Corporate Counsel Externship

The Corporate Counsel Externship explores the practice of law from the perspective of in-house counsel. The course has three primary learning objectives:
a) to obtain practical knowledge of the day-to-day reality of working in the legal department of a corporation;
b) to gather information, through readings, lectures, and in-class exercises, about how corporate counsel practice differs from law firm practice; and
c) to gain insight on the relationships between and among corporate counsel, corporate leaders and owners, “inside clients” and outside counsel.

The Corporate Counsel Externship allows students to perform 8-12 hours of legal work per week in an in-house corporate counsel office for a private company or non-profit organization. Students also enroll in a companion seminar that explores the role and obligations of a corporate attorney. Students earn 3 credits (including 2 fieldwork credits) for an 8-hour per week placement and 4 credits (including 3 fieldwork credits) for a 12-hour per week placement. The course is taught by an adjunct professor with extensive experience representing business entities, including experience as in-house corporate counsel.

Field placements include the University of Notre Dame Office of General Counsel, St. Joseph Health System, Whirlpool Corporation, AM General, Thor Industries, and other public and private companies. Students can choose from existing placement sites, and also, be proactive in identifying other sites. Placements must involve substantial legal work under the careful supervision of an attorney. All placements must be approved by the instructor and must be finalized before a student may enroll in the course.

For more information about the course or the application process, contact NDLS Externship Coordinator Cathy Kustner at or 631-9301.

Adjunct Professor Michael Hays (Fall semester);
Adjunct Professor Jay Lewis (Spring semester)