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Public Interest Externship Program

The Public Interest Externship Program encourages students to explore careers in the public interest by awarding academic credit for externships and experience in public service venues. This program takes place in the summer only. Externship opportunities include legal work assigned by the attorney-supervisor and an academic component assigned by the faculty member designed to encourage reflection on issues of ethics and practice.

Indiana Law allows students who are engaged in unpaid legal work for nonprofit organizations, government agencies, judges, or legal services organizations to receive up to four credits during the summer. Between 130 and 140 students participate each summer.

The Public Interest Externship Program allows students to take fewer hours in the fall semester of their second year, when they are typically involved in journals, moot court, and job searches. It also provides students with:

  • An opportunity to think reflectively and critically about the practice of law and ethical issues
  • A challenging legal setting after the first year
  • The chance to explore a practice setting they might not have otherwise considered
  • Professional contacts

In the past, students in this program have interned with employers including state attorney general’s offices, international legal service organizations, and judges in state, trial, and appellate courts.

Major externship categories:

  • Legal services for poor/special populations
  • Advocacy nonprofits
  • Other nonprofits
  • Judicial
  • Government
  • Criminal
  • Civil

With the help of Indiana Law’s Career Services Office, you’ll find your own placement in the program. This serves as an excellent way to network for future job searches. List of prior placements. Two things to keep in mind: 1) You must
be supervised by a licensed attorney; and 2) You must perform substantially all your work at the externship site; in general remote locations, telecommuting, or working from home are not acceptable.


Students must work 80 hours to receive one hour of academic credit for up to 4 hours of credit. In addition to work at the externship site, participants must also write weekly reflective essays about the externship experience and maintain regular contact with a faculty supervisor.

Before you apply, decide which organization you want to serve. Refer to the Course Handbook for details on the Public Interest externship Program and policies. If you want to receive academic credit for the externship, complete the B547 Registration Form and return it to the Recorder's Office when you register. After you register, you will be assigned a faculty supervisor. You are not required to apply for academic credit.

Contact the Public Interest Externship Program

Kim Bunge, Assistant Director of the Career Services Office
E-mail: kbunge [at] indiana [dot] edu
Phone: (812) 855-8433
Fax: (812) 855-4840