The Massachusetts State House
Boston, 1787

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)

Senate Counsel’s Office

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.

The Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities develops policy and bills on  all matters concerning child welfare, juvenile justice, public welfare, and children and adults with physical, developmental or intellectual disabilities. The Committee also oversees the Departments of Children and Families, Developmental Services, Transitional Assistance and Youth Services; the Massachusetts Commissions for the Blind, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.

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 Education

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 Housing

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 Revenue

Joint Committee on Rules

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