Experiential education—learning through practical experience—is a main component of every student’s training at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. In experiential courses, including in-house clinics, externships, and simulations, students get hands-on experience and individualized training that bridges the gap between the classroom and the real world.
To graduate, students need to complete six credits of experiential coursework. But quite a few students do more.
Many of our students find that a clinic experience is the most valuable, rewarding and challenging part of law school.
Clinic students learn through real-world work, intensive seminars, and regular meetings with faculty supervisors. Every clinic student gains valuable skills, knowledge, and mental habits that help prepare them for a successful practice. They also gain deep insight into the strategic, ethical, and relational dimensions of the legal profession.
In externships, students earn academic credit while gaining practical skills and training under licensed attorneys in the field. S.J. Quinney has a wide variety of externship placements in more than a dozen different areas of law, and new placements are developed every semester.
Experiential Education FAQs
Yes. All students must complete at least 6 credit hours of experiential coursework before graduation. Clinics, externships, and simulation courses count toward this requirement.
- There is no cap on clinic course credits. However, you may enroll in each clinic only once.
- You may take a total of 14 credit hours in the Externship Credit course. Externship credit hours count toward the 18 ungraded credits you can take before graduation.
Yes! No matter the subject matter, each clinic teaches essential skills of legal analysis, strategic thinking, planning, problem solving, ethics and managing client relationships. All of which are transferable to any legal practice.
- You may take a clinic in your second or third year.
- You may complete an externship beginning in the summer after your first year. The only exception is the full-year Criminal Process Externship, which is only for third-year students.
- The Innocence Clinic does not have any pre- or co-requisites.
- The Justice Lab requires Legal Profession as either a pre- or co-requisite.
- The Criminal Process Externship requires Evidence and Trial Advocacy as pre-requisites. Criminal Procedure is also recommended. It must be taken no later than fall of the third year because it is required by the rule that authorizes law students to appear in court.
- Before their first externship, most students must take Learning from Practice as a co-requisite. And before their second externship, most students are required to take Advanced Learning from Practice as a co-requisite.
Sure thing. You can take a one-semester criminal externship as early as the summer after the first year. However, only students who meet the requirements of the student practice rule may appear in court.
- Clinics are graded and are not subject to the mandatory curve.
- Externship Credit is an ungraded, pass-fail course. The classroom courses students take in conjunction with an externship are generally graded and not subject to the mandatory curve.
- Clinics require 42.5 hours of work per credit hour.
- Externships require 50 hours of work at the externship site per credit hour. This does not include work in any required classroom course.
- The Justice Lab and Innocence Clinic take applications each spring for the upcoming academic year, including fall and spring semesters.
- Externship opportunities will be posted in an online job board with application deadline. Students can also request to be matched, or they can locate their own externship with the approval of the Director of Externships.
Sorry, but no. However, with special permission from the Innocence Clinic professors, you may be allowed to participate in the Innocence Clinic and an externship at the same time. Please note, this is generally discouraged and will only be permitted in unique circumstances.
Professor Jensie Anderson
Clinical Professor and Innocence Clinic Director
Rocky Mountain Innocence Center
Professor Anna E. Carpenter
Clinical Programs Director
Justice Lab Director
Director of Externships
Academic Program Manager