Externship Profile: Seamen’s Church Institute


During Corey Shipley’s first visit to the Charleston School of Law he learned about the opportunity to extern at the Center for Seafarers’ Rights. Motivated by a strong interest in admiralty law, Shipley instantly set a goal to secure this externship. After his first year of law school, he landed the placement and spent four weeks of his summer externing at the Center in New York and New Jersey.

The Seamen’s Church Institute’s Center for Seafarers’ Rights operates the world’s only full-time, free legal aid program for merchant mariners. On a daily basis, the Institute assists mariners with concerns regarding working conditions, compensation and rights in various circumstances. “The experience and the insight into the practice of maritime law that the Institute provided was invaluable,” explained Shipley. “I had the opportunity to visit ships and meet some very unique people from all over the world.”

corey-10During his externship, Shipley researched international law and foreign legal codes relating to piracy. “The Center for Seafarers’ Rights’ influence can be seen throughout the world,” explained Shipley. “The Institute’s commitment to the welfare of seafarers is unmatched in the industry.”

Assisting the Center for Seafarers’ Rights in all aspects of legal work, Shipley had the opportunity to conduct and analyze the 11thannual Shore Leave Survey. “This report originated from port ministries consulted throughout the United States on why seafarers were denied shore leave and detained,” said Shipley.

“The most interesting experience during my externship was the interaction with seafarers from all over the world,” said Shipley. “Listening to their issues and helping to offer legal advice where appropriate was extremely gratifying, especially when it was for those that no one else was willing to help.”

Meeting seafarers from various places presented valuable networking opportunities. “The most rewarding aspect of my externship was the introduction to the merchant mariners that are such an important component of our global economy,” explains Shipley. “So often these individuals and the sacrifices they make to provide us with the goods we enjoy everyday get overlooked.”

As editor-in-chief of the School’s Maritime Law Bulletin, MALABU, Shipley is active in the local maritime community. Run by students and a board of editors, the goal of MALABU is to provide practical and useful content to law professors and students, practicing attorneys, commercial shippers and pleasure boaters alike.

Shipley will continue his studies in maritime law and hopes to pursue an admiralty law career after graduation. “The amount of experience and networking the externship provided will hopefully segue into a summer associate position at a firm next summer,” said Shipley.

Shipley encourages students who have a genuine interest in maritime law to apply for this externship. Students interested in admiralty law have the opportunity to take a variety of maritime law courses offered at Charleston School of Law, including Law of the Sea and Admiralty 710. Students also have the opportunity to join the Maritime Law Society, which aims to raise awareness and explore various aspects of admiralty and maritime law.

Charleston School of Law’s externship program allows students to gain practical work experience while earning course credit. Students complement their classroom studies by working under the direct supervision of members of the judiciary or attorneys in the public sector. This summer, Charleston School of Law students are at 28 dynamic externships sites helping the community. Since fall 2006, Charleston School of Law students have completed approximately 72,829 externship hours.

Special thanks to the South Carolina Ports Authority for the on-site photo opportunity at Wando Welch Terminal. 

Story and photography by Lucy J. Remitz.

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Release Date: 8/22/2012