Director of the Externship Program. The student must also attend the externship seminar. A student may enroll in an externship only if the student has a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 upon the conclusion of the semester immediately preceding enrollment. (See Section V.J. of the catalog for registration requirements)

A student may not enroll in two externships concurrently. A student may enroll in more than one externship in different semesters only with the permission of the Director of the Externship Program. In approving the enrollment of a student in a second externship, the Externship Director shall determine that the externship is academically appropriate for the student, considering the total amount of non-classroom units completed by the student, the total number of advanced professional skills units completed by the student, the quality of the student’s performance in the completed externship, the availability of the externship opportunity to other students and other factors the Externship Director identifies as helpful.

A student who repeats an externship must repeat the externship seminar.

Founded in 1966, Western State College of Law is the oldest law school in Orange County, Southern California, and is fully ABA approved. Western State College of Law’s 11,000+ alumni are well represented across public and private sector legal practice areas, including 150 California judges and about 15% of Orange County’s Deputy Public Defenders and District Attorneys.

16715 Von Karman #100
Irvine, CA 92606

Programs, credential levels, technology and scheduling options are subject to change. Western State College of Law at Westcliff University, 16715 Von Karman, #100, Irvine, CA 92606 © 2020 Western State College of Law. All rights reserved. Our email address is materialsreview@staging.wsulaw.edu.

See wsuprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.