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Indiana Legal Services Externship

"To use our resources to provide poor people with a wide variety of aggressive, quality legal services which will effectively help them to gain equal access to the courts; empower them to control their lives; and impact on the major causes and effects of poverty."

—Indiana Legal Services mission statement

The Indiana Legal Services Externship allows students to receive academic credit for one semester of work at Indiana Legal Services (ILS), a nonprofit law firm that provides free civil legal assistance to eligible elderly and low-income people in southern Indiana. ILS helps clients who are faced with legal problems that harm their ability to have such basics as food, shelter, income, medical care, and personal safety. The externship course is available to second- or third-year students. Students work under the close supervision of ILS staff attorneys.

Students develop fundamental skills in:

  • Client interviewing
  • Counseling
  • Problem solving
  • Negotiating
  • Drafting documents
  • Legal research and writing

A student must work at least 10 hours per week in the ILS office. While ILS attorneys supervise the legal work, Professor Lisa Farnsworth supervises the academic component of the externship. The academic component involves communicating regularly with the faculty supervisor through weekly reflective essays. A student may choose to receive one to three hours of course credit. The course is graded on a pass/fail basis.

The student's reflective essays may explore any work-related topic, but topics will be suggested for each essay, such as:

  • Coping with stress caused by a new work environment or area of law
  • Motivating oneself: What happens when I love/hate a particular case, client, or area of law?
  • Recognizing ethical issues
  • Managing difficult relationships with supervisors or peers
  • Assessing lawyering skills

To participate in the ILS externship, contact the ILS office. Students must first be accepted to ILS through their regular selection process for work-study positions. If ILS agrees to hire you, talk to Professor Reichard to determine the number of credit hours for which you should register. Then register for B562.

More Information

Faculty Supervisor: Lisa Farnsworth
Phone: (812) 855-0919
B562: Indiana Legal Services Externship course description