Field Placement (Externships)
Under the guidance of an experienced supervisor, second- and third-year students can step out of the classroom and gain practical experience working in a legal office in one of Penn State Law's externship programs. General externships allow students to continue taking courses while working with federal judges, state or federal government agencies, and public interest or nonprofit organizations. Additionally, Penn State Law’s exclusive Externships Everywhere program, provides law students with the ability to spend a semester working in an approved externship in practically any location around the world, without interrupting their studies or delaying graduation.
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Clinics and Practicum
Students learn by experience in Penn State Law’s legal clinics and practicum. Under the guidance of clinical faculty, second- and third-year students earn academic credit while engaging in all aspects of the legal process, from legislative advocacy to client representation. Corresponding skills training courses give students a knowledge base on which to build their professional experiences.
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In addition to clinics and externships a significant number of Penn State Law upper-level courses are all about acquiring the knowledge and practicing the skills necessary to excel in a host of cutting edge and traditional practice areas. Teachers of these courses are accomplished lawyers and jurists at the top of their games.
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Legal Research and Writing
Successful communication is essential to professional life, and Penn State Law students prepare to address the court, opposing parties, clients, and colleagues from the first semester of legal education. Students learn about effective writing and research from experienced litigators, writers, and teachers who use a problem-based approach to teach students the realities of legal practice. From year one through graduation, J.D. students get hands on practical writing experience.
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To provide students with a strong experience base in research, writing, and advocacy skills, Penn State Law offers a range of extracurricular opportunities. Our faculty is augmented by judges, attorneys, and other litigation experts who volunteer their time to mentor and coach students in appellate moot court and national trial competitions. Completed in 2010, the $150 million investment in new and renovated facilities created a cutting-edge courtroom experience for students who participate in trial advocacy course work and moot court competition. Penn State Law courtrooms feature state-of-the-art video technology and digital evidence presentation equipment and have hosted actual circuit court arguments. In addition, students staff three journals published by Penn State Law.