Congressional and Administrative Law Externship

Faculty: Susan Kaplan and Tomea Mersmann 

To view the latest brochure article, click here 

Congressional and Administrative Law Clinic students in Washington D.C.

THE CONGRESSIONAL & ADMINISTRATIVE LAW EXTERNSHIP, founded in 1977 and one of the oldest legal externship programs in Washington, D.C., recently expanded its scope and capacity as a result of Washington University’s academic partnership with the Brookings Institution.  It is now a year-round, interdisciplinary clinic with full-time externship offerings on Capitol Hill, Federal Agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) for graduate, professional, and upperclass undergraduate students. 

Through this nationally acclaimed clinic, 15 to 20 percent of each Washington University Law third-year class will have the opportunity to work for a member of Congress; a congressional committee; a federal administrative agency; or a nongovernmental policy, advocacy, or a research organization.  All clinic students take a companion class on law and policy taught by a Washington University instructor.  They also participate in an interdisciplinary speakers program with guest experts from the D.C. area.  The clinic is directed by Professor Tomea Mersmann and Professor Kathryn Herr.

Law students at Washington University's DC campus.
Law students at Washington
University's DC campus.
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Many of the more than 650 clinic graduates now work in the nation’s capital in government and public interest law offices, including the Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, Securities and Exchange Commission, and many Senate and Representative offices.

In recent placements, law students have: 

  • Worked on legislation and constituency issues for members of both the House and Senate, including Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill; Congressman George Miller, chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee; and Senator Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Students have helped set up hearings, written draft legislation, and met with interest
    groups and individuals lobbying Congress.
  • Assisted with the prosecution of criminal justice matters as part of the Justice Department’s Obscenity, Narcotics, and Environmental Enforcement Divisions.
  • Helped investigate corporations and individuals for potential securities violations at the Securities and Exchange Commission, including participating in strategy meetings, conference calls, and depositions.
  • Participated in meetings with the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission and his staff—including those on priorities for the new chairman—and helped implement his agenda.

General course requirements for law students: 

The clinic is open to second year and third year law students. It must be taken in conjunction with the Washington University semester in D.C. course on law and policy and the speakers program. Students will work full-time in their externship placements, except for required class meetings and meetings with the clinic director; complete all writing assignments, tutorials, and log requirements for the clinic; and attend sessions of the Senate and House, a committee hearing, and a committee markup.  Students who perform satisfactorily will earn 14 credits (8 credit hours pass/fail; 6 credit hours graded).  Pre-requisite:  one course from the Ethics Curriculum.

STUDENTS: Click here to view information about the Congressional and Adminitrative Law Clinic. This handout provides general information that will be helpful for you to know before registering.

Application information for law students:  Click here to view updated information. 

Registration

[view] Registration Information and Forms

For current application information, as well as an explanation of required application materials, please contact Katie Herr, Clinic Operations Manager, at kmherr@wulaw.wustl.edu or Tomea Mersmann, Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives, at mersmann@wulaw.wustl.edu.