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Finding & Choosing a Placement

If you are not sure where you would like to work and would like help in determining what placement(s) will best fit your goals, please contact the UCDC Program Director, Nicole Lehtman ( or Rena Contreras, Clinical Office Administrator (, Room 1380D, for help. As you begin your search, try to identify the kind of experience you seek. Do you want to learn about:

  • Legislation and the political lawmaking process? Examples include:
    • House or Senate personal staff or committee
    • Office of Legislative Counsel
    • Government Accountability Office, Congressional Research Service, etc.
  • The regulatory, oversight and/or enforcement work of the executive departments, independent agencies, federally chartered corporations, or quasi-official agencies? Examples include:
    • Justice, State and Treasury Departments
    • Agencies in executive departments like the Federal Aviation Administration or the Food and Drug Administration
    • Independent administrative agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Election Commission, etc.
  • Influencing federal lawmaking as an advocate at a national nonprofit? Examples include:
    • American Civil Liberties Union
    • American Enterprise Institute
    • Human Rights Watch
    • Center for Strategic and International Studies, etc.
  • A particular area of substantive law, regardless of where you work in the lawmaking continuum? Examples include:
    • economic regulation
    • national security
    • civil rights and liberties
    • health care
    • education, etc.
  • More traditional lawyering unique to D.C.? Examples include:
    • the litigating divisions of the Justice Department,
    • the general counsel's office of another department, or national public interest law firms like the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Washington Legal Foundation, the Public Citizen Litigation Group, etc.

These are just some of the factors to consider when choosing what kind of placement to pursue. Read publicly available information about agencies and organizations, and don't be afraid to ask us any question you think will help you decide.

The UCDC Law Program has a growing number of placements. Here are a few from the past few semesters:

  • The White House
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Securities & Exchange Commission
  • Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
  • International Intellectual Property Institute
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Fair Elections Legal Network
  • FDA, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • American Council on Education, Office of General Counsel
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights
  • Native American Rights Fund
  • National Public Radio

Please review a list of placements since the program's inception . We are constantly developing new externship opportunities, and will work with students and externship supervisors to achieve the best possible matches.

All placements, whether secured by you or by the Program, must be approved by the UCDC Program Director and include:

  • Performance of substantive legal work under the direct supervision of an attorney
  • Involvement with federal law (either legislative, executive, regulatory or advocacy work)
  • Commitment from the externship supervisor to ensure a high-quality educational experience, including regular feedback, mentorship and insulation from purely clerical or administrative work that is inappropriate for law school credit.