Practicing as a Certified Legal Intern

Certified Practice as a Student
Externships that allow students to practice law (appear in court and deposition, sign pleadings, or give legal advice) require students to be Certified Legal Interns under the Student Practice Rule, Chapter 11, Rules of the Florida Bar. Certification is requested by the law school and granted by the Florida Supreme Court. Many externships do not require certification.

To be certified, a student must:

  • apply to The Florida Bar and receive a Notice of Registrant Clearance indicating that the student has passed the Bar’s character and fitness screening;*
  • be enrolled in a law school clinical program (an externship or clinic at the Public Interest Law Center);
  • have completed four semesters of legal studies for which he/she has received not less than 48 semester credits (a minimum of 6 credits is required during the summer term to count as a semester for this purpose);
  • be certified by the Dean as being of good character and competent legal ability and as being adequately trained to perform as a legal extern (the externship office or PILC will obtain this letter from the Dean on the student’s behalf);
  • certify in writing that he/she has read and is familiar with the Rules of Professional Conduct as adopted by the Florida Supreme Court and will abide by these provisions (a student certifies this by initialing on the externship or PILC application).

*It typically takes 4-6 months—sometimes longer—for the Florida Bar to issue notice. Students should apply by December of their first year of law school.

After-Graduation Certification
The Student Practice Rule provides that new graduates may be certified for law practice in a public interest or public agency setting before their admission into the Bar for up to one year after graduation from law school. This rule requires previous certification and successful completion of a clinical program during law school. Certification may help new graduates obtain employment. These students are attractive candidates to public sector employers because certified students can begin representing clients immediately upon hiring, before admission to the Bar.

To obtain After-Graduation certification, a student should submit a request to the FSU COL program that certified the student (externship office or PILC) by providing

1) a completed Student’s Request for Renewed Certification;

2) an offer letter on official letterhead from the office where the student will be employed verifying the date of hire and containing a request for renewal of certification.