Supporting rural justice: Judicial externships in Indiana counties

In 2019 the Law School started an innovative program that places qualified public-service oriented first-year law students as externs in the chambers of Indiana trial court judges. In the first summer the school had funding for 4-5 1L students. 

The Supporting Rural Justice program spans eight to ten weeks, starting in May, and ending in time to meet pre-semester obligations such as law journal orientation.  Students are supervised by individual Indiana trial judges and assist with researching and drafting, motions, court orders, and decisions. Students are expected to be in court at least four days a week. 

Who can apply?

1Ls with a strong interest in public service, good writing and research skills, and a special interest in issues that are challenging rural counties in Indiana. 

Application process:

Will take place early January, and will be announced to all 1Ls at the end of the calendar year via different means, including an update on this website. 

Application materials include:

  • Cover letter with statement of interest, clarifying your specific interest in serving in this capacity in a rural county in Indiana
  • Updated resume
  • Unofficial law school transcript (posted on CareerNet)
  • Writing sample with cover page
  • References of two law faculty

Process includes:

  • Application materials submission
  • Screening by faculty committee
  • Application interview
  • Once selected, students will be expected to:
    • Participate in a training at the end of spring semester exams that will introduce students to the basics of Evidence, Criminal Procedure, and pressing issues inherent to rural courts: opioid epidemic, family law, including child abuse and neglect, and access to justice
    • Write reflective essays that focus on goals and objectives, self-assessment, and career development
    • Meet twice (in person, by phone, or via Zoom/Skype) during the summer, and for an exit interview when they are back on campus

Benefits include:

  • A stipend (in 2019 this was $4,000)

If you have any questions, please contact Prof. Inge Van der Cruysse at ivanderc@indiana.edu