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Extern Opportunities

Law Student Extern Application Information

Oregon Supreme Court
Oregon Court Of Appeals
Appellate Commissioner's Office


Mechele Surgeon
Phone:  503.986.5706

Oregon Supreme Court
1163 State Street
 Salem OR 97301

Application Deadlines

Term Applications Accepted Anticipated Interview Dates
Summer or Fall 2023
December 8 - February 7, 2023 at 5:00 pm

Virtual Information Session:  Externing at Oregon's Appellate Courts 

The Oregon Appellate Courts will be accepting applications between December 8 and February 7, 2023 for Summer and Fall externships with the courts.  Learn about externing with the courts at the NW Public Service Career Fair.  This is a virtual event being held on February 3, and February 4, 2023. Please note that this event is only open to students who attend a law school that is a member of the NW Constortium.   For more information about attending this fair, please visit


The Oregon Supreme Court is Oregon's court of last resort.  The court is composed of seven justices elected to serve six-year terms by nonpartisan, statewide ballot.  The court is primarily a court of discretionary review, although a significant percentage of its caseload involves cases on mandatory direct review or direct appeal from lower tribunals.  In addition to the justices, the court employs a number of judicial assistants, staff attorneys, law clerks, an Appellate Legal Counsel, and a management assistant.  The court also has a program for law students to assist in its work on a volunteer basis.

The Oregon Court of Appeals is Oregon's intermediate appellate court.  The court is currently composed of 13 judges elected to serve six-year terms by nonpartisan, statewide ballot.  The court has broad jurisdiction over appeals from the circuit courts in criminal and civil cases and judicial review proceedings from administrative tribunals.  In addition to the judges, the court employs a number of judicial assistants, staff attorneys, and law clerks, as well as an executive manager and technical support staff.  The court also has a program for law students to assist in its work on a volunteer basis.
The Office of the Appellate Commissioner is a part of the Oregon Court of Appeals. It is responsible for deciding in the first instance most substantive motions filed in the Court of Appeals, such as motions to dismiss for want of jurisdiction, motions to dismiss as moot, motions to determine appealability, and motions for stays.  In addition to the Appellate Commissioner, the Office employs a paralegal and a law clerk.


Externs must have completed their first year of law school before the beginning of their externship.  Successful externs demonstrate an eagerness to learn, strong time management skills, and the ability to collaborate on projects. 

Conduct Expectations:

Externs are expected to abide by the highest standards of professional conduct and ethics.  To avoid conflicts of interest, externs are not permitted to perform outside legal work (either paid or unpaid and including work at a law school clinic) during their externship.  Research for a law professor is not considered to be outside legal work.

For questions concerning the externship program or your submission, please contact Mechele Surgeon at 503.986.5706 or​ (Supreme Court).

By Mail or Hand Delivery

Mechele Surgeon
Oregon Supreme Court
1163 State Street
Salem, OR 97301

By Email (a single PDF attachment)

The Judicial Department is not responsible for application material that is illegible or missing, including loss through the mail.​

Applicants should submit:  1) a cover letter specifying which term or terms they wish to apply for; 2) a resume; 3) copies of law school and college transcripts (original transcripts are not required); 4) a list of at least three references; and 5) a writing sample of no more than five pages. Only one set of application materials should be submitted. 

Anticipated Interview Dates: TBD.

Externs for the Oregon Supreme Court work either for individual justices or for the court as a whole.  Primarily, externs write petition memoranda that analyze and recommend dispositions on petitions for review of decisions from the Court of Appeals.  Duties also may include research, writing, and organizing and summarizing factual and legal information for individual justices or for the court's legal staff.  Externs have the opportunity to attend oral arguments. Other duties occasionally are assigned. 

Externs for the Oregon Court of Appeals work directly for one of the judges.  Externs may perform some or all of the following work:  research issues in a case that has been assigned to the supervising judge; compile and discuss such research with the judge or the judge's law clerks; prepare research memoranda for the judge or law clerks; read and summarize parts of the record in a case; prepare a draft of an opinion or section of an opinion; assist the judge to prepare for oral argument by reading briefs and writing summaries ("bench memos") or researching selected issues before argument.  Externs have the opportunity to attend oral argument, as well as pre-argument and post-argument conferences.

Externs for the Office of the Appellate Commissioner work with the Appellate Commissioner.  Externs are expected to review and analyze substantive motions filed in the Court of Appeals, review files, conduct legal research as necessary to resolve motions, and prepare memoranda containing their analysis and recommended disposition.  Externs also have the opportunity to meet monthly with the Court of Appeals' Motions Department and are expected to be able to explain and defend their recommended disposition of motions referred to that department.  Externs also may have the opportunity to assist in drafting opinions related to certain motions; other duties occasionally are assigned.

The appellate courts provide an orientation for externs, together with written orientation materials.  The externships are unpaid, volunteer positions.  Externs may make arrangements with their law schools to receive law school credit for the externship (the availability of school credit depends on the law school).
The Oregon Judicial Department is committed to equal opportunity and diversity.