Program Description

UMKC School of Law has arranged for a limited number of students in the China Summer Law Program to serve in Externship positions with substantial and well-respected law firms in Beijing and possibly other cities in China. The externship is in addition to the requirements of the Summer Program and requires that the student remain in China for the subsequent three weeks at their own expense after completion of the course. Placement is based upon request by the student and acceptance of the specific individual by a Chinese firm. ABA standards prohibit the award of academic credit for compensated work. Accordingly, the award of academic credit is the sole compensation for work performed. Please note that successful completion of the coursework is a prerequisite for all placements.

The firms that accept placements typically have an international practice with clients and associated firms or branch offices both in China and abroad. Law practice in China is limited to Chinese nationals, although many foreign lawyers are associated and office with Chinese firms. The firms where our students are placed will all have members who have been educated in both China and English-speaking countries; many are admitted to practice in foreign jurisdictions as well. Thus there is no requirement that students read or speak Mandarin. We will endeavor to place students with firms that practice in areas of the law compatible with the student’s particular interests, but we are unable to make promises in this regard. The subject matter and the practice experience will be subject to the firm’s needs at the time. Most of the placements will be located at firms in Beijing.

Goal and Requirements

The goal of the Summer Externship is to provide the student an intense, hands-on experience in the unique culture of legal practice in China. Students will observe the importance of building personal, trusting relationships in securing favorable outcomes for clients and learn the difference between the written law and the way matters are resolved in actual practice. Each student will work with a supervising attorney who will assign and evaluate the work performed. As a practical matter, other members of the firm may assign work as well. Students will be expected to produce a substantive work product in the nature of research memoranda, correspondence and legal documents.

As the practice permits, students may participate in client meetings, negotiations, and arbitration, and observe court proceedings. Faculty and attorney supervision will be individualized and integrated with the classroom work to the maximum extent possible to ensure that the academic credit allowed is commensurate with the educational benefit to the participating student.

Candidates will have a three-week externship during which they will be expected to spend a minimum of thirty hours a week at the firm, but in fact they must do what the firm expects of them beyond that. Each student will keep a daily activity log recording the nature of the work performed and will file a weekly report via email to Nancy Kunkel and their supervising attorney at the firm. If possible, we ask for copies of any memoranda the student has drafted on behalf of the firm. Work product may be submitted in Chinese if that is the original language. The supervising lawyer will also make weekly performance reports to the Director, detailing how the intern is functioning. At the conclusion of the externship, the student is required to obtain written verification signed by a member of the firm (an emailed verification directly from the supervising attorney to Mrs. Kunkel is fine) specifying the start and end dates and that the student performed satisfactorily. The student must also submit a final report that is a detailed, frank and thorough evaluation of the experience, and a recommendation as to whether students should be placed with that particular firm in the future. ALL reporting requirements must be completed by any student participating in an externship.

Grant of Academic Credit

On completion of all requirements set forth above, the student will be granted one-half (0.5) credit for each week successfully completed for a maximum of 1.5 credits. Students must complete the entire three weeks of their placement; shorter-term externships are not available. All externships are graded on a Pass/Fail basis.

Cost of the Externship

There is an additional fee of $500 for externship placements. Each candidate must pay for their own housing, meals, local transportation and all personal living expenses during their externship. Most of the Beijing law offices are located downtown, some distance from the Beida campus. Accordingly, the vast majority of students working in Beijing choose to find an inexpensive hostel, hotel or apartment nearer to the workplace to avoid the commuter hassle.

All externship candidates will be notified of acceptance with their course confirming letter. A mandatory meeting for all externship candidates will take place with the program’s Academic Director during the first week of the coursework in Beijing, and the candidates accepted for placement will receive their specific firm assignments at that time.


If interested in applying as an externship candidate, please check the appropriate boxe on the registration form and submit with a current résumé and a cover letter which states your future practice plans and how the externship placement fits into those plans. Be sure to include the $500 externship fee in addition to your deposit. Please submit hard copies of both the résumé and cover letter with the application, and also send electronic files of both documents to:

The deadline for externship placement applications is February 28, 2018.

For further information please contact Nancy Kunkel at 816-235-1647 or