The SLU LAW Field Placement Program provides opportunities for students to immerse themselves in real practice settings.
Unlike clinics or other experiential settings that are designed primarily for educational purposes, field placement (i.e., externship) settings function primarily for delivery of legal services. In these settings, students function in a mentee role.
Field Placement students benefit from a dual-supervision model in which faculty members and field supervisors partner to support student learning. Students identify their own learning goals for their experience and work with their respective field placement supervisor to achieve those goals and evaluate progress. Field Placement supervisor feedback and student self-evaluation and reflection on experiences and observations are defining features of the field placement experience.
In addition to their fieldwork, students participate in a classroom component or other form of faculty-guided reflection focused on self-reflection, learning from practice, and lawyering skills. The SLU LAW Field Placement Program is further described in the Field Placement Handbook for Students and Supervisors.
Students may be placed in a variety of nonprofit and for-profit corporate counsel and government settings where they assist with a variety of transactional or litigation matters.
Students may be placed in either criminal defense or criminal prosecution settings. Students interested in criminal defense may be placed at sites providing criminal defense representation for individuals accused of crimes who cannot afford a private attorney. Students interested in criminal prosecution may be placed in a federal or state prosecutor’s office in Missouri or Illinois where they assist in criminal prosecution matters.
Students are placed with judges to serve as part-time law clerks. Depending on the chambers, students may assist in preparing bench briefs and opinions; observe oral arguments, trials, or hearings; and perform legal research and write legal memoranda.
In both the fall and spring semesters, students may be placed in a federal district court (i.e., U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri or U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois), a state or local trial court in Missouri, or a state or local trial court in Illinois. In addition, students with some bankruptcy knowledge may be placed in a federal bankruptcy court.
In the spring semester, students have an additional opportunity for placement with a judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals or the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Students may be placed in a variety of nonprofit public interest and government settings where they assist with a variety of litigation matters.