Legal Externship Program Fall 2019 Updates & Faculty Highlights
Denver Law’s Legal Externship Program boasted its largest enrollment in its history this past academic year hosting 576 externships and partnering with 350 supervisors. Students logged almost 140,000 hours working alongside lawyers in the field. With a program of this size, the effect on students is significant. In fact, 91 percent of Class of 2018 graduates completed at least one externship. We also regularly see connections to post-graduate employment: 22 percent of graduates in the class of 2018 are employed at their former externship placement and another 12 percent are working at a place related to their externship placement and/or we know the externship placement led to the position.
In an attempt to support students’ diverse interests and motivations — and to promote principles of ethical and zealous lawyering in any practice setting — we continue to offer a well-rounded suite of placements. This past academic year, 54% of our externships were within public interest/government settings (including 14% within judicial chambers) and 46% of externship placements were in the private sector, either in a private firm or corporation. We also continued our tradition of offering a small number of specialized programs to allow students to build community with each other and with practitioners and to do a deeper dive on a particular practice area. For example, 20 students joined our immersive Semester in Practice program. Their work ranged from representing clients on death row in the South, creating standards for hemp law at a national law firm, establishing financing structures for affordable housing for the City of Chicago, and drafting contracts for an innovative technological company. Another 10 students participated in our Child Advocacy Program, working in human services agencies, with juvenile court judges, and with guardian ad litems to best understand the system of child welfare lawyering in our state.
Led by Assistant Professor of the Practice Kristen Uhl Hulse and Visiting Assistant Colleen Scarola respectively, we ran our longstanding Corporate Apprenticeship Program, which included compliance-based placements for the first time, and a first-in-the-nation Cannabis Externship Program. They both brought their professional practice experience into the classroom, enhancing the student fieldwork and allowing them to better understand things like how corporations interact with clients, how to navigate business interests with legal questions, and how to become an expert in an evolving area like cannabis law, which has simultaneously become an incredibly rich industry.
As Denver Law’s commitment to diversity within legal education and the profession continues to grow, our program embraces opportunities to support students from marginalized backgrounds and to build mentorship and post-graduate career pipelines for them. In partnership with the Colorado Supreme Court and Colorado Court of Appeals, 16 students worked to draft briefs, observe hearings, and engage in strategic thought conversations with judges. A semester later, 18 students participated in the Public Sector Pledge Program for Diverse Students spearheaded by federal Judge Kristen Mix, externing in local, state, and federal agencies and within federal judicial chambers. While there is always much more work that needs to be done, we are eager to play a part and elevate the perspective and knowledge that students from diverse backgrounds bring to any legal setting.
The success of our program very much depends on the relationships we have with the Colorado legal community and our alumni network, and we are grateful for the ongoing support they offer to our students. We are also always grateful for the work ethic, determination, and passion our students bring to the classroom and the field. We know the legal profession and the students we serve are constantly evolving and we remain eager to provide a strong, steady foundation in professional identity formation and offer innovative opportunities to learn by doing.
Legal Externship Program Faculty Highlights
Associate Professor of the Practice Alexi Freeman
2019 Robert B. Yegge Excellence in Teaching Award (Sturm College of Law)
2019 University Faculty Career Champion for All Graduate Students (based on student submissions for all faculty across university graduate departments) (University of Denver Career Services)
2019 Inclusiveness @ Work, Individual Award (Center for Legal Inclusiveness)
2018-2019 X-ITE Innovation Fellow
2018-2019 Student Bar Association Outstanding Faculty Award (voted by student body)
2018-2019 Student Bar Association Faculty/Staff Mentorship Award (voted by student body)
Appointed to the board of directors for the ACLU of Colorado
Presenter (invited), “Why a Diverse Pipeline Matters for PELA,” 2019 PELA Annual Retreat, Genesse, CO. (August 22, 2019).
Keynote, 2019 Sturm College of Law JD Orientation, “Inclusiveness and Professionalism“ (August 13, 2019).
Co-panelist, “When You’re the Only Person in the Room: Lessons from Diverse Law Students in Ensuring an Inclusive, Equitable, and Empowering Classroom and Work Environment,” 2019 Legal Inclusiveness & Diversity Summit, Denver, Colo. (July 29, 2019).
Co-panelist, “Centering Student Stories in the Legal Classroom,” 7th Biennial Applied Legal Storytelling conference, Denver, Colo. (July 11, 2019).
Co-panelist, “Breaking the Hierarchy: Empowering Students in the Field,” 2019 AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education, San Francisco, Calif. (May 6, 2019).
Presenter (invited), “Activism and Social Change,” DU Inaugural Civil Rights Summit, Denver, Colo. (February 15, 2019).
Presenter (invited), “Providing Feedback to Externs,” Colorado Attorney General’s Office Continuing Legal Education, Denver, Colo. (January 15, 2019).
Assistant Professor of the Practice Kristen Uhl Hulse
NALP ALI-CLE Professional Development Institute (December 2018).
AALS Clinical Conference (May 2019).
Professional Development Consortium Summer Conference (July 2019).
“Bridging the "Practice-Readiness" Gap through the Legal Externship Seminar,” Professional Development Quarterly (February 2019).
Board of Directors, Professional Development Consortium (eff. July 2019).
Visiting Assistant Professor of the Practice Colleen Scarola
Panelist, “Value of Mentoring for New Grads,” Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program (April 2019).
Presenter, “Administering Implicit Bias in the Clinical and Externships Setting-Am I the problem?”, Southern Clinical Conference and Bellows Scholars Workshop (October 2018).
Presenter, “What Happens on Social Media … Could Derail Your Legal Career: Incorporating Professional Social Media Use Into Experiential Learning” (Work in-Progress) (October 2018).
“What Happens on Social Media…Could Derail Your Legal Career: Teaching E-Professionalism in Experiential Learning, Vermont Law Review Vol. 44 (forthcoming).