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How Does Co-op Work?

Still wondering what the co-op program is all about?  Here are some quick facts to get with the program:

  • Co-op is a semester long placement where you work for one of more than 300 legal partners
  • Co-op is part of the curriculum, where you'll earn academic credit, satisfying some of your graduation requirements. 
  • Co-op students work a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 25 hours per week in the field on a regular co-op.
  • Students on a co-op intensive are required to work 35-40 hours per week.
  • You choose the areas you would like to focus on and we match you with one of over 100 partners.
  • Our faculty train co-op supervisors and monitor each student’s placement to ensure that the experience meaningful.
  • Students who perform especially well in their placements may be nominated by their supervisors to an Honors Job Network that will get their resumes seen by a variety of prospective employers.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is co-op available to all students at the law school?

Yes! Starting with the incoming Class of 2017, all students will be eligible to take part.

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?

Students identify the types of placements that interest them most, based on their individual goals, and then work with advisors at the law school who will match them with the supervisor and venue that offers the best fit. In some cases, interviews with supervisors are part of the matching process.

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 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.

Law school 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.

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.

Is Co-op a Job Placement Program?

No, the Co-op Program is designed to give students firsthand experience with the professional practice, enhancing their understanding of the law and the ways it plays out in the real world while enabling them to learn from accomplished attorneys and judges. However, some students do receive job offers as a result of their placements. And students who perform especially well in their placements may be nominated by their supervisors for the Co-op Honors Job Network, where their resumes will be shared with a variety of prospective employers.