TheABA Standardsset forth the requirements a law school must meet to obtain and retain ABA approval. The Office of the Managing Director has issued several Guidance Memos to provide "clarification or direction regarding a particular Standard, Interpretation, or reporting requirement." ABA Website
Significant revisions to the ABA Standards governing externships were put into place in August 2016. For a recording of a webinar outlining these changes presented by the CLEA and AALS Externship Committees, please click here: Webinar on Revisions to ABA Standards 304 and 305.
"Site visits required by the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools and the Rules of Procedure for the Approval of Law Schools are organized by the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. These visits may be comprehensive periodic site visits for fully approved law schools, which take place every tenth year; visits to provisionally approved schools, which usually take place each year; visits to schools seeking for provisional approval; and any special site visits that may be ordered by the Council in accordance with the Standards and Rules of Procedure." From ABA Website.
The upcoming schedule of ABA Site Visits can be found here. A list of future site visits can be found here.
The procedures for virtual site visits can be found here. In addition, the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar puts on site visit workshops, which are made available here. The current Site Evaluation Questionnaire - Site Report Template (SEQ-SRT form) can be accessed here.
In addition, please go here for additional CLEA Externship Committee guidance.
a. If a member school offers opportunities for students to obtain credit for educationally worthwhile experiences obtained in a legal office, including, but not limited to, clerkships with the judiciary, public policy institutes, legislative bodies, international organizations, or legal practice settings, the academic credit allowed must be commensurate with the time and effort expended and the educational benefits derived by the student.
b. In order to ensure the academic value of externship programs, a member law school with an externship program shall set out the goals and methods of the program and explain how the program’s structure is designed to achieve those goals. The faculty shall approve the introduction of any such program and remain responsible for ensuring that the program is meeting its objectives.
c. Member schools are encouraged to include an academic component designed to prepare students to participate effectively as externs and to enable students to derive substantial educational benefits from their externship. The academic component should be taught by one who has the necessary expertise and who is selected and reviewed in the same manner as persons responsible for teaching other courses in the academic program.
"This guide provides links to the Student Practice Rules adopted by both Federal and State courts which authorize eligible law students to practice law under the supervision of a practicing attorney. If a Student Practice Form is required and available, that is included also. All 50 states have such a rule. Some are codified in the state statutes, some are included in local court rules, and some are state bar rules. While we attempt to update the links on a regular basis, if a link is broken, it's often possible to locate the rule by the citation given." From the Introduction to the Student Practice Rules - Clinical Research Guide