Law Clerkship, Summer 2023
Earthjustice is seeking summer law clerks who share a passion for justice and a healthy environment.
Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We take on the biggest, most precedent-setting cases across the country. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health; to preserve magnificent places and wildlife; to advance clean energy; and to combat climate change. We partner with thousands of groups and supporters to engage the critical environmental issues of our time, and bring about positive change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.
Founded in 1971, Earthjustice has a distinguished track record of achieving significant, lasting environmental protections. We achieve this by hiring the best and brightest who share a passion for justice and a healthy environment. Our headquarters are in San Francisco with 14 offices across the U.S.
Earthjustice’s work is currently divided into three major areas:
- Lands, Wildlife, and Oceans focuses on cases that protect endangered species, national forests, national parks, other public lands, water resources, and the oceans.
- Healthy Communities focuses on cases that protect public health, prevent air and water pollution, and curb exposures to toxic chemicals, particularly in disproportionately impacted communities. Recently, our healthy communities work has also begun to promote sustainable food and agriculture and the rights of farm workers.
- Climate and Energy focuses on cases that encourage clean energy and energy efficiency while challenging the reliance on coal, oil, and other dirty fuels.
Summer law clerks work with attorneys on case development and litigation. Under the supervision of an attorney, a law clerk’s primary responsibilities are to perform legal and factual research, and to develop case strategy and legal theories. Law clerks may also have the opportunity to assist attorneys with preparing briefs and motions, to meet with clients and experts, to participate in moots of oral arguments, and to attend court proceedings and conferences with opposing counsel. In addition to involvement in ongoing litigation, the summer program includes seminars with attorneys from across the organization on current environmental issues.
The Earthjustice Summer Clerkship position includes a weekly stipend of $1,280 a week, with the average clerkship lasting 10 weeks (approximately $12,800 total). The total stipend amount will be dependent on the extent of a clerk’s ability to secure outside funding. Earthjustice will pay $1,280 a week less the total amount received from other sources. We strongly encourage candidates to pursue outside funding, but the ability to secure outside funding will not be considered as part of the hiring decision. Note the stipend is taxed, so stipend payments are less applicable taxes.
*Applications will be reviewed starting in September/October through November/December.
Earthjustice has 20 offerings for summer clerkships:
- Alaska - Anchorage and Juneau
- Biodiversity Defense Program - Bozeman, Seattle, or New York
- California - San Francisco and Los Angeles
- Coal and Clean Energy Program - Philadelphia
- Community Partnerships Program – Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C.
- Florida - Tallahassee and Miami
- Fossil Fuels Program - New Orleans
- International - San Francisco
- Mid-Pacific - Honolulu
- Midwest - Chicago
- Northeast - New York
- Northern Rockies - Bozeman
- Northwest - Seattle
- Oceans Program - Seattle and San Francisco
- Rocky Mountain - Denver
- Sustainable Food and Farming Program - New York
- Toxic Exposure and Health Program - New York
- Tribal Partnerships Program - Seattle and Denver
- Washington, D.C.
Each of these offices accepts applications for summer law clerks, and students should submit an application to each office of interest.
Law students who have a minimum of ten weeks to commit in the summer are eligible to apply. Interested applicants should submit their:
- Cover letter. The best cover letters are one page and address why the applicant wants to work for Earthjustice and provide information about the applicant that is not apparent or fully explained in the resumé.
- Recent writing sample, preferably a legal brief or memorandum of no more than ten pages that primarily reflects your work.
- Unofficial transcript
- List of three references
Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please note that each office handles applications individually, so you will need to submit an application for each office that interests you. Identical applications for each office are fine, but a sentence or two in your cover letter on why you’re interested in each office is preferred.
To add additional files like the writing sample, unofficial transcript, and list of references, use the "Add Files" option.
If you’re having technical difficulties submitting your application, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
No phone calls, drop-ins, or hard copies.
Regional Office Clerkship Programs
Alaska - Anchorage and Juneau
The Alaska Office’s docket is focused on protecting the Alaska coastal rain forest, safeguarding America’s Arctic, and conserving the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska marine ecosystem. Our work also includes wildlife conservation, protection of lands and waters from mining activities, air and water quality enforcement, and national park and other public lands management. Our clients include national, regional, and local conservation organizations; Alaska Native tribal organizations; Alaskan communities; ecotourism businesses; and other organizations concerned about enforcing the laws to protect the environment.
Biodiversity Defense Program - Bozeman, Seattle or New York
The Biodiversity Defense Program fights to reshape our relationship to lands, water, and wildlife everywhere by confronting the major drivers of the decline in nature, including habitat destruction and over-exploitation of wildlife. The program’s work brings Earthjustice’s strategic, collaborative, and hard-hitting approach to environmental protection into new geographies. Additionally, we advance policies aimed at protecting habitat critical to the survival of species, such as a national plan to permanently protect America’s carbon-dense and biodiverse old-growth forests.
California Regional - Los Angeles
The California Office has undertaken campaigns to protect lands and wildlife, improve air and water quality, promote clean energy and transportation policies, and ensure that state residents are protected from toxic substances. The California Regional Office currently has campaigns focusing on Clean Energy, Air Quality in the Central Valley, Pesticides and Health, and land management and conservation in the Sierra Nevada and Bay Delta. Our attorneys bring a mix of lawsuits under federal environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, as well as California statutes, to protect the environment and promote environmental justice.
