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Summer – Field Placements

This field placement places students in full-time positions with local, state, or federal government agencies, judicial chambers, or not-for-profit organizations. Summer field placements are available both within Louisiana and in other major cities in the United States and even abroad. Summer field placements require students to complete a minimum of 120 hours of work for their host placement.  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. 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.

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.

2021 Summer Field Placement Program FAQ

What is a “field placement”?

A field placement is a volunteer legal internship position with a government agency, a non-profit organization that provides legal services, or a judge’s chambers. This work experience is accompanied by a course component, which is designed to give students a grounding in the ethical and professional considerations necessary for success in a legal work position.

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 financial 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. Placement hosts are very willing to work around students’ 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.

How will COVID-19 affect the summer field placement program?

Most of our usual field placement hosts have already confirmed that they will host externs in Summer 2021. I anticipate that most externs will work physically in the offices of their host placements this summer (subject to applicable federal, state, and local health guidelines). If circumstances require particular placements to host externs virtually, I have developed a number of protocols to ensure that students have a valuable and meaningful work experience even if they must work remotely. If you require your placement to be fully remote, please let me know – I will gladly work with you to arrange a fully remote placement.

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). See the attached slides for more information, or contact Prof. Brooks to discuss your particular plans.

What if I want to spend my summer in [insert state-other-than-Louisiana here]?

Students have done field placements in the past in (for example) Texas, Alabama, California, Iowa, Illinois, New York, Florida, Georgia, Oregon, Mississippi, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. 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 field placement program has already created a number of placements across the length and breadth of Louisiana. 

What if I’m doing OCI or looking for other types of summer work and I don’t want to make a commitment now?

You are not committed to a summer field placement until (a) you have been made a specific placement offer by Prof. Brooks AND (b) 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. If you think you might want a summer field placement, get the application done before the deadline!

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 pre-created 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’ll write a statement of interest as a part of your application, be sure to answer all of the questions that it asks!

How do I apply?

The application period for the Summer 2021 Field Placement Program’s “pre-created” placements will run from February 1 through March 15. Students creating their own placements can submit applications through April 15. The application is available here.