Should I include co-op as part of my law school training?
Although participation in the Co-op Program is not mandatory, we strongly encourage all eligible students to pursue a co-op as part of their law school training. By taking a co-op, you will receive authentic hands-on experience working in a law office, which will allow you to integrate what you learn in the classroom with practical skills. You will also have the opportunity to engage a mentor and to begin to build a professional network that will serve you for the rest of your career.
Is co-op available to all students at the law school?
Can I choose my own co-op placement?
The law school faculty and administration selects and screens all placements for co-op. Because you are earning a significant number of credits for this program, we must secure from each placement specific commitments to the law school and to you. In order to do so, the placements go through an approval process with the law school and work with the co-op faculty and Associate Dean for Experiential Learning in a variety of ways. By choosing the placements carefully, keeping the numbers relatively constant, and ensuring a diversity of placement settings, we are able to offer you high quality, successful learning experiences in the co-op and at the same time maintain good will in the Philadelphia legal community so that our program can continue to grow and thrive.
How are students placed in co-ops?
There are eight steps in the matching process for co-op placement:
- TWEN Course Page for the Co-op Program: The co-op matching process is administered through the TWEN Course Page designated for that purpose each cycle. Students interested in applying for co-op during a particular cycle need to add the course page to their list of classes. The course page contains all information and forms required to apply for co-op and a calendar of important dates and events.
- Co-op Binder with Placement Information: Co-op partners provide the law school with detailed information about themselves, their work expectations, and any pre-requisites or preferences they have. An electronic binder containing detailed information about each participating partner is posted on TWEN each cycle for student review.
- Co-op Preview Workshop: Representative current and former students from each of our five categories of placements conduct a workshop on campus for students interested in co-op. The goal of the Workshop is to provide prospective students with an introduction to the various types of placements and practices available through co-op.
- Co-op Application Packet: After reviewing the binder and attending the Co-op Preview Workshop, students interested in applying for co-op submit an application packet on TWEN. A co-op application packet consists of the student's Statement of Interest, Acknowledgement of Rules of Engagement for Co-op Participation, resume, unofficial transcript and writing sample. In the Statement of Interest, students indicate the type of placement (in-house, law firm, judicial, public interest, or government) where they wish to pursue a co-op and provide additional information about their general preferences and interests.
- Proposed Matches by the Law School: The Director of the Co-op Program proposes a student for each co-op position based upon careful consideration of the partner's requirements, the student's interests and qualifications, and input from law school faculty members. The law school forwards the proposed student's application packet to the partner and the partner is asked to approve the student for placement.
- Limited Interviews: Interviews are not required for co-op placement and some partners accept the student based on the application material without an interview. If, at this point, however, a partner wishes to meet the proposed student, the law school works with the partner and the student to schedule an interview.
- Final Matching: Once a partner approves a student for placement, the matching is considered final and the student is notified. If a partner does not accept a proposed student, another student is proposed for the position, if one is available. We announce the final matching results to all students and co-op partners at least one month prior to the start of each co-op cycle.
What’s my course schedule when I am on co-op?
Because the regular co-op is not full-time and you will be working only 20-25 hours per week, you will need to take at least one course in addition to co-op and the accompanying seminar. Core courses are being offered at times during the week that can mesh with your co-op work schedule, such as early morning and late afternoon/evening times. The co-op class, called Lawyering Practice Seminar, meets for 2 hours each week.
What’s the difference between the Earle Mack School of Law Co-op Program and the Drexel Undergraduate Co-op Program?
There are two main differences. First, the undergraduate program involves internships for pay, making the relationships created in that program essentially employer/employee relationships. Second, the undergraduate co-ops are full-time. When undergrad students are on co-op, they are working full-time and are not required to take courses or be on campus.
Earle Mack School of Law co-op placements are primarily academic in nature; the relationship is not one of employer/employee. This is because the American Bar Association’s standards for accreditation DO NOT PERMIT law students to be paid for co-op work and earn academic credit at the same time. Had we designed the co-op placements as paid internships rather than a part of the academic program, students would have been required to attend school year-round for three full years in order to obtain the necessary credits for graduation.
Instead, the co-op experience is integrated into the academic program; as a result, you earn a significant number of academic credits while in the program. In the standard co-op, you earn 7 credits per semester for the field work performed in the placement setting and 2 credits per semester for the classroom component of the program, known as “Lawyering Practice Seminar.” In the co-op intensive, you will earn 10 field credits. Additionally, our experienced co-op faculty closely supervises you throughout the entire semester and maintains a close connection with your placement supervisor as well.
Will there be any training for the co-op students or the supervisors before the start of co-op?
Yes, the Associate Dean for Experiential Learning and co-op faculty will conduct an orientation session for both students and co-op supervisors prior to the start of each cycle.
When should I do a co-op if I am completing a concentration?
Students completing a concentration may be required to complete a concentration-related co-op in their third year. Please visit the individual concentration pages or contact the appropriate concentration director for more details.
Can students do a co-op over the summer?
Yes, we offer a ten-week full-time co-op cycle in the summer.