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Judicial and Clinical Externships

The Office of Public Service is responsible for the coordination and administration of the Judicial and Clinical Externship programs. Students can receive academic credit for clinical externships by working for a non-profit public interest office or government agency. Students also receive academic credit through an externship with a judge.

USC in DC Program

The "SC in DC Program" offers a unique opportunity to gain a first-hand account of how federal statutes, regulations, and policies are made, changed, and understood in the nation's capital. Students will also have the opportunity to network with all three branches of the federal government, independent regulatory agencies, and advocacy nonprofits beginning the summer after their first year and during the following academic years. Acknowledging Washington DC as the center of federal government opportunities, we are eager to entice a growing cohort of students to experience these practice settings first hand and increase our school's reach in this critical legal market.

Clinical Programs

The USC Law Clinic Program offers participating students the opportunity to gain valuable legal skills while working on compelling public interest and pro bono cases that feature real-life clients.

Law students receive rigorous, on-the-ground instruction on the salient black-letter law and legal issues and, perhaps more significantly, intensive training on the practical tools required to advocate for effective policy and client advocacy. Moreover, the Clinics also offer the chance to learn about and develop direct, and often cross-cultural, client interaction skills, with the goal of becoming a thoughtful, professional, and respectful advocate.

The OPS encourages all USC Law students to participate in a Clinic during their time at USC Law. Please visit their website for more information.

The Justice Bus Project

USC Gould School of Law is proud to offer students an experiential learning opportunity through a Justice Bus trip during Spring Break. The Justice Bus Project takes teams of attorney and law student volunteers from urban areas to set up free legal clinics for low-income Californians living in rural and isolated communities. These clinics provide life-changing legal assistance to low-income veterans, vulnerable seniors, children with disabilities, low-wage workers, immigrant youth, and families.

"I think it [Justice Bus] was really helpful for understanding rural areas and their need for legal services. It's free and they come to USC so I highly recommend it to students especially those looking to go into public interest! I obviously loved the Justice Bus trips; they were probably some of the best times I had in law school." - Katrina Rayco '14

Annual Public Interest Career Fair

USC Gould School of Law hosts the Public Interest Career Fair each November. The annual Career Fair, a collaboration with the Career Services Office, is designed to expose law students to the practice of law in the public interest and to encourage students to consider a public interest career path. More than 30 nonprofit organizations, government agencies, participate. The informal setting allows students to learn about various legal issues and agencies they can volunteer with or earn academic credit through the externship program. For more information, email Malissa Barnwell-Scott.

Click here for a list of Program participants.

Legal Aid Alternative Break Project (LAAB)

LAAB sponsors spring break trips to hurricane-ravaged areas of the Gulf Coast, where students provide crucial legal services to residents working to rebuild their lives. Winter Break trips take students to rural California to assist local nonprofits working with low-income members of a migrant farming community. Students also traveled to New York/New Jersey to assist victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Street Law

Street Law, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides practical, participatory education that encompasses law, democracy, and human rights. The curriculum of Street Law provides information, practical advice and competency-building activities. USC Street Law focuses on teaching middle and high school students near the University Park Campus. Each semester law students visit classes 3 to 4 times a year that ends with a field trip to USC Law School for Mentor Day. Mentor Day includes a mock law class taught by a member of the law school faculty and a Q & A session with diverse law student that discuss their paths to higher education and law school. Participants also have lunch with Street Law volunteers and a campus tour.

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