In the externship program, law students have an opportunity to learn in supervised judicial, governmental and non-profit organizations about the practice of law. These placements are available to students after the completion of their first year. Students work with the extern director to identify placement opportunities.


Students are required to spend a minimum of 140 hours a semester at their placement. Academic credits are available through two class offerings, the externship placement and Issues in Professionalism.

  • Externship Placement: 3 hours credit. Students may receive credit for up to two semesters of extern placement at different placements. 
  • Issues in Professionalism: 2 hours credit. Students participating in their first semester as an extern OR a licensed legal intern must take this class. This is an applied professional responsibility class.

During the summer, students are able to work in placements outside of the Norman and Oklahoma City areas, allowing students to either return to their home communities or explore new cities. Externs have worked in many places including Florida, California, Maryland, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, Washington, D.C., and Johannesburg, South Africa.

There are a few differences between externships and internships. Externs work for class credit, while interns do not. Internships vary greatly, depending on the organization’s preferences. Some internship positions are paid, some are volunteer (unpaid) and some require a legal intern’s license issued by the Oklahoma Bar Association. There is no license requirement to work as an extern.

Additionally, externs who exceed the 140 hour requirement can submit the additional hours for pro bono credit through OU’s Students Access to Justice program.


Applications for the externship program are accepted throughout the year.  Contact Professor Connie Smothermon at csmothermon@ou.edu for an application.