Ali Silva Headshot

Navigating the Business Law Curriculum: In-House Externship Program

March 16, 2023

The Richmond Law & Business Forum is highlighting course offerings related to business law.  In this post, Professor Ali Silva discusses the in-house externship program, as well as other business-related externships.

Q: What is the in-house counsel externship program?

A: The Externship Program’s in-house track is an opportunity to learn from practice inside national and global corporations (as well as general counsel offices in higher education and the Federal Reserve Bank).  Students spend 16-24 hours a week working for these placements under the supervision of experienced field instructors.  Students design a work plan with their own goals/objectives in coordination with their field supervisor, and the assigned Adjunct Professor, Jay Oakey of TowneBank.  Jay has decades of experience as corporate counsel, tailors his class sessions to issues relevant to corporate counsel, and invites excellent guest speakers from the area.  Students submit bi-weekly reflective journals and meet with Jay individually to ensure they are getting the most out of the opportunity, that they are working through challenges, and to assist them with their professional development.   

The in-house externship program is only offered during the spring semester. 

Q: What companies are participating in the program next year?

A: The companies include Apex Systems LLC, Capital One, Dominion, Hamilton Beach Brands, Markel, Owens & Minor, and Planned Systems International. The Federal Reserve Bank and several departments in higher education (UR General Counsel, UR Athletic Compliance, UR Financial Aid & VCU Counsel) are also participating.

Q: What type of work do students do in the externship program?

A: It depends on the placement and the students' interest, but often includes legal research/writing, business meetings, drafting agreements, and intersecting with outside counsel. Credits range from 5-7 credits based on the hours committed to the placement, i.e. 16-24hrs/week.

Q: How do students apply for this program?

A: The application process opens mid-October. The process is as follows:

  • Complete the general application;
  • Complete the Externship specific application;
  • Interview with the Director;
  • Placement offers made early November.

Q: Are there other externship opportunities throughout the year available for students interested in business law?

A: Yes!  The AG's office has several divisions which focus on business regulation, as do the State Corporation Commission and local government attorney offices. Students may also work with counsel for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.