Externship Program

Mission of the Gonzaga Law Externship Program

The Externship Program provides students with opportunities:

  • for professional development and self-reflection;
  • to obtain practical lawyering skills;
  • to create or expand professional networks; and
  • to assess and gain insight into the workings of the legal system.

The Gonzaga Law Externship Program is administered by the Center for Professional Development.


An externship is an opportunity for students to earn credit while being immersed in a substantial lawyering experience. There are two components to a Gonzaga Law externship: field work (for 2-14 credits) and a contemporaneous one-credit seminar course. Students are paired with an attorney or judge supervisor who guides their substantive work in the field and a faculty supervisor who guides their reflection through the seminar course.
An externship is a form of experiential learning. In order to graduate from Gonzaga Law, students in the traditional (3-year) program must complete six credits of experiential learning and students in the Executive JD (2-year) program must complete eight credits of experiential learning. These credits may be earned through the Externship Program and/or the Gonzaga Law Clinic, as well as in approved simulation courses (three credits maximum).
The minimum number of credits a student can take for any one externship experience is three (two field credits plus the one-credit seminar course). The maximum experiential learning credits a student may take is 15.
The Credit/Hour Requirements for Externships are found in this table.
Students may enroll during any semester after the successful completion of 30 credits. The Externship Program is offered during the fall, spring, and summer terms.
Field credits are earned on a pass/fail basis. The required one-credit, concurrent seminar is graded.
  • Students may only participate in the Externship Program for two semesters. This limitation ensures that all students have an opportunity to participate in the Program.
  • Placements are typically for one semester only. If a student has previously worked at a placement in any capacity (intern, volunteer, or extern) and wishes to continue at that placement, the student must submit an Addendum: Application for Approval of Prior Work Site. This form can be found in the Externship Program folder in the Resource Library on ZagLAW.
  • Students may schedule an appointment on ZagLAW for assistance in planning their experiential learning during their time at Gonzaga.

  • Each externship site and supervising attorney must be vetted and approved by the Externship office. The factors that are considered during the vetting process are contained in the Approval of Externship Placements.
  • Potential placements include private law firms, government agencies, non-profit organizations, in-house counsel offices, and judicial chambers throughout the country.
  • Students must be supervised by a licensed attorney with a minimum of three years of experience. Family members may not be supervisors.
  • Upon approval, students may extern with or without pay at non-profit, government, and in-house counsel placements.
  • Upon approval, students may extern at multi-attorney, private law firms if they student is paid and the firm complies with all labor and employment laws.
  • US Attorney’s Office and Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington & Idaho
  • Prosecutor and public defender offices throughout the country
  • Federal and state government offices throughout the country
  • Civil legal aid offices (e.g., Columbia Legal Services, Northwest Justice Project) throughout the country focusing on issues including domestic violence, immigration, housing, consumer law, criminal justice reform, civil rights, and more.
  • Federal and state appellate and trial courts throughout the country.
  • Local, multi-attorney, private law firms
  • Possibly. Full-time externships may be permitted, if the student’s credit/academic requirements can be met and the placement is approved. Students should schedule an appointment on ZagLAW to discuss this possibility well in advance of the Externship Program application deadline.
  • Students who wish to complete a distance (i.e., out of the Spokane or Coeur d’Alene area) externship as a full-time student should schedule an appointment on ZagLAW at least a semester in advance to discuss this possibility with the Externship Program and allow sufficient time to have the placement approved.
No. The Externship Program will work with students to identify places to apply.
  • Students apply for the Externship Program by completing the Externship Application under the Experiential Learning tab on ZagLAW. Applications may be submitted at any time prior to the deadline, announced each semester in Morning Mail and on the ZagLAW home page.
  • Students may apply for an externship prior to completing 30 credits but they may not begin an externship prior to completing 30 credits.
  • A student is not committed to an externship simply because they applied to the Externship Program. Once an application is received, the Externship Program will follow up with the student to discuss details. A student is committed to the Externship Program and the field placement once they have accepted a field placement.
  • The Externship Program and the Gonzaga Clinical Law Program are administered separately. Information on the Gonzaga Clinical Law Program is available here.