Photograph: Eagle statue outside law school.

Externship I (LW 921) and II (LW 922) Syllabus Fall 2014


Participation in the Washburn University School of Law Externship Program provides students with an opportunity to enhance their legal education through off-campus placements both in the local Topeka, Kansas area, as well as nationwide. In these placements, student lawyers can have the opportunity to learn through hands-on experience in the legal field. As an extern, you are no longer just in your student role; you also assume the role of a professional in training. You will handle real issues and work on real assignments, impacting the lives of the people involved. In that capacity, you must be especially mindful of conducting yourself as a professional, including being aware of professional responsibility and confidentiality issues. Externship placements are an excellent opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience in actual legal practice and to gain important experience and references that can help you secure permanent employment at the culmination of your law school career.

Fall 2014 Placement and Enrollment Deadlines

The course component class session will be held on Friday, September 12, 2014 from 2:45 to 4:30 in Room 120. All paperwork and placements must be selected and all paperwork completed by the second Friday of the semester, Friday, September 5, 2014 so that the Director can submit those materials to allow the student to be enrolled in the course. That same date, Friday, September 5, 2014 is also the last date to both enroll and pay for courses without any penalty or late fee across campus. Late enrollments the following week (generally those in progress prior to the cut off date) will be at the discretion of the Director. Most Externship placements are looking to interview students immediately at the beginning of the Fall semester for Fall positions so students are encouraged to meet with the Director to discuss looking for and finding a placement at the end of the Spring or over the Summer rather than waiting for the beginning of the Fall semester.

Minimum Course Requirements

  1. Satisfactory completion of the work hours required by the placement; and
  2. Satisfactory completion of all course requirements set forth below.



  • Ogilvy, Wortham. and Lerman. Learning from Practice: A Professional Development Text for Legal Externs, 2d (Thomson West 2007) (American Casebook Series) (paperback).

Class Meetings and Attendance

The initial class will be held on Friday, September 12, 2014, from 2:45 to 4:30 p.m. in Room 120. Attendance at this class session is mandatory for course credit. Additional class sessions will be held on Friday, October 17 and on Friday November 21 from 2:45 to 4:30 in Room 120 as well and will be used to cover additional legal work issues and ideas and to reflect and discuss your individual externship experiences as the semester progresses in October and subsequently draws to a conclusion in November.

Writing Assignments

All reading assignments will be available on the Externship TWEN Page. You will submit all guided reflection documents as well as your final paper through TWEN as well. Please sign on to TWEN by no later than September 12, 2014. If you have any problem signing on to TWEN contact the instructor at the e-mail or telephone numbers provided above.

Required Forms

Please complete and sign the Student Acknowledgement and Release (27 KB PDF; requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) and Externship Plan and Enrollment Request (27 KB PDF; requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) forms and turn them in to Director Leisinger before you begin your placement and work. At the end of your placement you will be required to submit a signed completion certificate (see below, Deadline for All Submissions) to Director Leisinger for final approval and submission for course credit.

Contact Information

At all times during your externship, you must provide Director Leisinger with your current contact information (address, phone, and e-mail) both at home and any work place specific information as well.

Externship Schedule

Please advise Director Leisinger of the normal days and hours of your Externship work no later than September 12, 2014.

Journals: Guided Reflections

In compliance with ABA requirements and in order to help you to reflect on your Externship experience and optimize the benefits derived from it, you are required to submit responses to "Guided Reflection" topics throughout the semester (e.g., identifying your goals for the externship, reflecting on your training, discussing ethical concerns that may have arisen, etc.). There are six Guided Reflection topics that will be posted on TWEN, and submissions are due on consecutive Fridays at 5:00 p.m. beginning Friday, September 26, 2014. Submissions must be thoughtful, thorough, and well written to satisfy the Guided Reflection requirement. Director Leisinger will review all the submissions and provide any appropriate feedback, responses, and guidance the week following each submission.

Be advised that through your placement, you will have access to confidential and privileged information and materials. In submitting your Guided Reflections, be very cautious not to include any privileged or confidential information.

Time Sheets

You are required to submit detailed time sheets (22 KB PDF; requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) on a weekly basis, documenting the hours worked and the nature of the work. Please fax them to Director Leisinger's attention at (785) 670-2462 or scan and e-mail them to him at each week by no later than Friday at 5:00 p.m. His secretary, Donna Vilander, will be compiling all hours into a spreadsheet to document progress and completion of the enrolled credit hours. You are advised to keep all original copies of your timesheets to prove completion of the required hours in the cases that faxed timesheets are not received and any inaccuracies in time computation are claimed.

Paper Requirement

At the end of your placement, you will be required to submit an 8-10 page double-spaced commentary summarizing the various facets of your entire externship experience. A series of questions will be provided to guide your discussion in this paper. The work is intended to serve as a vehicle for you to introspectively analyze and contemplate your externship experience and is graded as a pass/fail along with the course as a whole. This paper must be submitted to Director Leisinger by no later than Monday, December 1, 2014. This is a "free day" so you may certainly turn the required paper and final materials in before that date if you wish.


In your placement, you will have access to confidential and privileged information and materials. You are expected to hold in strictest confidence all information and materials received in the course of the externship placement that are not matters of public record and to adhere fully to the standards of professional conduct set forth in the Code of Professional Responsibility of the American Bar Association and the Rules of Professional Conduct of the state in which your particular Externship placement is located. You must also familiarize yourself with the specific rules and requirements of your placement in order to prevent any potential disclosure of such information.

Unlawful Practice of Law

In your placement, you may have the opportunity for contact with clients or potential clients, the court, other attorneys, etc. – in person, on the telephone, or via electronic or postal mail. In speaking with anyone you should identify yourself as an extern/intern to be very clear as to your role. To be quite clear, you should be extremely cautious in your communications so that you do not overstep the scope of work that you are authorized to perform. When in doubt, check with your supervisor as to appropriate limits to your role in the workplace.

Professionalism: Office Attire & Etiquette

Keep in mind that your placement is in a professional setting with its own written and unwritten standards/rules concerning attire (e.g., suit v. business casual), how the office functions (e.g., who reports to whom and how things get done), and etiquette (e.g., formal v. informal relationships/interaction). Please remember that you are also representing Washburn School of Law and that your performance and behavior affects the potential availability of externship opportunities for other students. If at any time you experience family issues or events which cause you to be unable to complete you externship, contact Director Leisinger immediately in addition to contacting your placement supervisor.

Deadline for All Submissions

Final time sheets, the Certificate of Completion (29 KB PDF; requires Adobe Acrobat Reader), and any other outstanding paperwork must be submitted to Director Leisinger by no later than Monday, December 1, 2014. Please note that I cannot submit your work to the Dean's Office for credit for the course until I have received a duly completed and submitted Completion Certificate!

Record Retention

As noted above, please keep a hard copy of every electronic or print submission of documents in connection with your Externship. It is your responsibility to be able to provide additional copies in the event any faxed or e-mailed document is either not received or lost after submission.

Course Grade

You must satisfactorily and timely complete the requirements set forth above to receive a grade of "Credit." Failure to do so will result in a "No Credit" grade for the externship.


Washburn University School of Law strives to assure equal access and full participation by persons with disabilities. If you require services because of a disability, you may notify Lynette Petty, Assistant Dean, in the Law Clinic, Room 160, or call her at (785) 670-1191. This voluntary self-identification allows the University to prepare any necessary and appropriate support services to facilitate your learning.