Externship Field Supervision: Effective Techniques for Training Supervisors and Students
49 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2004
Date Written: March 2004
This article explores the natural dichotomy inevitably occurring in an externship field placement program and discusses some practical training techniques to minimize the negative aspects of the field placement experience for the law school, the field supervisor and the student. The dichotomy occurs where, in an off-campus field placement, the primary concern of the supervising attorney must be the work of the agency or the judicial chambers, while the concern for the education of the field extern must by nature be a secondary goal. The article synthesizes current literature in the pedagogical theories of field supervision and identifies the methods and characteristics of an effective field supervisor, as well as how effective field supervisors recognize and compensate for common barriers to effective field supervision. A primary focus of the article is the motivating and regenerative effect of GLACE, the Greater Los Angeles Consortium on Externships, which prepared and distributed jointly adopted written materials to shared field placement supervising attorneys and judicial chambers to assist in training and mentoring law students. GLACE schools also adopted joint supervision guidelines and policies for all shared field supervisors and judicial chambers, significantly raising the visibility and importance of diligent field supervision in the Los Angeles area. The article finally suggests that externship faculty train students in a specific pro-active curriculum to assist students in initiating effective field supervision independently of that provided by the field supervisor and describe the components of such training.
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