Externship Program

Mission of the Gonzaga Law Externship Program

The Externship Program provides students with opportunities:

  • for professional development and self-reflection;
  • to obtain practical lawyering skills;
  • to create or expand professional networks; and
  • to assess and gain insight into the workings of the legal system.

The Gonzaga Law Externship Program is administered by the Center for Professional Development.


An externship is an opportunity for students to earn credit while being immersed in a substantial lawyering experience. There are two components to a Gonzaga Law externship: field work (for 2-14 credits) and a contemporaneous one-credit seminar course. Students are paired with an attorney or judge supervisor who guides their substantive work in the field and a faculty supervisor who guides their reflection through the seminar course.
An externship is a form of experiential learning. In order to graduate from Gonzaga Law, students in the traditional (3-year) program must complete six credits of experiential learning and students in the Executive JD (2-year) program must complete eight credits of experiential learning. These credits may be earned through the Externship Program and/or the Gonzaga Law Clinic, as well as in approved simulation courses (three credits maximum).
The minimum number of credits a student can take for any one externship experience is three (two field credits plus the one-credit seminar course). The maximum experiential learning credits a student may take is 15.
Students may enroll during any semester after the successful completion of 30 credits. The Externship Program is offered during the fall, spring, and summer terms.
Field credits are earned on a pass/fail basis. The required one-credit, concurrent seminar is graded.
  • Students may only participate in the Externship Program for two semesters. This limitation ensures that all students have an opportunity to participate in the Program.
  • Placements are typically for one semester only. If a student has previously worked at a placement in any capacity (intern, volunteer, or extern) and wishes to continue at that placement, the student must submit an Addendum: Application for Approval of Prior Work Site. This form can be found in the Externship Program folder in the Resource Library on ZagLAW.
  • Students may schedule an appointment on ZagLAW for assistance in planning their experiential learning during their time at Gonzaga.

  • Students may extern at a wide variety of legal offices, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and judicial chambers throughout the country.
  • Local, multi-attorney, private law firms may also be considered for approval. Additional information on private law firm externships is located in the Externship Program folder in the Resource Library on ZagLAW.
  • Students must be supervised by a licensed attorney with a minimum of three years of experience.

  • Possibly. Full-time externships may be permitted, if the student’s credit/academic requirements can be met and the placement is approved. Students should schedule an appointment on ZagLAW to discuss this possibility well in advance of the Externship Program application deadline.
  • Students who wish to complete a distance (i.e., out of the Spokane or Coeur d’Alene area) externship as a full-time student should schedule an appointment on ZagLAW at least a semester in advance to discuss this possibility with the Externship Program and allow sufficient time to have the placement approved.
  • Students Student apply for the Externship Program by completing the Externship Application under the Experiential Learning tab on ZagLAW. Applications may be submitted at any time prior to the deadline, announced each semester in Morning Mail and on the ZagLAW home page.
  • Students may apply for an externship prior to completing 30 credits but they may not begin an externship prior to completing 30 credits.
  • A student is not committed to an externship simply because they applied to the Externship Program. Once an application is received, the Externship Program will follow up with the student to discuss details. A student is committed to the Externship Program and the field placement once they have accepted a field placement.
  • The Externship Program and the Gonzaga Law Clinic are two separate programs. For information about the Clinic’s application process, click here.

No. The Externship Program will work with students to identify places to apply.
  • US Attorney’s Office and Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington & Idaho
  • Prosecutor and public defender offices throughout the country
  • Federal and state government offices throughout the country
  • Civil legal aid offices (e.g., Columbia Legal Services, Northwest Justice Project) throughout the country focusing on issues including domestic violence, immigration, housing, consumer law, criminal justice reform, civil rights, and more.
  • Federal and state appellate and trial courts throughout the country.
  • Local, multi-attorney, private law firms