Frequently Asked Questions

“May a student receive credit for participation in the general externship programs while being compensated for work performed during the placement?”

No. The American Bar Association prohibits a student from receiving academic credit and financial compensation for work performed while participating in an externship. However, a student may be reimbursed for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses related to the externship (i.e., parking fees for court observations).

“If a student works for a private firm, what type of cases may the student handle?”

As an extern, a student must perform the duties required of him or her during the placement. However, if the specific duties require the student to appear in court, that student must be certified as a legal intern.

Under the Rules Governing Practical Training of Law Students, Subchapter C, Sections .0200 through .0207 of the NC State Bar Rules, law students who have completed at least three semesters are eligible for certification as a legal intern (commonly referred to as “Third Year Practice Rule Certification”). This certification allows the student to provide representation to clients under the supervision of a licensed attorney, including giving legal advice to the client and appearing in court. However, students certified under this rule may only represent indigent clients or government agencies. For further information pertaining to the Third Year Practice Rule Certification and rules governing the training of law students visit

“May a student participate in a placement that provides services similar to those provided to clients by any other NCCU School of Law clinical legal education program?”

Normally, the answer is no; however, there are two exceptions:

Exception #1: Evening Students

Due to the class schedule of an evening student, he or she is normally unable to meet the requirements of the various clinical programs. Therefore, only an evening student may participate in general externship placements in the areas of criminal litigation (i.e., public defender’s office, district attorney’s office, or private firms that concentrate in criminal litigation), family law litigation, domestic violence litigation, and specific civil litigation (i.e., landlord tenant issues).

Exception #2:Summer session(s)

Since most of the clinical programs are not available during the summer, an externship that would not normally be approved during the fall or spring semester may be approved during a summer session. However, the General Externship Program is normally offered during only one of the two summer sessions and all requirements for the applicable program must be completed by the expiration of the session.

Please note that due to the wide range of opportunities that are provided in the areas of civil litigation and business law, a proposed placement may provide a student with an opportunity not available through participation in an existing clinical program. If the student is unsure, the student should speak with the clinical professor for a particular clinic of interest.

“How many hours will a student have to work in order to receive credit?”

A student must work at least 100 hours if enrolled in either General Externship I or General Externship II.

“How many hours per week may a student work?”

The American Bar Association requires that a student work no more than 20 hours per week during the fall and/or spring semester. However, NCCU School of Law strongly encourages students to work only ten (10) hours per week during the fall or spring semester. A student’s substantive courses should not suffer due to a general externship placement. However, the student may work more than 20 hours per week during the summer session if he or she is not enrolled in more than six credit hours of class.

“May a student take General Externship Program II instead of General Externship Program I?”

No. General Externship I is a prerequisite for General Externship II.

“May a student participate in the General Externship Program while being enrolled in another clinical program?”

While participating in the General Externship Program, a student may only enroll in the classroom portion of another clinical program and not in the field portion of any other clinical program.