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Student Legal Services Externship

The Student Legal Services Externship allows students to receive academic credit for one semester of work at Student Legal Services (SLS), a nonprofit law office that provides legal services to Indiana University students and student groups. Students typically earn credit during their first semester of work at SLS; after that, students who continue to work there are paid hourly. The course is open to second- and third-year students.

Students develop fundamental professional skills through:

  • Client interviewing
  • Counseling
  • Problem solving
  • Negotiating
  • Document drafting

Trial preparation and litigation is available for students who are certified under the student practice rule. Students work under the close supervision of SLS staff attorneys.

The SLS office, located at the corner of Seventh and Fess (across from Dunn Meadow), is university-funded and has been serving IU Bloomington students since 1971. While nearly 40 percent of its cases involves landlord-tenant relations, the other 60 percent covers a broad range of legal issues, including criminal, contracts, consumer, family, administrative, and tort.


A student must work at least ten hours each week in the SLS office during the semester. While SLS attorneys provide training and supervise the legal work, Professor Lisa Farnsworth supervises the academic component of the externship. The academic component involves comunicating regularly with the faculty supervisor through weekly reflective essays. A student may choose to receive one to three hours of course credit, and the course is graded on a pass/fail basis.

Students may reflect upon 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 SLS Externship, contact the Office of Career and Professional Development for an interview with Student Legal Services. Students must first be accepted at SLS through the normal selection process. If SLS agrees to hire you, talk to Professor Reichard to determine the number of credit hours you should register for. Then register for B679.

More Information

Faculty Supervisor: Lisa Farnsworth
E-mail: farnswor [at] indiana [dot] edu
Phone: (812) 855-0919

B679: Student Legal Services Externship course description