Miami Law D.C. Semester in Practice Program

Students of the Miami Law D.C. Program Students of the Miami Law D.C. Program

The Miami Law D.C. Semester in Practice program is an externship program that provides students with an opportunity to learn multiple dimensions of lawyering through integration of real-world practice experience and academic inquiry.

WATCH: Information Session on the D.C. Semester in Practice Program.

Students complete their fieldwork at approved externship placements in Washington, D.C. in a diverse range of litigation, transactional and policy settings.

Under the supervision of a licensed attorney at the externship placement, students learn about a substantive area of law and develop skills required by lawyers such as interviewing, counseling, negotiation, legal analysis, problem-solving, and writing.

Hands-On Learning

Students have an opportunity to function “in-role” as an attorney with all of the corresponding professional and ethical demands. Students have the opportunity to work 255 hours to obtain 6 academic credits or 385 hours to obtain 9 academic credits, at their externship field placement during the semester. A specific work schedule is coordinated directly with a supervising attorney at the externship field placement.

In addition to classes, there are site visits as part of the required course work and can include visits to Capitol Hill and at the Supreme Court of the United States.


The classroom component of the course focuses on educational goals that capitalize on the fact that students are in a real-world practice setting and probes students to reflect upon what it means to be an effective lawyer in the particular practice setting and how to maximize the externship experience. Specifically, the classes offered further these goals:

Development of Professional Identity: Students explore and adjust to the many dimensions of their professional roles as lawyers. 
Training in Lawyering Skills: Students develop lawyering skills likely to be used during their externship. 
Analysis of Legal Systems and Institutions: Students gain insights into the functioning of the legal system and particular practice areas. 
Learning from Experience: Students learn how to engage in self-directed professional growth. Students also learn how to deal with issues that arise during the externship and how to get the most out of the externship experience.

Graykowski, Massey, Chiasson(L to R: Andrew Graykowski, J.D. '22, Theodore "Ted" Massey, J.D. '11, and 3L Jess Chiasson)
Graykowski and 3L Jess Chiasson’s externships in Washington, D.C. at the Department of Defense springboarded their career interests in legal defense. In 2022, they worked on cases under the supervision of Miami Law alumnus Ted Massey, as part of the Military Commissions Defense Organization working with Guantanamo detainees. Read Full Article: "Externship Programs Lead to Careers"


Sample Course Topics

Competence and Confidentiality for the Legal Extern – exploring legal ethics issues that may arise in a legal externship including: interacting with a supervisor and other colleagues, defining the practice of law, professional and personal use of social media and dealing with tensions between legal ethics and personal/professional values.

Relationship-Building in the D.C. Community and Maintaining Relationships - effective professional relationships are critical to successful law practice; students learn strategies to maintain relationships with supervisors, opposing counsel, administrative staff and other professionals.

Meaningful Networking - topics covered include: the importance of relationships over the course of one's legal career, establishing one's professional reputation, and maximizing and maintaining relationships developed during the externship.

Employer/Placement Requirements

  • The field placement must be an approved government agency, non-profit organization, or in-house counsel agency located in Washington D.C.
  • Agency must provide student with substantive legal experience where students will learn about the area(s) of law practiced at the field placement and provide opportunities to perform legal skills.
  • Student must be under the supervision of a licensed attorney at the agency who will provide feedback to the student about his/her/their work.
  • The agency supervisor must agree to adhere to the responsibilities and best practices set forth in the University of Miami’s Student-Agency Agreement.

Student Requirements

  • Miami Law student must be in good academic standing to participate in D.C. Semester in Practice.
  • Student must secure their own placement with any government, non-profit or in-house legal counsel agency.
  • Student must submit a fully executed Student-Agency Agreement by the start of the semester.
  • Student must complete at least 255 work hours by the end of the semester to receive 6 credits or 385 work hours by the end of the semester to receive 9 academic credits.
  • Student must submit a weekly timesheet on Blackboard.
  • Student must submit a Time Certification Form (signed by supervising attorney) at the end of the externship term.
  • In addition to field work, student must attend classes, participate in class discussion and complete any readings and course work assigned.

Jessie Tamayo

At Miami Law, Jessi Tamayo is Director of Externship Programs and a Lecturer in Law.

Prior to joining the University of Miami School of Law, Ms. Tamayo was the Associate Director of the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics and taught courses in Professional Responsibility at Fordham Law School in New York City. While at Fordham Law School, Ms. Tamayo administered colloquia, symposia, workshops and academic events in the area of legal ethics and public interest law for the Fordham University and New York City legal communities. In addition, Ms. Tamayo developed and presented continuing legal education ethics trainings to legal services organizations.

Prior to joining Fordham Law School, Ms. Tamayo was the assistant director of the Center for Ethics & Public Service at the University of Miami School of Law. There, Ms. Tamayo taught a legal ethics program providing continuing legal education trainings for the legal community in South Florida.

Ms. Tamayo is a native of Miami.

The program provides the support needed for a successful externship experience. For more information on the program contact:

Jessi Tamayo, Director of the Externship Program and Lecturer in Law:


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