Florida District Courts of Appeal

Credit: 6 credits

District Courts of Appeal are located in Tallahassee, Lakeland, Tampa, Miami, West Palm Beach and Daytona Beach. Students generally are assigned to work in a clerkship capacity with one of the judges. At the First DCA (in Tallahassee), students also may be assigned to the Workers Compensation Unit or the Central Legal Staff. Duties include reviewing the briefs and the record below, conducting legal research, writing case summaries and drafting opinions. Students critically observe oral arguments, which take place only during morning hours.

Prerequisites: Students are eligible for this externship beginning the summer term following their second year. Students must have successfully completed Evidence. Students are not certified pursuant to the Student Practice Rule.

Recommended Courses: Florida Appellate Practice, Florida Criminal Practice, Florida Administrative Practice, State Constitutional Law, Workers Compensation (for the WC Unit).

Selection Process: Students applying to the First DCA (in Tallahassee) should submit an application to the Florida State University College of Law externship program. The selection of the extern is handled jointly by the faculty supervisor and participating judges. Selection is based on a student applicant's grades, career goals and demonstrated ability in research and writing. Students generally are in the top third of their class. The Court makes the final decision whether to accept a student, and the Court decides where to place students who have been accepted.

Students applying to the Second, Third, Fourth or Fifth DCA should apply directly to the judge with whom the student is seeking to extern by sending a cover letter, resume, writing sample (10 pages or less) and transcript. Students should meet with Professor Gertz before sending the application to the judge. A sample cover letter and a list of judges who would like externs are available from Professor Gertz. Judges usually have established deadlines for externship applications, generally at least six months before the start date. Most judges accept students every semester, but a few accept students only in the summer. Selection is done by the judge. In addition to applying directly to the judge, students must separately apply to the Florida State Law externship program by the announced deadline. Students who enroll in this externship attend the Judicial Externship Seminar the semester before or after the externship.

Objectives and Methods