The Legislative Externship Program (JD 937 & JD 938) offers students the opportunity to work in a Massachusetts Legislative office, often with a key Committee. By becoming part of a legislator’s staff, students will have the opportunity to participate in the policy making process and develop a variety of legal skills integral to the legislative process. Bi-weekly classes will cover the students’ experiences and the theoretical and practical aspects of law making in state legislatures and Congress.
Students also have the chance to develop knowledge about policy development in a substantive area of law ranging from health law to tax law.
Credits: Students earn one graded credit for their classwork, plus a range of ungraded credits depending on the number of hours worked in their placement:
3 credits = 150 hours total (avg. 12 hrs/wk)
4 credits = 200 hours total (avg. 16 hrs/wk)
5 credits = 250 hours total (avg. 20 hrs/wk)
6 credits = 300 hours total (avg. 24 hrs/wk)
7 credits = 350 hours total (avg. 28 hrs/wk)
8 credits = 400 hours total (avg. 32 hrs/wk)
9 credits = 450 hours total (avg. 36 hrs/wk)
Class Time: Spring Semester, alternate Wednesdays from 4:20 pm-6:20 pm.
How To Apply
Please fill out the Spring Externship Application
For More Information
Please contact Prof. Sean J. Kealy
Current Open Placements
(Depending on the pandemic situation, externships may be remote)
The Office of Senate Counsel in the Massachusetts State House is responsible for a variety of legislative and legal matters for the Senate and individual Senators, serving as the chamber’s in-house counsel. The office’s most crucial responsibility is “third reading” every bill and amendment considered by the Senate to ensure that it is constitutional, properly drafted and effectuates its intent. Other duties of the office include offering legal advice on pending legislation, providing guidance on ethics and employment matters and reviewing contracts.
Legal interns with the office will work on a wide variety of legislative and legal matters, with a primary focus on analyzing legislation and researching issues of federal and state constitutional and statutory law. In the past, legal interns have assisted the office with issues in areas including health care, criminal justice reform, transportation, gaming and energy. Interns may also be asked to remotely attend Senate debate, committee hearings and other events, briefings and presentations of interest to the office.
The Judiciary Committee is one of the busiest committees in the legislature and considers all bills on creating or amending crimes and sentencing policy, the gathering and use of criminal offender record information, the structure of the state judiciary, the recall of judges, the salaries of court personnel, matters related to the probation system, issues regarding juries, the parole system, and the corrections system including state run prisons and the houses of correction administered by county sheriffs.
Senate Majority Leader Cynthia Creem
Senator Creem has represented Newton, Brookline and Wellesley in the Senate since 1999. She is a “Double Terrier” having graduating from BU and BU School of Law. As the majority leader, she assists Senate President Karen Spilka in administrating the Senate and promoting the Democratic Caucus’ legislative priorities.
Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change
The Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change is tasked with investigating global warming and climate change, including: carbon emissions, greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energies. The committee explores viable solutions and other innovations that stimulate our economy, promote jobs, and protect our security and environment.
Joint Committee on Health Care Financing (House Staff)
The committee on Health Care Financing develops policy on all matters concerning the direct funding of health care programs and any other Medicaid or public health assistance matters, fiscal matters relating to health care policy, Medicaid, MassHealth, and the Uncompensated Care Pool.
Other Possibile Placements
The Massachusetts Legislature has a committee on almost every subject, each considering the policy and drafting the legislation that will shape the law for years to come. Professor Kealy will help you secure an externship or discuss possible placements. Browse the membership, bills and hearings for Committees with these links:
Joint Committee on Advanced Information Technology, the Internet and Cybersecurity
Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets
Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy
Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities
Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses
Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure
Joint Committee on Covid-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management
Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies
Joint Committee on Elder Affairs
Joint Committee on Election Laws
Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture
Joint Committee on Export Development
Joint Committee on Financial Services
Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
Joint Committee on Higher Education
Joint Committee on the Judiciary
Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development
Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery
Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government
Joint Committee on Public Health
Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security
Joint Committee on Public Service
Joint Committee on Racial Equity, Civil Rights, and Inclusion
Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight
Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy
Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development
Joint Committee on Transportation
Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs
Joint Committee on Ways and Means
Senate Committee on Post Audit and Oversight
House Committee on Post Audit and Oversight
Senate Committee on Reimagining Massachusetts Post-Pandemic Resiliency
Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change
House Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change