Wisconsin Department of Justice Externship

The Wisconsin Department of Justice Extern Program offers a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience at the Department of Justice (DOJ) or the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Students will practice civil trial, appellate, and administrative law with some of the most well-respected litigators in Wisconsin, working on issues and cases of statewide importance. 

Externship Benefits

  • The Extern Program offers participants practical and marketable experience in the day-to-day practice of law, from the administrative level through to the appellate level. 
  • Externs hone research, writing, pleading, briefing, negotiating, trial and advocacy skills under the supervision of attorneys at DOJ or DNR. 
  • Externs 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. 

Externship Placements

Externs work in one of four DNR units, or one of the following DOJ units: 

  • Civil Litigation
  • Consumer Protection & Antitrust
  • Criminal Litigation
  • Criminal Appeals
  • Environmental Protection
  • Medicaid Fraud Control & Elder Abuse

The assistant attorneys general at DOJ are charged under state law with representing the state, in all courts, state and federal, trial and appellate, as both plaintiff and defendant. 

DNR attorneys appear in administrative hearings concerning permitting and regulation, and develop administrative rules and policies, in the areas of forestry, endangered resources, watershed management, air pollution, resource management and environmental protection. Attorneys in both agencies also review legislative proposals, respond to citizen inquiries, provide training, and advise state entities.

Externship Experience:

Externs work as partner 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

Externs gain experience working in:

  • Civil rights
  • Environmental protection
  • Employment
  • Government operations
  • Administrative law
  • Bankruptcy
  • Contracts
  • Property
  • Constitutional law
  • Personal injury 
  • Medical malpractice

Externs make contact with client agency staff, citizens, adversaries, legislators and other attorneys. 
A weekly seminar provides a legal process perspective on this work. 

Credit Hours, Time Commitment and Grading

Up to 20 externs enroll for 5 to 7 credits and commit 12 to 21 hours per week to the program. Some placements require a 7-credit commitment; others allow a range of 5-7 credits. Grading is pass-fail, based on completion of hours and assignments. 

Application Procedure

Students should submit a résumé, transcript and letter of interest to Sara Balde at baldesr@doj.state.wi.us. The letter of interest should include preference of department, unit(s), subject area, and credit commitment. 

Applications are accepted during the clinical sign up periods.

Questions?

Contact Assistant Attorney General Chad Gendreau at gendreaucr@doj.state.wi.us or Assistant Attorney General Anne Peacock at peacockam@doj.state.wi.us.     

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