Summer Department of Justice Extern Program




Practice trial, appellate and administrative law with some of the most respected litigators in Wisconsin, working on issues and cases of statewide importance.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice Summer Program offers a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience in litigation and public advocacy at the Department of Justice. Extern applications are now being accepted from first and second year law students to work at WDOJ for credit or as volunteers in SUMMER 2011.

Program Benefits: The Summer Program, for students working as externs for credit or as volunteers, offers practical and marketable experience in the day-to-day practice of law, from the administrative level through to the appellate level. Students hone research, writing, pleading, briefing, negotiating, trial and advocacy skills under the supervision of state attorneys at the Department of Justice. Students develop advanced skills in all facets of administrative, trial and appellate legal work, from problem solving, legal analysis, factual investigation, communication, and litigation strategy, to organization and management of legal work and public advocacy. Students work on issues and develop the law in areas of statewide importance.

Program Placements: Students work in civil rights, environmental protection, consumer protection, criminal prosecution, antitrust, employment, government operations, administrative law, bankruptcy, contracts, property, constitutional law, personal injury, medicaid fraud and medical malpractice—at the administrative, trial and appellate levels.

Students work in the following units of the Department of Justice: Civil Litigation (including civil rights, prisoner rights, torts, medical malpractice, property and eminent domain) and Employment; State Programs and Administration (including core governmental issues, tax, contracts, bankruptcy); Criminal Litigation; Antitrust; Consumer Protection; Medicaid Fraud; Criminal Appeals; Environmental Protection; and with the Administrator of the Division of Legal Services and Office of the Attorney General (cross-unit issues, policy and administration).

Student Duties: The assistant attorneys general are charged under state law with representing the state, in all courts, state and federal, trial and appellate, as both plaintiff and defendant. Attorneys also review legislative proposals, respond to citizen inquiries, provide training, and advise state entities.

Students work as partners with attorneys on their cases and related projects. Assignments include drafting complaints, answers, motions, and responses to motions; drafting trial and appellate court briefs; preparing discovery requests and responses; preparing memoranda on case-related issues; analyzing legislative proposals; attending negotiations, settlement meetings and court hearings; participating in moot courts; responding to citizen correspondence. Students make contact with client agency staff, citizens, adversaries, legislators and other attorneys. Periodic seminars provide a legal process perspective on this work.

Hours, Time Commitment and Grading:

Externs enroll for four to eight credits (at 45 hours a credit) and commit twenty to forty hours per week for six to eight weeks between early June and mid-August (with the opportunity to work additional hours before, during and after these weeks as a volunteer). Grading is pass-fail, based on completion of hours and assignments. Externs must register with the law school and pay tuition for the credits earned.

Volunteers commit to twenty to forty hours per week for six to ten weeks between late May/early June and mid/August.

Application Procedure: To apply for the Summer 2011 program, submit a resume, transcript and letter of interest to Meg Schaeffer-Utter by e-mail to In your letter of interest please indicate your preference of units and subject area, and credit commitment.


Questions? CalI or e-mail Michael Losse (266-7063;, JoAnne Kloppenburg (266-9227;, or Meg Schaeffer-Utter (

Submitted by Joanna Binsfeld, Associate Student Services Coordinator on January 24, 2011

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