How The Government Shutdown Is Affecting Law Schools

President Donald Trump

How The Government Shutdown Is Affecting Law Schools

The recent government shutdown has now taken the number one spot as the longest shutdown in US history.

And law school experts say they’re concerned about how that may be discouraging law students from pursuing public service jobs.

“These shutdowns not just only undermine the public confidence but I also think it derails bright young law students from entering government service,” Rachel Pauley, who oversees D.C. externships for Columbia Law School, tells

The Shutdown’s Effect On Federal Agency Externships

Hundreds of law students across the country planned to start their externships at federal agencies this semester. Due to the shutdown, however, that’s not happening any time soon.

Melinda Saran, vice dean for social justice initiatives at the University at Buffalo School of Law, tells that the shutdown has affected one student who had an externship planned at the US Attorney’s Office.

Even if the government does open, however, the student would still need to have paperwork cleared for security—something that hasn’t been done due to the shutdown.

“Just like the rest of the country, the shutdown has caused confusion, anxiety, and a lot of disappointment,” Jessica Tillipman, assistant dean for field placement at George Washington University Law School, tells “The students have been planning for a semester to extern for credit. These are huge components on their resumes. To not know when they are going to start is concerning.”

At GW Law, Tillipman says roughly 50 to 60 law students are being affected by the shutdown.

At Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, students are facing similar uncertainty.

“We’ve had externships delayed in the past due to shutdowns, but this is more extreme,” Julia Fromholz, director of the international rule of law and security program at the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law who also oversees the school’s Washington program, tells “This is more stressful for everyone because it’s so uncertain.”

Sources:, Business Insider