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Summer Law and Policy Externship

Credit Hours Vary

Overseeing Professors:
Christine Cerniglia, Assistant Professor of Law & Director of Clinical and Experiential Education

Clinical legal education at Stetson prepares students to become competent and ethical practitioners - as trial lawyers, counselors, and legal researchers and writers. Clinical education is grounded in real practice. As such, it serves as a bridge between life as a student, and life as a practicing lawyer. Although students find a multitude of opportunities to sharpen their lawyering skills, the deeper value of clinical education is students' enhanced understanding of the legal process and the professional role they are privileged to hold.

Washington, D.C. is the center of law and policy in the United States, and in the minds of many, the world. Washington serves as the perfect setting for a program that offers students doctrinal and practical experience into how the law affects policy and how policy in turn influences legal discussion.

The Stetson University College of Law Washington, D.C. Summer Law and Policy Program is a tremendous opportunity for students to experience the totality of an experiential course, with practical work opportunities, reflective classroom exercises, influential guest speakers, and immersive field trips maximizing the life cycle of a student's legal learning experience. Each summer, up to ten (10) students have the opportunity to take part in the Summer Law and Policy Program. Students work in substantive externships, accompanied by a focused course component, with an opportunity for networking through alumni events, guest speakers, socials, and field trips. In Washington, students learn not just how to practice law, but how to make and influence law.

Placement Locations:
Securing an externship is primarily the responsibility of the student, but you are not alone. The Clinical Education team will help you figure out how a summer in Washington, D.C. will further your legal education and which type of externship will best suit you. The Career Development Office is available to help you identify leads. Several Placements have expressed interest and willingness to take Stetson Law students, if they meet their criteria. Sample placements include:

In addition, almost every federal and international entity in Washington, as well as several policy institutes and non-profict organizations offer legal externships for the summer. Given the limited number of certain positions, we encourage you to apply to these programs independently. Deadlines vary for many of these programs and should be monitored by the student. If you have secured an externship in Washington for the upcoming summer, we encourage you to consider participating in the externship and ask that you speak with a member of the Clinical Education Department about your particular placement. A non-exhaustive list of programs, agencies, and employers looking for externs is available here: 

Housing Options:
There are several housing options available to students participating in an externship in Washington, DC over the summer. Housing ranges from single dormitory units to group apartments.  Prices range from $290 - $510 per week, depending on the facility and living arrangements selected. Several of these housing options have been compiled, and are available for review here.  

Many of these options provide furnished living spaces, with various amenities including laundry, utilities, and security. Several have minimum length stays of seven (7) to eight (8) weeks. Please be aware when choosing your housing option of access to transportation, the particular neighborhood and its safety, and the specific deadlines to apply - there are thousands of students studying and working in Washington, D.C. over the summer and competition for these rooms is significant. Washington, D.C. also places a 14.5% tax on short-term housing, which is not included in many of the prices detailed on location websites.

Please see the Department of Clinical Education if you have further questions.


Washington, D.C., Metrorail is a fantastic option for travel throughout the city, with five lines that run from Northern Virginia and Maryland into and through the City Center. Washington's Metro Area Transit Authority offers a SmarTrip card for access to both Metro and Bus, with payment options including day, week, and month. Check out for specific information on rail maps, bus routes, and corresponding fares for each.

Washington, D.C. also has several bike sharing programs, and is bike-friendly.

Program Requirements:
Stetson's Summer Law and Policy program is an immersive seven (7) week experience for students living and working in Washington, D.C. The program begins with an orientation covering the summer semester, introducing a schedule of guest speakers, and a welcome reception. Over the course of the seven (note that this is simply the length of the school semester; individual externships may proceed longer), students will work in approved externships during the day, and in the evening attend guest lectures, participate in round table discussions, or attend field trips to pertinent locations around the nation's capital. Students are required to produce three (3) reflective papers over the course of the semester, and participate in a weekly discussion board.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Successful completion of all first-year required courses;
  • Be in good academic standing;
  • Minimum GPA of 3.25, or a documented interest (shown through work, or similar tangible exerience) in federal and or international law or policy;
  • Pass background check (if required by hosting organization); and
  • Fulfill any other requirements of the hosting agency.

Application Requirements:

  • Submit a completed application by the appropriate deadline (for more information, see and,
  • Timely submit additional documentation as required for this program. (Each placement may require certain clearance documents that should be disclosed to and discussed with the Clinical Education Department concurrent with the application.)