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Legal Externship Program 2020 Highlights

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Sturm College of Law

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Virtual Externships

Judge Lino S. Lipinsky de Orlov of the CO Court of Appeals swearing in Legal Externship Program students during Fall 2020 orientation.

Legal Externship Program 2020 Highlights

The Legal Externship Program at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law continues to expand and innovate supporting students’ professional and personal growth. In 2019-2020, the program partnered with close to 350 supervisors and hosted over 500 externships resulting in students working well over 100,000 hours in the field.

Like other experiential programs in legal education, this past year was defined by the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, we immediately pivoted, helping students transition to remote work, identifying supplemental trainings when needed by establishing partnerships with the Colorado Bar Association and the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. We quickly hosted a virtual continuing legal education program for supervisors, attracting 300+ lawyers and recruiters to share best practices in virtual extern supervision, and developed toolkits for students and supervisors alike. While we yearn for a return to the in-person benefits of externships, we are proud to still foster ways for students to simultaneously grow skills, hone their professional identities, and navigate, as safely and healthy as possible, this challenging and emotional time.

Our flagship program, Semester in Practice (SIP), continues to grow with students eager to break from Zoom class and begin transitioning to practice. This past year, SIP externs worked across Metro Denver as well as in Utah, Florida, Washington DC, St. Louis and New York. Students investigated environmental injustices in city schools; provided support to death penalty lawyers across the country; drafted transactional documents for a corporate health group; and advocated in court on behalf of indigent defendants and victims in Colorado criminal courts, among other tasks.

The program also welcomed Christopher Newman as a visiting professor this year. Newman is no stranger to Denver Law having served as director of our Professional Part Time J.D. Program, ranked #11 in the nation. He also is faculty and coach in the Bar Success Program, supporting over 200 students during the summer,
and launched a bar prep program for graduates of delayed state bar exams.

No matter the challenge, Legal Externship Program continues to provide robust, meaningful, and instructive experiences to our students. We are grateful for partnerships with our alumni and the broader Colorado legal community and look forward to the next phase of externships at Denver Law.


Externship Faculty Highlights

Associate Dean and Professor of the Practice Alexi Freeman

Awards & Appointments
Appointed Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Director of Social Justice Initiatives (September 2020)
Appointed Professor of the Practice (August 2020)
Outstanding Mentor Award, 2019-2020, Student Bar Association
Faculty Career Champion, 2019-2020, University Career Services

Don’t Hire Me as A Token: Best Practices for Recruiting and Supporting Diverse Externs, ___ S.C. L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2021).

Keynote, “Inclusiveness and Professionalism,” DU Sturm College of Law JD Orientation (August 11, 2020).
Co-presenter, Episode 5: Innovative Social Justice Course Design (with Lindsey Webb), SALT 2020 Teaching Justice Podcast (August 11, 2020).
Co-presenter, “Black Lives Matters and the Future of Clinical Legal Education Plenary,” 2020 AALS Virtual Clinical Conference (July 22, 2020).
Co-presenter, “What is Movement Lawyering?” University of Denver CLE webinar (July 21, 2020).
Co-presenter, “Understanding How Lawyers Can Support—and Fail—Social Movements,” webinar (July 21, 2020).
Guest lecturer, “Public Interest Lawyering in Uncertain Times,” Wayne State Law School, Detroit, MI (July 9, 2020).
Co-presenter, “Rising to Today's Challenge, Teaching Moment re: Racial (In)Justice,” AALS Externships Group (June 12, 2020).
Presenter, “Tips for Working Remotely,” Squire Patton Boggs Foundation (May 19, 2020).
Presenter, “Tips for Supervising Remote Externs,” Squire Patton Boggs Foundation (May 5, 2020).
Co-presenter, “Tips for Supervising Remote Externs,” University of Denver CLE webinar (April 30, 2020).
Keynote, “Implicit Bias and Diversity in the Legal Profession,” Doyle Inn of Court Speaker Series (February 19, 2020).
Co-presenter, “Expanding the Classroom: Benefits and Challenges of Co-Teaching,” 2020 AALS Conference (January 4, 2020).
Co-presenter, “An Empirical Look: How Well Are We Preparing Law Students to Become Ethical Leaders Who Serve Others,” 2020 AALS Conference (January 2, 2020).


Assistant Professor of the Practice Kristen Hulse

Awards and Appointments
Appointed Legal Education and Employment Advisor, IAALS Foundations for Practice Project

The Foundations for (Private) Practice: Building Professional Identity Through Law Firm Externships, 89 UMKC L Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2021).

Panelist, “Challenges and Opportunities in Lawyering from Remote Locations,” CLE Webinar for UMKC Supervisors (May 2020).
Panelist, “Tips for Supervising Law Students Remotely,” University of Denver CLE webinar (May 2020).
Panelist and Facilitator, “Working with Supervisors in a Pandemic,” AALS-Externships Subcommittee Virtual Meeting (April 2020).
Presenter, “Supervising Law Students Remotely,” Denver Area Legal Recruitment Administrators Association (DALRA) Virtual Meeting (April 2020).
Panelist, “Delivering Meaningful Feedback to Student Externs,” CLE Training for Denver Law Externship Supervisors (Nov. 2019).


Visiting Assistant Professor of the Practice Christopher Newman

Awards & Appointments
Appointed Interim Director, DU Bar Success Program.
Appointed member of the Sturm College of Law Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.

Transformative Learning Within Cultural Spaces: Transformative Experience Interventions Through The Lens Of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper 20-22 (June 15, 2020).

Presenter, Bar preparation workshops for 120+ DU grads, DU Bar Success Program, (Summer 2020).