Law Co-Op Program Requirements
Eligibility to Participate in Co-op
To apply for a co-op, students must be in good standing and:
- Successfully complete the first year curriculum.
- Satisfy any placement-specific requirements, such as specific coursework, a GPA requirement and/or experience in a particular industry.
- Submit to the co-op program director an application packet, which includes an application form, resume, transcript, writing sample and signed acknowledgement of Co-op Participation Guidelines.
- Participate in the law school’s matching process.
Co-op Participation Guidelines
The Thomas R. Kline School of Law (“Kline Law”) Co-op Program offers students substantial lawyering experiences that are reasonably similar to the experience of a lawyer advising or representing clients or engaging in other lawyering tasks, while working in the field under the supervision of a licensed attorney. The student’s field experience, coupled with the contemporaneous faculty guided seminar on campus, provides multiple opportunities for performance, feedback, and self-evaluation to help students make progress toward their individualized and programmatic learning goals.
Co-op placement is for the primary benefit of the student in that the placement provides the student experiential training as an extension of the education provided by the law school. The student receives a significant number of credits for the training received during the placement.
As a partner with the law school in the academic training of the student, co-op placements should assign students a variety of substantive legal work that helps the student build practical skills and form values. Further, co-op supervisors are expected to be closely involved in the supervision and training of the student by reviewing the student’s work and progress and providing meaningful feedback to the student on a regular basis.
In accordance with ABA Standard 304, Kline Law, Co-op Student (“Student”) and Co-op Field Supervisor (“Supervisor”) agree to the following responsibilities to ensure a quality legal education for students:
Responsibilities for All Participants
- All participants agree that Student will perform fieldwork in person at the placement site, or remotely, on a regular schedule designed to log the required fieldwork hours and permit Student to attend required classes and meet co-curricular obligations.
- All participants understand and agree that:
- Students are not permitted to receive pay for co-op work. This policy does not preclude students from receiving reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses such as transportation and parking costs.
- Students may be asked to record their time, but their time should not be billed to any clients of the placement.
- Students are not permitted to do a co-op with a for-profit organization where they are currently working or have previously worked as a legal intern, law clerk or similar position. In non-profit placement settings, a student is permitted to do a co-op where they have previously worked if the student and placement can demonstrate to the program director that the student will have a substantially significant new learning experience during the proposed co-op.
- Students are permitted to use their law school-issued passwords to conduct online research at their placements.
- Students may not participate in a co-op under the supervision of any immediate family members or for organizations owned or managed by any immediate family members.
Responsibilities for Supervisors
- In accordance with The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Supervisor will treat student information and application materials provided for placement purposes as private and confidential.
- Supervisor accepts primary responsibility for overseeing Student’s experience at the placement site throughout the semester and monitoring the progress of all of Student’s work including any work assigned by other attorneys.
- Supervisor will ensure that Student receives an orientation to the rules, policies, procedures, methods, and operations of the placement.
- Supervisor will meet with Student at the start of the semester to discuss his/her Learning Agenda, which identifies Student’s learning goals for the semester. Supervisor will suggest changes and revisions as necessary and provide opportunities for the student to achieve the identified goals.
- Supervisor agrees to assign a variety of legal tasks and provide exposure to a variety of issues regularly encountered at the placement in the context of actual cases and projects. Student ordinarily will not be assigned clerical, secretarial, or paralegal work (e.g., filing, copying, library updating) that is of little or no instructional value or is otherwise incommensurate with law school credit.
- Supervisor agrees to meet regularly with Student throughout the semester, to assign and review work, to provide opportunities for reflection on Student’s experience, and to provide meaningful feedback, including feedback from other attorneys who may have interacted with Student. In addition to these regular meetings, Supervisor will meet with Student and Student’s professor at the mid-point of the semester to discuss Student’s progress and set goals for the balance of the semester. Finally, Supervisor will provide a written final evaluation of Student at the end of semester.
Responsibilities of Student
- Student agrees to perform all assigned work in a competent and professional manner.
- Student agrees to set a regular work schedule with Supervisor and seek permission for any changes or modifications in the schedule.
- Student agrees to work a minimum number of hours as follows:
Student agrees to comply with applicable Rules of Professional Conduct and other rules, guidelines, or policies applicable to the placement, including protection of all confidential and privileged information of the placement office and its clients.
Student agrees not to work for (or do an internship with) another organization for the duration of the co-op without first clearing any potential conflicts with Supervisor and obtaining approval from the Co-op Program director.
Student agrees to take Lawyering Practice Seminar I or II, as applicable, and to satisfy all requirements set forth in the seminar syllabus.
- 298 hours for the regular co-op to earn seven (7) field credits during the fall or spring semesters
- 425 hours for co-op intensive to earn ten (10) field credits during the fall or spring semesters
- 255 hours for the academic year co-op to earn six (6) field credits per semester during the fall and spring semesters
- 298 hours for summer co-op to earn seven (7) field credits
Responsibilities of Kline Law
- Kline Law agrees to oversee the program to assure the educational quality of each student’s experience, to evaluate students’ academic performance, and to comply with ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools pertaining to experiential coursework and field placement programs.
- Kline Law agrees to provide to students a companion seminar or tutorial, taught by a faculty member who will ensure on-going, contemporaneous, guided reflection. Co-op faculty will regularly meet with students to assess progress toward educational goals, and will review and evaluate students’ time records, learning agendas, other written and oral assignments, and overall educational achievement.
- Kline Law agrees to provide Supervisor information, materials, periodic training, and regular contact to assist Supervisor in training and mentoring students.
- Kline Law agrees to administer a matching process for placement purposes that involves the following process:
Kline Law agrees to support students who wish to create their own co-op by providing program guidelines to, as well as implementing a process for review and approval of, prospective placements.
Kline Law agrees to assign faculty to be available to assist Students and Supervisors if questions or concerns arise during the co-op.
- Co-op applicants receive academic counseling from the director of the program and apply for co-op based on applicants’ academic goals and interests and qualifications.
- The program director proposes applicants for open positions based on factors such as applicants’ interests and goals and qualifications, placements’ requirements and pre-requisites and program policies and guidelines.
- The proposed student’s application material (consisting of the student’s resume, unofficial transcript, and writing sample) is forwarded to the designated placement representative for review.
- The placement may accept the proposed student based on the application material, and if requested, an interview.
- The proposed match is considered final when both the placement and student accept the placement.
Orientation for Co-op Supervisors
- Supervisors are invited to participate in an orientation.
- Attending the orientation, entitled “Mentoring the Young Professional” for CLE purposes, will allow supervisors to earn up to one (1) PA CLE credits.