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Externship Opportunities

Program Description

Whittier Law School has developed cooperative relationships with several well-respected law firms in China. Through these relationships we have arranged for a limited number of students in the China Study Abroad Program to engage in valuable externships and earn academic credit for their work. The externship opportunities are in addition to the China Study Abroad courses and require students to travel to China and reside there for 5 weeks prior to the start of the China Study Abroad Program courses. ABA Standards and Whittier policies prohibit the award of academic credit for compensated work; therefore the award of academic credit is the sole compensation for the externships. Because students are receiving academic credit, financial aid is available for the externship placements.

The Law Firms

The externship placements are all Chinese law firms that have an international practice or the general counsel’s office of international companies. The placements are located in the Beijing and Shanghai. Although the practice of law is limited to Chinese nationals, many Chinese law firms employ foreign lawyers as consultants and liaisons. The firms and companies where students are placed all have lawyers who speak English, many of whom were educated in the United States. There is no requirement that a student speak, read, or write Mandarin for any of the placements. However, students who possess this language ability may be given more complex tasks while at the placement. Most of the placements are with law firms who specialize in intellectual property and international business. Whittier will make every attempt to place students with placements whose focus most aligns with the student’s interest; however, we cannot make any guarantees regarding the placement or location.


In order to be considered for an externship placement, students must be in good standing with their home institution. Visiting students will be required to submit a letter in good standing along with their application. In addition, students must register for the full 8-week China Study Abroad program. There may be limited exceptions to this requirement for students who have (1) previously taken part in the China Study Abroad program and (2) have completed an initial externship (either domestic or foreign).

Academic Credit

Under most circumstances, students may earn up to three (3) units of academic credit for the work performed at their externship placement. Students for whom this is the first externship placement may enroll in the Initial International Externship (LAW 963) for up to three (3) units. Students who have previously completed an externship or clinical experience for academic credit may enroll in the Advanced International Externship (LAW 991) for up to three (3) units. Each unit of externship (LAW 963 or 991) requires that the student complete 56 hours of work at the placement.

Faculty and attorney supervision will be individualized and integrated with regularly held meetings with the Program Director to the maximum extent possible to ensure that the academic credit allowed is commensurate with the educational benefit to the participating student. All Externships are graded on a pass/fail basis.

Cost of the Externship

The tuition for the 8-week China Study Abroad Program (for a total of up to 7 units of academic credit) is $8250. Each student must pay for their own housing, meals, transportation, and personal living expenses during the externship and study abroad program. Financial aid is available for students who qualify.

To find out more or to apply for these externships in China, please contact:

Professor Jennifer Mertus
Director, China Study Abroad Program
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
714-444-4141 ×243

"I can honestly say that going to China was not only the best trip I ever took but it is also the best decision I’ve made since coming to Whittier Law School."

— James Drake, 3L, SBA President (attended after 2L year)

WLS Study Abroad Program - China
WLS Study Abroad Program - China
WLS Study Abroad Program - China
WLS Study Abroad Program - China