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How Does Co-op Work?

Still wondering what the co-op program is all about?  Here are some quick facts to get with the program:

  • Co-op is a semester long placement where you work for one of more than 300 legal partners
  • Co-op is part of the curriculum, where you'll earn academic credit, satisfying some of your graduation requirements. 
  • Co-op students work a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 25 hours per week in the field on a regular co-op.
  • Students on a co-op intensive are required to work 35-40 hours per week.
  • You choose the areas you would like to focus on and we match you with one of over 100 partners.
  • Our faculty train co-op supervisors and monitor each student’s placement to ensure that the experience meaningful.
  • Students who perform especially well in their placements may be nominated by their supervisors to an Honors Job Network that will get their resumes seen by a variety of prospective employers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is co-op available to all students at the law school?

Yes! Starting with the incoming Class of 2017, (Class of 2016 for students in the 2-year JD Program), all students will be eligible for co-op.

Is there a minimum GPA requirement for participation in a co-op?

Beginning with the Class of 2017(Class of 2016 for students in the 2 year JD Program), the law school does not have a minimum GPA requirement for co-op. However, some of our co-op partners have minimum GPA requirements that we honor in the matching process. If a co-op partner has a minimum GPA requirement, students must satisfy the requirement to be considered for that partner’s co-op position.  Placement specific prerequisites contained in the master binder of co-op partners are posted on the TWEN site used to administer the matching process each semester.

What types of co-ops are available to students?

We offer three types of co-ops: Regular Co-op, Co-op Intensive and Academic Year Co-op. In the regular co-op, students work 20-25 hours a week for the 15 week semester and earn 7 field credits. In the co-op intensive, students work 35-40 hours a week and earn 10 field credits. In the academic year co-op, students work 20 hours a week for the entire academic year (a total of 30 weeks) and earn 12 field credits. In all versions, students also take the accompanying  seminar for an additional 2-3 credits.

Can I choose my own co-op placement?

At time of application, students are permitted to preference co-op positions that interest them. In general, students are ‘matched’ to open positions through a process that takes into account a student’s qualifications and academic goals as well as the placement’s prerequisites.  Although a student’s preference is one of the factors considered in the matching process, we cannot guarantee that a student will be matched to a specific preferenced placement.

Can I create my own co-op placement?

Yes, with prior review and approval of the co-op program director, who screens all co-op placements. Because co-op is part of the law school’s academic program for which students earn a significant number of credits, we secure from each placement specific commitments to the law school and to students. By vetting the placements carefully and ensuring a diversity of placement settings, we are able to offer you high quality, successful learning experiences.

How are students placed in co-ops?

Students are assigned to co-op placements through a matching process that takes into account the student’s academic goals and interests and the placement’s requirements and preferences. Students apply for co-op a semester in advance on a TWEN course page dedicated to administer the matching process. The co-op application packet consists of the student’s resume, transcript, and writing sample as well as various program-related forms. The co-op program director reviews all applications, meets with each applicant to provide academic counseling and matches applicants to open co-op positions. Some placements request an interview, and in that event, the student is asked to attend an interview before the match is confirmed. The placement has the final say on proposed matches. In instances when a placement does not accept a proposed match, the program director will work with the student until an appropriate placement is identified and confirmed for the student.

What’s my course schedule when I am on co-op?

Because the regular co-op is not full-time, and you will be working only 20-25 hours per week, you will need to take at least one course (or up to 6 credits) in addition to co-op and the accompanying seminar. The law school tries to offer core courses at times during the week that accommodates students’ co-op work schedule, such as early morning and late afternoon/evening times. The live co-op class, called Lawyering Practice Seminar, meets for 2 hours each week. This seminar is also offered in an asynchronous on line format.

What’s the difference between the School of Law Co-op Program and the Drexel Undergraduate Co-op Program?

There are two main differences. First, the undergraduate program involves internships for pay, making the relationships created in that program essentially employer/employee relationships. Second, the undergraduate co-ops are full-time. When undergrad students are on co-op, they are working full-time and are not required to take courses or be on campus.

Law school co-op placements are primarily academic in nature; the relationship is not one of employer/employee. This is because the American Bar Association’s standards for accreditation DO NOT PERMIT law students to be paid for co-op work and earn academic credit at the same time. Had we designed the co-op placements as paid internships rather than a part of the academic program, students would have been required to attend school year-round for three full years in order to obtain the necessary credits for graduation.

Instead, the co-op experience is integrated into the academic program; as a result, you earn a significant number of academic credits while in the program. In the standard co-op, you earn 7 credits per semester for the field work performed in the placement setting and 2 credits per semester for the classroom component of the program, known as “Lawyering Practice Seminar.” In the co-op intensive, you will earn 10 field credits. Additionally, our experienced co-op faculty closely supervises you throughout the entire semester and maintains a close connection with your placement supervisor as well.

When should I do a co-op if I am completing a concentration?

Students completing a  concentration may be required to complete a concentration-related co-op in their third year. Please visit the individual concentration pages or contact the appropriate concentration director for more details.

Can students do a co-op over the summer?

Yes, we offer a ten-week full-time co-op cycle in the summer.  You receive a total of 9 credits for summer co-op, 7 for the field and 2 for the accompanying seminar. Please note that summer tuition is applicable.

Is Co-op a Job Placement Program?

No, the Co-op Program is designed to give students firsthand experience with the professional practice, enhancing their understanding of the law and the ways it plays out in the real world while enabling them to learn from accomplished attorneys and judges. However, some students do receive job offers as a result of their placements. And students who perform especially well in their placements may be nominated by their supervisors for the Co-op Honors Job Network, where their resumes will be shared with a variety of prospective employers.

Can I turn my current or previous internship or law clerk postition into a co-op?

Students are not permitted to do a co-op with a for-profit organization where they are currently working or have previously worked as a legal intern, law clerk or similar position. In not-for-profit placements, students may seek approval from the program director, who will set appropriate criteria.

Can I do more than one co-op?

Most students complete one co-op. By special application, though, students may apply for a second co-op. Second co-ops are capped at 20 per semester and a variety of factors are considered in approving a second co-op. These factors include the type of co-op previously completed by applicant, the reason the applicant is seeking a second co-op, the availability of faculty to provide adequate supervision of second co-op, capacity within Lawyering Practice Seminar II, whether the applicant is on target with all graduation requirements, and the courses completed and grades achieved by applicant.

If I love my co-op, can I stay on and do another co-op at the same placement?

Students are not permitted to do a second co-op at the same placement, but the Advanced Co-op option is an option for students who wish to stay on at their current placement. In Advanced Co-op, with the permission and sign off from their current field supervisor, students stay on for an extra semester to complete a special, identified project.  In this option, students work 10-15 hours a week and earn 2 credits. Students wishing to do an Advanced Co-op should seek approval from their Lawyering Practice Seminar professor.