The Catholic University of America

LPP Frequently Asked Questions



(1) What is LPP?
The Law and Public Policy Program is an academic certificate program for students interested in careers in public policy in government, public interest law, politics, advocacy, policy development, or in law firms.  The program offers specialized courses, opportunities for interdisciplinary study, academic counseling, and co-curricular activities designed to expose students to the lawmaking process and offer training in the skills important to lawyers who participate in the development of law and public policy in legislative, administrative, and judicial forums.
(2) Other than a line on my résumé, what’s the benefit of the LPP Certificate?
Significance of the LPP Certificate       
The Certificate in Law and Public Policy reflects that the recipient graduated from law school familiar with policy research and with actual experience in the implementation of policy through legislative, regulating, and advocacy practices. The Certificate offers potential employers assurance that the holder is ready to practice as a valuable team member who already has many of the skills essential for lawyers working in the policy arena.
Network of LPP Alumni
Many LPP alums working in a diverse range of fields are willing to provide advice and guidance to current LPP students interested in pursuing careers similar to their own. LPP alumni regularly look for current or recently graduated LPPers as externs and new hires to fill open positions at their place of employment.
Publishing Opportunity
As part of the Public Policy Practicum, LPP students are required to do extensive research and write a paper on a public policy issue of importance to them. This provides an excellent opportunity for highly motivated students to get a paper published before graduating from law school. 
Benefit of Forum Programs
LPP forum programs ensure that LPP students graduate with basic knowledge of a diverse range of topics so that they can engage effectively in public policy debates. Forum programs also offer students opportunities to meet and network with practitioners in many different kinds of work related to public policy.
(3) I have a strong interest in criminal law and no experience in policy, but I am curious about LPP. Will the program be a valuable experience for me?
Many LPP students specialize in criminal law. Both prosecutorial and defense work involve important questions of public policy, such as whether and how prosecutorial discretion should be exercised in particular categories of cases, how the criminal justice system should apply to juvenile offenders, and whether three-strikes laws are either just or effective.
(4) How can I find out more about the LPP program?
(a) Check out LPP’s website at
(b) Meet with and/or email an LPP Student Coordinator
3L Student Coordinator: Victoria Hernandez,
(5) If I didn’t apply to the LPP program when I applied to law school, can I still get into the program?
Students are encouraged to apply for admission to the LPP program at the same time they apply to the law school, but may also apply for admission to the program in the fall semester of their first year, although admission to the program at that time is limited to the spaces available. 
(6) Can I apply as a second year day or third year evening student?
Yes, a second year day and third year evening students may be admitted if space is available.  Make sure to talk with the Director of Institutes and Special Programs, Constantia Dedoulis, and get your application in before the fall semester of your 2D/3E year.
(7) Can I be a member of more than one institute or program?
Yes, with permission from the director of each institute and/or program.
About LPP Certificate Requirements
In addition to the Q and A’s below, see the LPP Certificate Requirements Checklists for information about LPP Certificate requirements:
(11)      Will the LPP program keep me from taking some of the classes I want to take?
No. Although students are required to take certain courses in order to earn a Certificate in Law and Public Policy, they are otherwise free to take the electives of their choice. Of course, like any other course, LPP classes may conflict with other scheduled courses.
About Externships/Clinics
In addition to the Q & A’s below, see the following for information about externships and clinics:
The LPP Guide to Externships and Clinics
Professor Lisa Martin, Coordinator of Clinical Programs?
Phone: (202) 319-6296

Office of Career and Professional Development
Room 163
Phone: (202) 319-5132

(13)       Will LPP help me find an externship?
LPP students are responsible for searching for, applying to, and obtaining their own externships. However, LPP faculty and staff provide guidance regarding the types of externships that will further the specific goals of each student. Students should begin by researching potential placements of interest to them and consulting the LPP Guide to Externships and Clinics (a link to the guide is provided above). Then, for additional information or advice regarding placement selection, contact Professor Lisa Martin, Coordinator of Clinical Programs, at

LPP students interested in participating in a clinic should consult the law school’s website,, for information.

