RALEIGH — Campbell Law School’s Externship Program is growing in influence as well as scope.
Program Director Niya Fonville‘s mission is to foster a commitment to service within students no matter where their legal journey takes them. “This is a responsibility I do not take lightly, recognizing that we can accomplish more together than separate,” she explained.
To that end, in September 2021, Campbell Law Externships and the N.C. Equal Access to Justice Commission joined together to host a statewide working session among experiential learning programs’ faculty to understand how the 2020 Legal Needs Assessment affects their work and their students’ futures. After a presentation by N.C. Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls, representatives from four of the state’s law schools brainstormed ways to integrate the findings into their work.
“I also took this concept of instilling the importance of service a step further by partnering with the N.C. Pro Bono Resource Center’s Driver’s License Restoration Project to host a mini clinic for my class,” she explained. “As a result, the Fall externship class was able to serve 60 North Carolinians during a single one-hour class session.”
Under Fonville’s leadership, Campbell Law’s Externship Program has continued to grow steadily, while providing students with meaningful opportunities to gain practical experience.
During the 2021-2022 academic (including Summer ’21, Fall ’21, and Spring ’22), 119 students completed an externship, resulting in 20,833.95 hours of legal services provided — an average of 175 hours per student, Fonville reported.
“At the end of the academic year, third-year law student Lauren Cook, who completed two externships while at the law school, was recognized as the law school’s Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) Outstanding Extern Student of the Year, a national recognition in its second year.
In addition to providing support to students, Fonville also serves as a resource to supervisors. Each semester, she held a 1-on-1 conference with supervisors to discuss their needs, in addition to the extern’s performance. In April 2022, she also hosted the program’s second annual ethics CLE for supervisors, “A Human-First Approach to Supervision: Overcoming Bias, Increasing Equity & Inclusion.”
“This program focused on how our field placement partners can approach every aspect of supervision (onboarding, project assignment, feedback, office integration, etc.) from an equity lens,” she explained. “The CLE was well-attended, and participants provided positive feedback.”
Finally, Fonville also recruited more than 10 new field placement sites to join the law school’s recurring externship program, meaning the sites have agreed to accept applications from our students on a recurring basis.
A sample of these employers include:
- NCSU Office of Institutional Equity & Diversity
- Teledoc Health, Inc.
- The Law Offices of Neubia L. Harris
- Brighthouse Financial
- The Durham Housing Authority
- United States District Court-Middle District of North Carolina (Federal Magistrate Joe Webster)
- Zensar Technologies, Inc
- N.C. Community Colleges
- Campbell University Office of General Counsel
“We are excited to witness the continued growth of the program and explore ways to enhance our services to students and field placements,” Fonville said.
If you are interested in joining the program, please reach out to Fonville at firstname.lastname@example.org.