Summer – Field Placements
This field placement places students in full-time positions with local, state, or federal offices or not-for-profits both within Louisiana and in other major cities in the United States and abroad. Students taking this course for two credits will be required to complete a minimum of 90 hours at their placement, and students taking this course for 3 credits will be required to complete a minimum of 135 hours at their placement. (Many placements may require a greater hours commitment from students.) Through the range of clients and legal issues handled by these organizations, students will gain hands-on experience and develop a wide variety of practical lawyering skills in both litigation and non-litigation practice settings. Students must also participate in a weekly online seminar videoconference, in which they will participate in discussions reflecting on their placements, and will be required to periodically update a personal work reflection blog. This course is by application only, and will require an interview with the Director of Field placements and with a student’s possible placement. Contact Professor Jeffrey Brooks if interested in this opportunity.
2019 Summer Field Placement Program FAQ
What is a “field placement”?
An field placement is an unpaid legal internship position with a qualifying government agency, legal not-for-profit, or judge’s chambers. Students receive academic credit for their work with their placement and for taking a field placement course that is designed to help students succeed in and reflect upon their work experience.
How do I find a field placement for the summer?
The Field Placement Program has dozens of “pre-created” placements, both in Louisiana and out of state, already created and reserved for LSU law students. You can apply to be assigned to one of these placements by Prof. Brooks, you can seek out and design your own experience (i.e.; you can apply to other [uncompensated] opportunities, and work with Professor Brooks to turn it into an approved placement), or you can work directly with Professor Brooks to design a placement opportunity.
So, I can’t get paid?
Unfortunately, no. You cannot receive compensation for a field placement. You pay tuition for and receive 3 academic credits towards your J.D., on a pass-fail system, for participating in the field placement program. These 3 credits count as “experiential” credits – all students have to earn 6 experiential credits to graduate, so a summer field placement is a convenient option to put you well on your way towards meeting this requirement.
Can I take other LSU Law summer classes?
Yes! Many summer externs in past summers have also taken one or two courses at the Law Center while doing their field placement. Nearly all of the placements in Baton Rouge are more than willing to work around class schedules. You are required to work a minimum of 120 hours during the summer session at your placement, which is easily done while also taking Law Center courses.
Can I participate in the Summer in Lyon program and also do a summer field placement?
Unfortunately, no. The field placement course component meets live throughout the entire summer semester, and it is impossible to participate in both the Lyon program and the live summer field placement course.
Can I work while I’m doing a summer field placement?
You cannot have any other law-related employment (e.g.; a law firm clerk position) at the same time as your field placement. You can hold concurrent non-legal employment with prior written permission from Prof. Brooks and your placement. If you get a “split summer” offer from a law firm, it is possible to also do a “split” field placement – that is, work at a firm for half the summer, and extern for the other half of the summer with an approved placement. However, split summer students must still participate in the full summer course component (i.e.; attend the class meetings for the full summer).
What if I want to spend my summer in [insert state-other-than-Louisiana here]?
Students have done field placements in the past in Texas, Alabama, California, Iowa, Illinois, New York, Florida, Georgia, Oregon, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. Sections of the field placement course are offered live online, so it is possible to do an out-of-state placement. If you are interested in going out of state (or out of the country), you are strongly encouraged to contact Professor Brooks well in advance of application deadlines.
What if I want to work at a placement in New Orleans? Shreveport? Monroe? Lafayette? Lake Charles? Alexandria?
The externship program has already created a number of placements across the length and breadth of Louisiana. You can also create your own placement.
What if I’m doing OCI or looking for other types of summer work?
You are not committed to a summer field placement until you have been made a specific placement offer by Prof. Brooks and you have accepted that offer. (Just filling out the application doesn’t commit you to anything.) You are encouraged to apply for the summer field placement program while also seeking other forms of employment; just keep Prof. Brooks updated on your summer plans.
How do you assign students to placements?
To be eligible for a summer field placement, you simply need to have finished your first year of law school and successfully completed both semesters of Legal Writing by the time the summer semester begins. GPA and class rank are not considered for the vast majority of placements. (Note: a few of our participating judges do have GPA/rank requirements.) Your interest in a placement’s work and/or location is the paramount consideration in this process. You will submit a statement of interest with your application, and you’ll have an individual interview with Prof. Brooks. Based on that statement of interest and interview, you will be directly matched with a placement organization. You do not apply to placements directly, we match you with a placement.
How do I apply?
The application period for the Summer 2019 Field Placement Program’s “pre-created” placements will run from January 14 through February 21. Students creating their own placements can submit applications through March 25. The application will be hosted on the Law Center’s Experiential Learning Programs site, https://www.law.lsu.edu/experiential/.