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Practice Makes the Lawyer

Summer Externships Provide Hands-On Experience

Summer is decidedly not vacation time for Concordia University School of Law students. The months in between one year of law school ending and another year beginning are ripe with opportunities for students to immerse themselves in the practice of law through Concordia Law’s externship program.  Students marry field work with a class or other guided academic reflection designed to reinforce the necessary skills and the social and ethical responsibilities required of the profession.

To participant in an externship, students are required to have successfully completed 28 credits of academic study and be in overall good academic standing. Placements are supervised by a lawyer and the responsibilities given to the student must be of substantive legal work. Additionally, Concordia Law’s Externship Director provides oversight and evaluation to ensure the work opportunity meets the expectations of the program.

Learning by doing

Student Collin Sayles, who anticipates graduating in 2021, spent part of his summer with the Office of the Ada County Public Defender in Boise. Collin has been tasked with researching legal issues for cases, drafting motions for his supervising attorney, interviewing clients, and preparing witnesses for trials.

“The experience I was afforded through the public defender’s office was invaluable for preparing for my legal career,” said Collin. “It gave me insight about the day-to-day practice of law and emphasized what I need to focus on to become a well-rounded lawyer in the future.”

Many of Collin’s classmates are also fulfilling externships with a variety of government offices, private practices and nonprofit organizations including the Fourth District Court, Boise City Attorney’s Office, Intermountain Law, P.C., Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program, International Rescue Committee, and Immigration nonprofits, among several others throughout the region.

Brit Kreimeyer, a 2016 Concordia Law graduate, believes her externship opportunities were vital in preparing her for professional life after law school. “The externships and different clinics that the law school offered allowed me to dig in and get my hands dirty with the real practice of law,” said Brit who is now an attorney with the Ada County Public Defender’s Office – and awarded as Idaho State Bar’s Outstanding Young Lawyer. 

Concordia Law’s externship program is an integral component to graduating practice-ready lawyers through experiential learning. To learn more, visit https://law.cu-portland.edu/academics/experiential-learning.