Employment Law Semester in Washington, D. C.

There are few areas of law more relevant than the law governing the employment relationship. Laws regulating employment impact the lives of most people, and many of our social and economic policies are carried out through the employment relationship. The William C. Wefel Center for Employment Law at Saint Louis University School of Law provides students with the foundation necessary for the dynamic practice of employment law by offering an extensive curriculum with a broad range of courses addressing the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees. Recognizing the additional importance of learning outside the classroom though externships, the Center has established an Employment Law Semester in Washington D. C.

Federal administrative agencies, such as the Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the National Labor Relations Board, enforce laws and regulations affecting employers and employees. The Employment Law Semester in Washington D. C. Program provides students the opportunity to enhance their knowledge, understanding and experience by working almost full time as externs at employment law related federal agencies in Washington D.C. for an entire semester.

Students participating in the Program will be eligible to earn 12 to 14 credits through a combination of experiential and course work. They will work 30, 33, or 36 hours per week for a full semester at an assigned externship placement to earn 10, 11 or 12 credits, respectively. Each student also will enroll in a complementary 2-credit course offering instruction on law practice within an agency, addressing professional responsibility issues that arise in agency practice as well as advanced topics in administrative, labor and employment law.

Offered annually in the spring semester, the Program is available to students enrolled in the employment law concentration program. Each student is required to have successfully completed either Employment Law or Labor Law, as well as Administrative Law and Legal Profession prior to his or her semester in Washington D.C.

The Employment Law Semester in Washington D. C. Program relies on licensed practitioners employed at the federal agencies where students are placed to act as the supervising attorneys. The supervising attorney oversees the student’s work, assuring that it serves both the educational purpose of the placement and the needs of the agency. The supervising attorney also trains the student as needed, addresses issues of professional responsibility that might arise in the course of the student’s work, and communicates with the Center about the student’s performance. In addition to the placement supervising attorneys, the Program also relies on an adjunct professor based in Washington D.C. with suitable experience and teaching ability to lead the weekly two-credit companion course.

Finally, the Employment Law Semester in Washington D. C. Program provides another layer of professional and career support by matching each student in the Program with a D.C.-based mentor. Mentors are selected from SLU LAW alumni working in Washington D.C. The placement supervising attorneys and adjunct professor are not eligible to act as any student’s mentor. An attorney-mentor will be expected to meet with the assigned student face-to-face several times throughout the semester, to communicate regularly with the student, and to provide a means by which the student can contact the mentor directly and easily. The mentor provides an invaluable service to the Program by ensuring students are having a positive experience; by alerting the Center to challenges a student may be having; and by providing career and professional guidance to students as they work in a professional environment and near the completion of their formal legal training.

For more information about the Wefel Center for Employment Law and the Employment Law Semester in Washington D. C., contact Professor Marcia McCormick at mmccor20@slu.edu or (314)-977-4263.

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