The UCDC Law Program is a uniquely collaborative, full-semester externship program in Washington, DC. The program combines a weekly seminar-style course with a full-time field placement to offer law students an unparalleled opportunity to learn how federal statutes, regulations, and policies are made, changed, and understood in the nation’s capital. During four months’ total immersion in the theory and practice of Washington lawyering, students will have contact with all three branches of the federal government, independent regulatory agencies, and advocacy nonprofits. For a list of past placements, click here
The Program includes law students from Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, and UC Irvine. Students will receive 13 units for successful completion of the program: 10 units for the field placements and 3 units for the required companion course, “Law and Lawyering in the Nation’s Capital.” As of now there is no cap on enrollment. The Program typically enrolls between 15 and 35 students. The Program is housed at the University of California Washington Center, a UC facility located at 1608 Rhode Island Avenue, N.W., just minutes from the White House and most government departments and agencies.
Students' externships in the UCDC Law Program have two main components: full-time lawyering at the placement site, and the 3-unit once a week companion seminar.
The seminar is designed to enhance the externship experience in three ways. First, students will learn about the process of federal lawmaking directly from leading government lawyers, lobbyists, and public interest advocates. Second, they will explore new career opportunities unique to lawyering in Washington, while enhancing their skill sets for success in any career path. Third, they will investigate the role of lawyers in making and changing federal law and policy. Class sessions include frequent guest lecturers and class discussions based on students' questions. Each student will write a final paper on a legal topic relevant to the externship. The final classes of the term are devoted to brief student presentations on their externship experience or final paper in progress. See sample syllabus.
Students apply to the Program at least one semester prior to their externships. The Program Director works with each student to identify suitable placements in their preferred practice area. The Program Director visits each participating law school each semester, and is available via email or telephone for individual consultations with students.
Information on how to apply for this program can be found here.
Nicole V. Lehtman is the Director of the University of California Washington DC Law Program. Prior to joining the UCDC Law Program, Ms. Lehtman served as the first program manager and adjunct professor for the Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law’s Washington DC Legal Externship Program. In that position, Ms. Lehtman was responsible for counseling law students from across the country on available externship opportunities with the federal government and DC-based non-profit organizations; and provided students with support and guidance throughout their time in Washington, DC. Ms. Lehtman also has served as an adjunct professor in the Trial Advocacy program at American University’s Washington College of Law.Ms. Lehtman has extensive government experience working as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice. Most recently, Ms. Lehtman served as a trial attorney in the Justice Department's Criminal Division, Office of International Affairs, where she coordinated international extradition and mutual legal assistance matters involving Latin America. Ms. Lehtman previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia where she was responsible for prosecuting criminal actions in the District of Columbia on behalf of the United States. Ms. Lehtman also has worked at a private law firm in South Florida specializing in civil litigation and international arbitration. Born in Miami, Ms. Lehtman is a native Spanish speaker whose family is from Santiago, Chile. She is a graduate, cum laude, of American University’s Washington College of Law and of the University of Miami, where she graduated, with honors, with a degree in Political Science and International Studies.
For more information about the program, please contact: