Students and alum in Commons

Dickinson Law is conveniently located near Harrisburg, the center of state government and home to federal government offices and judges in the Middle District, and six county seats which permits students to pursue a wide range of externship possibilities while maintaining a full course load.

All Dickinson Law students must take at least 6 credits in a legal practice setting through the externship program, in-house legal clinics, or as part of the Semester-in-Practice Program. 

Under the guidance of an experienced supervisor, second- and third-year law students can step out of the classroom and gain practical experience working in a legal office in one of Dickinson Law’s externship programs. In order to receive academic credit for working at an externship placement site, students must:

  • complete legal work at their externship site for a required number of hours per credit (typically 140 hours per semester for three credits);
  • attend and participate in the academic companion course; and
  • complete assigned readings and required reflective assignments and self-evaluations.

General externships allow students to continue taking courses while working with federal and state court judges, state or federal government agencies, in-house corporate counsel, and public interest or nonprofit organizations. Some private law firm placements will be approved on a case-by-case basis by the Director of Externships and the Director of Experiential Learning if they present a unique learning opportunity. 

Students who have completed at least one year of legal education and are in good academic standing are eligible to apply for an externship. Students who enroll in the externship course are recommended to enroll in Professional Responsibility or have already completed and passed Professional Responsibility. Some placements require students to be eligible for Certified Legal Extern Status (see Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules 321 and 322 for more details.)

Externships for academic credit may be paid or unpaid. Paid externships must be approved by the Director of Externships and the Director of Experiential Learning.



Federal Judicial Placements

Federal judicial placements begin in the Spring semester of a student’s second year and continue in the Fall of their third year. Students earn three credits per semester for a total of six credits and must commit to both semesters. Applications for externships must be submitted in the Fall semester.

Federal judicial placements with the United Stated District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania are available with the following judges:

  • U.S. District Court Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner
  • U.S. District Court Judge Yvette Kane
  • U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia Rambo
  • U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Henry W. Van Eck
  • Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson
  • Chief Magistrate Judge Susan Schwab

Learn more about the Court here.

Apply for federal judicial placements through the Career Portal.

Federal Government Placements

Dickinson Law students extern with federal government agencies, the United States Attorney’s Office, and the Office of the Federal Public Defender. Students participate in all aspects of civil and criminal litigation, draft legislation, prepare testimony, attend administrative proceedings, and work directly with federal judges and law clerks in observing trials, oral arguments and the work of the court.

Federal government placements include:

  • U.S. Army War College, Office of the Post-Judge Advocate, Carlisle Barracks
  • U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
  • Office of the Federal Public Defender
  • Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review — York Immigration Court
  • Department of Homeland Security — Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Chief Counsel
  • United States Department of Agriculture, Office of General Counsel

Students interested in placements with federal judges should apply through the Federal Judicial Placement Program through the Career Portal. Second-year law students can participate in recruitment for the Federal Judicial Placement Program in the Fall semester.

State Government Placements


  • Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
  • Pennsylvania Treasury, Board of Finance and Revenue


  • Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole
  • Pennsylvania County Public Defender Offices
  • Pennsylvania District Attorney Offices
  • Pennsylvania State Police


  • Pennsylvania Courts of Common Pleas


  • Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus
  • Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus
  • Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus
  • Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau
  • Pennsylvania Medical Society
  • Pennsylvania School Boards Association


  • Office of General Counsel:
    • Pennsylvania Department of Aging
    • Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
    • Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
    • Pennsylvania Department of Education
    • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
    • Pennsylvania Department of Health
    • Pennsylvania Department of State


  • Civil Law Division
  • Criminal Law Division
  • Public Protection Division
  • Tax Litigation Division
  • Torts Division
Public Interest and Nonprofit Placements

The following public interest and nonprofit agencies are representative of the opportunities available to Dickinson Law students. For more information, please visit the individual agency website or contact the Externship Program Director.

  • Community Justice Project
  • The Law Offices of Women in Need
  • MidPenn Legal Services
  • Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape
  • Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center
Legislative Advocacy Placements

Dickinson Law’s proximity to Harrisburg provides access to legislative advocacy placements at the state capital. Students may extern with the legislature, trade organizations or other advocacy groups. Placements include:

  • Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus
  • Pennsylvania House Republication Caucus
  • Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association
  • Pennsylvania Medical Society
  • Pennsylvania School Board Association
  • Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus
  • Sierra Club — Pennsylvania Chapter