(14)       When do I need to apply for an externship?
Generally, students search for fall semester externships the summer before they wish to begin the externship and search for spring semester externships during the fall semester before they wish to begin the externship. Because LPP students ordinarily must have externships during the fall semesters of their second and third years, they normally search for fall externships during the summer before the fall semester that they need the externship. 
However, please note that certain externships, such as those with the government, have particularly early deadlines due to the extensive background checks and/or security clearances required for those positions. Therefore, as soon as you know you are interested in a specific externship, contact the Office of Career and Professional Development to get information about application deadlines.
Please see the LPP Guide to Externships and Clinics for information about applying to clinics.
(15)       How do I find an externship?
OCPD’s online database of current listings for externships and jobs
CUA’s searchable online database of externship placements
Lists recent externships of LPP students
Office of Career and Professional Development
Room 163
Phone: (202) 319-5132
Externship Fairs

The law school hosts an externship fair each semester at which numerous organizations recruit law student externs. These fairs are usually held in November and March (most recent was held on February 28th) and are open to all law students, including first year students.
(16)       Are LPP students required to have certain types of externships?
LPP students generally should seek externships related to law and public policy. However, students may also participate in other externships if they have opportunities to consider the effect of public policy on particular aspects of their externships for purposes of completing class (BAPPL for 2Ls or the Public Policy Practicum for 3Ls) requirements. For example, a student in a judicial externship may encounter issues related to the ways in which sentencing guidelines affect the decision-making of various actors, such as prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges.
(17)       Are LPP evening students required to complete two externships?
Some flexibility is permitted for the completion of externship requirements for evening students. Evening students having scheduling difficulties should discuss alternatives with Professor Colinvaux. 
(18)       Can I register for an externship before finding a placement?
Yes. You may register for your externship (either “Legal Externship” for the 2L fall semester or “Legal Externship: Supervised Fieldwork” for the 3L fall semester) before you have secured an externship. Most students find placements before the beginning of the semester in which they will complete the externships, but some students find placements during the first two weeks of the semester. If you do not have a placement when the semester begins, you should treat your search as a top priority. Consult with your BAPPL or Public Policy Practicum instructor(s) and/or see Professor Martin ( for assistance. 
(19)       I have been offered a placement, is there anything I have to do before I can accept it?
Yes. You must get the placement approved before you can accept it. As soon as you have been offered a placement, you should fill out the online placement approval form to request approval from the Coordinator of Clinical Programs. The form can be found at You will need your CUA username and password to log in. If you do not know your CUA username or password, please contact
(20)       Can I participate in a clinic instead of an externship?
Yes. Clinics can be taken instead of one of the two required externships. As with externships, a clinic experience fulfills one of the two LPP experiential learning requirements. 
(21)       How and when do I turn in my externship hours?
All student externs must register for the TWEN site entitled “Legal Externships” and submit time logs to the “Time Log Submission Box” on the site every two weeks. Students signed up for the Legal Externship TWEN site are usually emailed reminders when externship time logs are due.
(22)       What must be included in my externship time log?
Each time log should list all of the following:
(a) Dates and hours worked,
(b) Tasks accomplished during those hours,
(c) The total number of hours logged during that period,
Note: Students may “count” hours spent doing research or other work for the placement at the library or elsewhere. Students may not “count” hours spent traveling to and from the placement, or hours spent at the placement doing schoolwork, socializing, etc. Because the law school is awarding academic credit based on the hours worked, students must be careful in recording hours. 
(d) A running total number of hours for the semester, and
(e) A description of the work completed (without disclosing confidential information)
(23)       Is there anything I have to do at the end of my externship?
Yes. At the end of each externship semester, student externs must do all of the following:
(a) Fill out the online placement evaluation form, which can be found at
(b) Make sure your externship supervisor has submitted a letter describing your performance to:
Professor Lisa Martin
Coordinator of Clinical Programs
Columbus School of Law
Catholic University of America
Washington, D.C. 20064
(c) Make sure you have completed the required hours and submitted time logs for those hours
(d) Make sure you have completed all work assigned for the externship
(24)       What is the difference between an externship and an internship?
There is no difference. “Externship” is generally used to refer to placements outside (external) of the law school in which students are supervised by lawyers who are not faculty members.