Experiential learning encompasses coursework and extracurricular opportunities that allow students to work hands-on to develop and hone their legal and professional skills. The faculty has developed a set of learning outcomes to serve as a guide for students to think about how they want to develop in their time at Cornell Law, and experiential training offers an intensive mode for skills development.

Following American Bar Association Standard 303, all Cornell law students must complete one or more experiential courses totaling at least six credit hours. Participating in an externship is one avenue to fulfill this requirement.

While Cornell Law School’s pro bono program is voluntary, student participation is encouraged as part of the commitment to the legal profession as set forth in ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct 6.1. Furthermore, student time spent on pro bono activities during law school can count toward the NY State Bar admission pro bono requirement.  

Eighty-five percent of Cornell law students spend their 1L summers in public interest legal internships. The Office of Public Service has longstanding relationships with public interest employers and Cornell Law Alumni working in the public sector. The internship opportunities available to Cornell Law Students include judicial chambers, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, public policy organizations and public-interest law firms around the world. The Cornell Law School Summer Grant Program provides funding to all 1L and 2L Cornell Law Students who obtain unpaid summer positions with public interest organizations or government agencies. Each year approximately 100 grants are awarded.