Frequently Asked Questions – Field Placements
Below you will find answers to many of the questions you may have about participating in a field placement.
What is a “field placement”?
A field placement is a volunteer legal internship position with a government agency, a non-profit organization that provides legal services, or a judge’s chambers. This work experience is accompanied by a course component, which is designed to give students a grounding in the ethical and professional considerations necessary for success in a legal work position.
What is the application process?
Students wishing to enroll a field placement must apply through the common application process for all Clinics & Field placements. In the joint application, students will be asked to rank their clinic and field placement preferences, provide a résumé and answer questions regarding relevant experiences and interests in their selections. The online application form will be made available on the website once the application period opens. Please note that the application period begins and ends several weeks prior to the registration period for all other classes. As a result, interested students should plan ahead and keep an eye out for e-mails and announcements regarding the Clinics & Field placements application period each semester. An interview may be required.
What is the selection criteria?
For most field placements, class rank and GPA are not considered, but you must have passed your first year writing class. (Certain judicial field placements may take class rank and GPA into consideration.) The paramount consideration is why you want to do a field placement, and where you want to do that field placement. You will write a statement of interest as a part of your application – please provide detailed answers to the questions asked in that statement of interest!
Participation in a field placement also requires that a student successfully complete that placement’s “onboarding” requirements, which generally include a background check and a drug screening. Failure to successfully complete onboarding/screening for a field placement may disqualify a student from participation in future field placements and clinics – if you have questions or concerns about the onboarding process, please contact Prof. Brooks well in advance of the application period.
How many hours must students devote to a field placement?
A student in a field placement course must complete a minimum of 135 hours over the course of the semester in order to satisfy minimum course requirements. These hours will come both from work performed for the host placement organization and for work completed in the course component of the field placement. A student must complete at least 120 hours of work at the host placement; the remaining 15 hours towards the minimum 135 will come from coursework.
This hours commitment is for the duration of the semester. That is, field placement students are expected to work for their host placement for the entire semester. Students may end their externship prior to the last week of the semester only with the express written approval of both their placement supervisor and the Director of Field Placement Programs.
Each student’s work schedule will be determined by the student in consultation with their supervising attorney. Typically, field placement students work for their host placement approximately 10 to 12 hours per week in the fall and spring semesters, and 20 hours per week in the summer semester.
How do I find a field placement host organization?
The Field Placement Program has many “pre-created” placements, both in Louisiana and out of state, already created and reserved for LSU law students. You can apply to be assigned to one of these placements by Prof. Brooks, you can seek out and design your own experience (i.e.; you can apply to other [uncompensated] opportunities, and work with Professor Brooks to turn it into an approved placement), or you can work directly with Professor Brooks to design a placement opportunity.
Can I work while I’m participating in a field placement?
Students cannot have any other law-related employment (e.g.; a law firm clerk position) while participating in a field placement (i.e.; two positions at the same time). Students can have a non-law-related position (e.g.; waiter, bartender) while participating in a field placement, but must have written permission from Prof. Brooks and the host placement.
Are there any special scheduling requirements for a field placement?
Placements work with students to schedule their time at their field placements around their class schedules. In addition, there are weekly class meetings and/or individual meetings with the professor.
Are there any special costs associated with doing a field placement?
Typically, the only expenses would be your travel-related costs (gas, parking, etc.) Additionally, you are expected to wear professional attire when participating in a field placement.
What are the role and responsibilities of students?
This will vary based on the type of field placement and the specific placement within that area.
How can I get answers to additional questions I have about the Field Placement Program?
You can contact Professor Jeffrey Brooks directly with questions at email@example.com.