Legal and Judicial Practicum Programs

These practica provide law-related academic and professional opportunities to Rice undergraduate students. Think of these opportunities as for-credit internships with an academic twist. Participants earn 3 credits for each semester-long practicum (Fall: PLST 401, Spring: PLST 402); both courses count toward the Politics, Law, and Social Thought minor.

Note for Spring 2022 practicum: We ask that all Judicial Practicum students planning to participate on site be vaccinated. This requirement only makes sense in light of the exposure to many different people in the courts and in the courtrooms, who are not required to be vaccinated. Thank you for your understanding.

Abhi Obili and Amanda Lopatin student profiles, legal practicum participants Fall 2020

Spring 2023 Judicial Practicum applications are now closed.
Fall 2022 Legal Practicum applications are now closed.

Materials required:

  1. Application form
  2. Cover letter, resume, unofficial transcript, and essay responses

Experiential Education

Participants spend 6-8 contact hours per week with a judge, lawyer, or other legal professional to observe law in action. Students will also gain understanding in the following areas through presentations by faculty and alumni experts:

  • Basic legal research (WestLaw and LexisNexis, legal memos)
  • Historical, theoretical and ethical legal issues
  • Federal and Texas court structure
  • Separation of powers
  • Confidentiality
  • Professional conduct
  • Subfield specialties (criminal law, immigration law, etc.)


The Legal (fall term) Practicum and the Judicial (spring term) Practicum are open to all continuing undergraduate students who have completed at least nine hours in Rice University School of Humanities or School of Social Sciences coursework. Preference will be given to students in their third/fourth year of study, as well as those who have completed one or more law-related courses.

To international students: an internship that is off Rice campus and inside the United States may endanger your student visa. Consult with OISS, the fall and spring practicum managers, Abbey Godley ( and Elaine Palinkas Sanches ( ), or with the director of undergraduate studies in the relevant department or program.


Once all application materials are confirmed, students will be contacted with any interview offers. After all interviews have been completed, students will be notified of their final placements. Notifications will be given before spring registration closes in late November.

Additional details

The Judicial and Law practica are offered through Politics, Law and Social Thought. This interdisciplinary program is a joint partnership between the School of Humanities and the School of Social Sciences.


Interested in law professions? The Office of Academic Advising has resources for you. Visit their website here for more information and to view law school resources and a pre-law undergraduate timetable.

Contact Information

For fall legal practicum questions:
Abbey Godley, M.Ed.
Assistant Dean for Student Programs
Rice University, School of Social Sciences | 713-348-2367

For spring judicial practicum questions:
Elaine Palinkas Sanches
Program Administrator, Program in Politics, Law and Social Thought
Rice University, School of Humanities | 713-348-4810