New Chicago Program for NDLS Students

Author: Charles Williams


A new Chicago externship program will debut in August 2012, Dean Nell Jessup Newton has announced.

Professor Robert L. Jones Jr., Associate Dean for Experiential Programs, will direct the program that will enable students to explore legal work in Chicago that may not be available through other NDLS clinics or courses. “The Chicago Program is part of a broader effort to expand experiential learning for NDLS students,” Jones explains. “This program will allow our students to explore a rich array of practice areas in one of the nation’s most important legal markets.”

Participating students in the semester-long externships will work in Chicago four days per week in either a non-profit legal organization, governmental law office, judicial chambers, or in-house corporate counsel office under the supervision and mentoring of a practicing attorney. Many third-year students in the Chicago Program will be able to represent clients with an Illinois student practice license, commonly known as a 711 license.

In addition to earning academic credits for their field placements, students will also participate in a seminar taught weekly in Chicago by an NDLS faculty member. The seminar is designed to help students maximize the learning from their externships by reflecting on the legal profession, ethics, practice skills, and their own professional development. Over time, the Law School expects to offer non-externship courses in Chicago through which Chicago Program students will be able to earn additional credits. In the meantime, the program is structured to allow students to return to the South Bend campus once a week to participate in other Law School courses.