Wayne Law launches corporate counsel externship program

Wayne State University Law School continues to expand opportunities for experiential learning with the addition of a corporate counsel externship program.

The program, now in its first semester, allows students to develop the knowledge and skills they need to succeed as commercial and business lawyers by placing them in the corporate counsel offices of for-profit and nonprofit businesses in and around Detroit. A classroom colloquium supports students' field placement experiences.

"Corporate counsel externships provide substantial legal experience for our students beyond what we traditionally offer in the classroom," said Associate (Clinical) Professor D'lorah L. Hughes, director of clinical education at Wayne Law. "Externs work as lawyers on real matters under the mentorship of our partner organizations. This unmatched experience adds to our students' skill sets and also expands their knowledge of the types of work lawyers can do in the business community."

Field placements offer opportunities for juris doctor and master of laws students to work directly with business clients and experience the role of lawyers in mergers and acquisitions, business contracts, real estate transactions, securities laws and compliance with governmental regulation of business and industry. Externs work at least 150 unpaid hours over the course of the semester, performing tasks similar to those of entry-level attorneys and observing the day-to-day activities of legal professionals.

Wayne Law students are placed in corporate counsel externships at Ally Financial, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Ford Motor Co., GKN North America Services Inc. and Wayne State University Office of the General Counsel. The Michigan Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel has assisted the law school in developing the corporate counsel externship program.

Through the complementary colloquium course, students learn about issues encountered in in-house legal departments, as well as the ethical responsibilities of in-house counsel. Substantial class time is devoted to professional skills instruction on topics such as working with outside counsel, conflicts management, contract drafting and conducting internal investigations. Students also participate in facilitated discussion, as well as analysis of and reflection on their fieldwork.

This summer's colloquium is being taught by 1980 Wayne Law alumnus Tim Guerriero, immediate past general counsel and company secretary for TI Automotive Ltd. The fall 2015 colloquium will be taught by John Collins, Wayne Law class of 1976, managing director, general counsel and secretary of AlixPartners LLP. Chief legal officers, general counsel and senior managing attorneys will guest lecture in some classes.

Named among the best law schools in the nation for practical training by The National Jurist magazine, Wayne Law also offers criminal justice, judicial and public interest externship programs, in addition to seven in-house legal clinics that serve the public.

Wayne Law is actively seeking additional corporate counsel partners for the externship program. If your company would like to participate as a partner in the corporate counsel externship program, contact Hughes at 313-577-9991 or dhughes@wayne.edu.

Published: Mon, Aug 10, 2015