Prerequisite: Completion of first year curriculum.
The Judicial Extern Program provides law students with a candid first hand experience in the judicial decision-making process. This is accomplished by placing students in a judge or justice's office for a specified number of hours each week to work directly with the judge in daily decision-making tasks.
Judges with whom students are placed are encouraged to maximize the educational experience by granting students access to events in the courtroom and in the judge's chambers. The judge should take time to explain his or her decision to the student and answer any questions. All facets of the judicial decision-making process should be open to discussion, including a candid critique of the quality of the presentations made by lawyers appearing before the judge. The judge should make an effort to introduce the student to other aspects of the daily working life of a judge which may influence the decision-making process, e.g., the judge's relationship to the clerk's office and other courthouse employees, the judge's administrative responsibilities for docket control, the judge's participation in judge's meetings, and the making and enforcement of courthouse policies and procedures.
Judges are encouraged to assign to the law student specific hands-on-tasks which will aid the student in becoming involved in the judicial decision-making process. These tasks may include such activities as summarizing case files, legal research, and document drafting. Judges should keep in mind that the quality of the educational experience for the law student is enhanced by both the depth and breadth of the tasks assigned. Judges are discouraged from overburdening the law student with research at the expense of a full exposure to judicial decision-making. No single task or narrow set of tasks should become the exclusive experience for the judicial extern and should not be assigned at the expense of the student's opportunity to observe and discuss the judge's daily decision-making. A judge may broaden and enrich a student's experience by occasionally requiring the student to observe or work with another judge.
Supervision Under Rules Governing Student Practice Students enrolled in the Judicial Extern Program are governed by N.M.R. Civ. Pro. 1-094 and Rule 83.11 of the Local Rules for the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. Students are required to conduct themselves at all times within the spirit and meaning of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Judicial supervisors must be sure that students understand and follow these rules.
Under these rules, students are granted the privilege to practice law while under the supervision of a properly licensed attorney designated by the Dean of the Law School and while the student is currently enrolled in the Law School clinical program. A lawyer other than the lawyer designated by the Law School as the student's supervisor is permitted to supervise the student only with the prior permission of the Law School.
N.M.R. Civ. Pro. 1-094 provides:
1-094. Clinical Education.
A. Purpose. To permit a clinical program for the University of New Mexico School of Law. B. Procedure. Any law student admitted to the clinical program at the University of New Mexico School of Law shall be authorized under the control and direction of the Dean of the Law School to advise persons and to negotiate and to appear before the courts and administrative agencies of this State, in civil and criminal matters, under the active supervision of a member of the State Bar of New Mexico designated by the Dean of the Law School. Such supervision shall include assignment of all matters, review and examination of all documents, and signing of all pleadings prepared by the student. The supervising lawyer need not be present while a student is advising a client or negotiating but shall be present during court appearances. Each student in the program may appear in a given court with the written approval of the judge presiding over the case and shall file in the court a copy of the order granting approval. The Law School shall report annually to the Supreme Court. C. Eligible Students. Any full-time student in good academic standing in the University of New Mexico School of Law who has received a passing grade in Law School courses, and have completed their first full year of twenty nine (29) or more semester hours (or their equivalent), but who has not graduated, shall be eligible to participate in a clinical program if he/she meets the academic and moral standards established by the Dean of the School of Law. D. Effective Date. This Rule shall be effective after May 15, 1970. [As amended, effective May 1, 1986, January 1, 1995; November 24, 1997].
D.N.M.LR-Cv 83.11 provides:
83.11 Clinical Law Student Practice. Any law student admitted to the clinical program at the University of New Mexico School of Law shall be authorized under the control and direction of the Dean of the Law School to advise persons and to negotiate and to appear before this Court in civil and criminal matters under the active supervision of a member of the bar of the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, designated by the dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law. Such supervision shall include assignment of all matters, review and examination of all documents and signing of all pleadings prepared by the student. Before a student appears in court, an order authorizing the student's appearance shall be of record.
Effective Date. July 27, 1992.
Placements Placements may be made with any New Mexico State Court Judge, including Metropolitan Court, District Court (general, family, or children's divisions), Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court Justices. Placements may also be made with U.S. District Court Judges, U.S. Magistrates, and U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judges and any Tribal Judge. Placements are made only with judges or justices who have expressed interest in supervising a judicial extern.
All placements are made by the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs in consultation with the Dean of the Law School and the judge or justice with whom a placement is sought. Students and judges are permitted to suggest placements, but no placement is final unless approved by the Law School. Placements are made to promote the student's overall educational program and goals. No student may be placed under the supervision of a relative.
A student is not permitted to repeat a judicial externship with the same judge without the written consent of the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs. A student may petition the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs for permission to repeat a judicial externship based on a showing of substantial educational value.
Compensation Students are not permitted to be paid for the hours they work in the Judicial Extern Program. Students receive three credit hours for successfully completing a judicial externship. The credit hours earned in the externship count toward the hours required to graduate from Law School, but they do not count toward the Law School clinical course requirement of six credit hours earned in an "in house" clinical course.
If funding is available, students may be compensated for extraordinary travel or living expenses incurred in connection with the extern placement. If a student works extra hours over and above those required for extern credit and the law student has arranged in advance to be paid for these hours, than pay is permitted. Pay in this circumstance must have the prior written approval of the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs. The student must keep carefully written records of all time worked for pay and for Law School credit to substantiate the fact that pay is not being accepted for time allotted to the clinical extern requirement.
Clinical Enrollment and Law School Registration Students must enroll for the Judicial Extern Program during the sign up period designated by the Director of the Clinical Law Programs. Placements with a specific judge or justice will be finalized during the first two weeks of the semester. The Externship Programs regularly receives inquiries regarding possible placements with law firms, government agencies, and the courts. Students desiring assistance insuring a placement or discussing a particular placement should speak to the Externship Coordinator or the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs.
The enrollment for the Judicial Extern Program does not constitute registration for the course with the University of New Mexico Registrar's Office. Registration and tuition payments are handled on main campus in the same manner as for all Law School courses. Questions regarding registration and tuition should be directed to the Law School Registrar.
Office Hours and Class During the Fall or Spring semesters, students are required to work twelve (12) hours each week, for fourteen (14) weeks in their extern placement, for a total of 168 hours to earn 3 credits. Students are required to work eight (8) hours each week, for fourteen (14) weeks in their extern placement, for a total of 112 hours to earn 2 credits.
In the Summer semester, students work sixteen (16) hours each week, for ten (10) weeks in their extern placement, for a total of 160 hours to earn 3 credits. Students are required to work a total of 104 hours in their extern placement to earn 2 credits.
A set schedule of office hours must be arranged with a student's assigned judge or justice during the first week of the semester. The hours are to be set during the usual working hours of the judge or justice. A copy of the schedule is delivered to the judge and to the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs.
The actual hours worked by the student should generally conform to the scheduled office hours. With the permission of the supervising judge or justice, some flexibility is allowed to accommodate special circumstances, such as, illness or opportunity to engage in a particularly exciting educational experience outside of regularly scheduled hours. A student is not allowed to accumulate hours for the purpose of working fewer weeks. Exposure to the judicial extern experience over the course of a full semester is an essential component of the overall educational program.
During the fall and spring semester, the beginning and end of the office hour’s period will run a total length of fourteen weeks. Students are required to maintain the assigned office hours beginning in the second week of the semester. Office hours are to be kept until the last day of classes at the Law School.
During the summer semester, the beginning and end of the office hour’s period will run a total length of ten weeks. Students are required to maintain the assigned office hours beginning the first week of the semester. Office hours are to be kept until the last day of classes at the Law School.
If a student fails to keep office hours as required, the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs must be informed immediately by the supervising judge or justice and the student. Any change in office hours or in completion of the externship program should be coordinated with the supervising judge or justice and the externship coordinator.
The Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs will arrange class sessions to be held during the semester. Please check the Clinic web calendar for days, times and room assignment. Attendance of the classes is mandatory, and the hours spent in these classes count as part of the weekly office hour’s requirement.
Withdrawing From the Externship Program Students are not permitted to drop the Judicial Extern Program after the third week of the semester without the permission of the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs. This requirement is to prevent possible harm to the working environment of a judge's office which may make plans on the assumption that a law student may be present for a specific period of time to provide needed help. Students desiring to withdraw from this course should first speak to their supervising judge or justice. Please confirm your intention to withdraw in writing with your supervising judge or justice and provide a copy to the externship coordinator.
Activity Reports and Confidentiality Every two weeks, students must submit activity reports to the Externship Coordinator. These reports account for the manner in which a student is spending his or her time in the extern placement. The reports must be sufficiently detailed to present a clear picture of what activities the student has been pursuing and what the student is learning. The report must contain the date of the student's activities, a description of the activities, and the total time expended on each day's activities. It is essential to the Judicial Extern Program that the judge feel free to communicate with the law student. Confidentiality of these communications must be assured. Students are strictly cautioned against breaching confidences and can be disciplined by the Law School for a breach of a confidential relationship. Discipline may include dropping the student from the extern program with a failing grade. In order to insure that confidences are not breached, the student extern and the student’s supervisor must sign all activity reports submitted to the externship coordinator.
Final Paper and Placement Evaluations The judicial extern experience is enhanced by student's self-reflection on his or her learning. To encourage self-reflection and to provide focus to the educational experience, students in the Judicial Extern Program are required to submit a paper to the Externship Coordinator, copied to their judicial extern supervisor, which describes in detail one or more aspects of their learning experience. The paper should focus, in depth, on insights into the judicial-making process or the student's own skill or knowledge development in the context of his or her learning experience.
The paper is due no later than one week after the last day of required office hours. There is no specific length limitation, but it is expected that most papers will range from seven to ten pages.
Course Credit and Grading Law students receive three law school credit hours for their work in the Judicial Extern Program. The course is graded credit/non-credit, C-, D+, D, D-, or F. Whether credit is to be given is determined by the Director of the Clinical Law Programs, based on the activity reports, the final paper, and a final evaluation from the supervising judge or justice. A failure of the student to submit timely activity reports or the final paper, will result in the reduction of the grade or a denial of credit.
Final Evaluation by the Supervising Judge or Justice At the end of each semester, the supervising judge or justice must submit a final evaluation of the student's work to the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs. The final evaluation is done on a form supplied by the Clinic. The Extern Program Coordinator shortly before the completion of the semester will provide a copy of this form to the supervising judge or justice.
Conclusion This description of the Judicial Extern Program is designed to anticipate common questions students and designated supervisors may have about the extern program. If questions or problems arise during the semester, do not hesitate to call the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs.
If a student falls significantly behind in meeting the requirements of the course, it is important that the student and the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs be informed immediately. This helps prevent misunderstandings, which may arise after the semester is concluded.
The School of Law believes that placing students in a judicial environment is a significant and valuable part of the educational program. We welcome suggestions for improvement from anyone interested in the program.