Through HLS’s externship clinics, students have the opportunity to work under the supervision of attorneys who are enthusiastic and interested in giving students glimpses into their day to day work, and in teaching them about ethical and professional responsibilities. Students learn to sharpen their analytical skills, and further develop their research and writing skills. Through these experiences they also learn about work-life balance, how to develop mentorship relationships with busy attorneys, and other issues that are part of law practice. At an HLS reception for Externship Supervisors, Jack Corrigan, who directs the Criminal Prosecution Clinic, noted that seeing students dedicated to make a difference rekindles idealism for everyone.
In the 2014-15 academic year, 304 HLS students worked on a wide range of legal matters including consumer protection, cybercrime, capital punishment, sports, employment, legal reform, and more. The clinical placements include death penalty legal resource centers, non-profit organizations, and local, state and federal governmental agencies across the United States.
It can be eye-opening to see an attorney in practice, in their communities, working hard to make a difference, even if this is not going to be where students stay to practice, says Liz Solar, Externship Director. “Doing an externship placement is a wonderful opportunity for students to hone their legal skills in that real-life setting and to also make a valuable contribution, whether it’s with a local DA’s office, an administrative law or legal services office. We also know from speaking with professors who teach clinical courses that clinical students deepen and enrich classroom discussions. ”
This fall the State Attorney General Clinic, headed by Lecturer on Law and former Attorney General of Maine Jim Tierney, offered students a new opportunity to work with the AG’s Office in Connecticut. Two HLS students participated and one of them, Derek Manners, J.D. ’16, returned to continue his clinical work in the spring semester. Speaking about his time at the AG’s office, Derek said that “the chance to practice legal research, writing, document review, excel skills, and even some old fashioned algebra and statistics made for an entertaining and dynamic internship. Add to that the amazing and intelligent attorneys I got to work with; I couldn’t have been more pleased with this opportunity.”
In an another blog post, Jim Tierney who regularly meets with his students and encourages them to participate in classroom discussion said that he particularly loves “the wide geographical diversity” at Harvard, and that almost all of his students want to “go back home and make their state and country a more just place to live.”
HLS students in the Judicial Process in Trial Courts Clinic share this desire to make a positive difference. Every year, they contribute over 500 hours of research and writing to the Massachusetts courts, bringing much needed help to the judges and clerks who operate with limited resources.
“Please give [my HLS student] the highest possible grade for his work with me,” said the Hon. Mark L. Wolf of the U.S. District Court. “Thank you for making it possible for him to work with me.”
You can learn more about HLS Externship Clinics here.