California Regional - San Francisco
The California Regional Office currently works to promote clean energy and zero emission transportation policies; to rein in oil and gas extraction, particularly in locations that threaten frontline communities; to improve air and water quality for residents in the Central Valley; to preserve lands and biodiversity in the Sierra Nevada, Bay Delta, and elsewhere; and to protect state residents and sensitive ecosystems from pesticides and other toxic substances. Our attorneys bring lawsuits under a mix of state and federal environmental laws and engage in administrative and other forms of advocacy to protect the environment and promote environmental justice. We will hire three law clerks for summer 2023. We are also participating in the Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship Program (Fellowship Program) organized by the Environmental Law Section of the California Lawyers Association, through which an additional 2023 summer law clerk may be placed with our team. The Fellowship Program has a separate application process administered by the Environmental Law Section of the California Lawyers Association. For more information, including to whom you should direct any questions, please visit: https://calawyers.org/section/environmental-law/fellowships/.
Coal and Clean Energy Program - Philadelphia and Chicago
Earthjustice presently has two programs focused on cleaning up the power sector and accelerating a clean energy transition — the Coal Program and Clean Energy Program. The former focuses on ending our nation’s reliance on dirty, expensive, and outdated coal-fired power, cleaning up coal’s toxic legacy, and blocking a rush to build new gas generation that would crowd out clean energy development. The latter focuses on breaking down barriers and increasing access to clean energy resources; advancing electrification; and opposing efforts to build new gas-fired power plants. Recognizing the synergies that exist across these dedicated teams, we are combining these highly effective programs into one Clean Energy Program, covering the work of both teams. The merged Clean Energy Program will be led by a managing attorney, two deputies who oversee the program’s state energy practice, a director who provides substantive leadership and coordination of state-level energy work done both in the Program and by various Earthjustice regional offices, and two deputies who oversee other areas of work done by the Program.
Community Partnerships Program – Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C.
We work hand-in-hand with frontline communities to remove environmental hazards and secure access to environmental benefits. We act collectively with our community partners to challenge harmful social and political structures, and to improve the environmental conditions in neighborhoods. We support community-led movements using a full range of advocacy strategies to challenge the status quo. We represent frontline communities across the country to challenge polluters that harm health, safety, and quality of life; to close dangerous regulatory loopholes; to open access to information and records; to increase transparency into environmental decision-making and polluting operations; and to enforce federal, state, and local laws meant to protect communities from environmental harms.
Florida - Tallahassee and Miami
With approximately 700 springs, more than 1,260 miles of coastline (more than any other state in the continental United States), over 7,000 lakes and tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams, water is the lifeblood of Florida. In 2014 alone, over 97 million people visited Florida to enjoy its beaches, fishing, attractions, and natural areas. But its beauty has also invited its exploitation and pollution by industry and development. That’s why for the last 25 years, Earthjustice has fought to protect Florida’s waters and wild places for all people to enjoy in federal, state, and administrative courts. The Florida Office fights for public ownership and access to Florida’s waters, defends the public’s right to enjoy Florida’s beautiful places, stands with communities threatened by pollution, protects the Everglades, preserves wild lands and species, works to clean up our waterways, and hold polluters accountable, and aims to move Florida to a clean energy future.
Fossil Fuels Program – New Orleans
At a time when we desperately need to reduce greenhouse emissions to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, the oil and gas industry is aggressively expanding fossil fuel infrastructure, locking us into decades of future fossil fuel use and directly harming the communities already hardest hit by climate disruption. Earthjustice’s Fossil Fuels program is confronting this massive build-out. We use litigation, administrative advocacy, and partnership to advance an end to U.S. oil and gas extraction and production, and stop new infrastructure (e.g. petrochemical facilities, export terminals and pipelines), focused in the U.S. Gulf Region and Appalachia.
International - San Francisco
Drawing on deep experience in foreign, U.S., and international environmental, energy, and human rights law, and foreign and international litigation, Earthjustice’s International Program works with partners in South Africa, Indonesia, Australia, Latin America, and elsewhere on domestic and international legal advocacy to reduce dependence on dirty fossil fuels and speed the transition to clean energy. International program staff represent and collaborate with organizations and communities to establish, strengthen, and enforce national and international legal protections for the environment and public health.
Mid-Pacific - Honolulu
Earthjustice opened an office in Honolulu in 1988 to protect natural and cultural resources throughout Hawai‘i and the larger Pacific region. Earthjustice Mid-Pacific has led campaigns to restore stream water to communities and watersheds across the islands, protect Hawai‘i’s imperiled species from harmful activities, hold the military and other government actors accountable for pollution, and to transition the economy off fossil fuels and onto the clean energy grid of the future. Our attorneys file suit under national laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, and state laws such as the Hawai‘i Environmental Policy Act. The Mid-Pacific Office also has a long history of enforcing environmental rights and traditional and customary Native Hawaiian rights that are enshrined in the Hawai‘i State Constitution.
Earthjustice Mid-Pacific is looking for summer law clerks who have excellent research, writing and oral advocacy skills; solid academic records; demonstrated commitment to the environment, community empowerment, and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; the ability to be a team player; and a strong work ethic, sense of initiative, and sound judgment. A sense of humor is also desired.
To apply to work in our office, please submit a resume, list of three references, and a 10-page maximum legal memorandum or brief which is primarily student’s original (unedited) work.
Applications from second-year law students are generally favored, but applications from first year law students will be considered.
Midwest - Chicago
The Midwest Office’s legal advocacy and litigation spans all three of Earthjustice’s program areas — healthy communities, climate and energy, and lands and wildlife. We fight proposed mines and pipeline projects that threaten the fishing and hunting rights of tribal communities and endanger the region’s treasures, including the Great Lakes and the pristine Boundary Waters. Second, we work with communities impacted by contaminated air, drinking water, waterways, and soil to fight for environmental justice and to develop safer and cleaner neighborhoods in which to live. Third, we are developing work that will promote healthier, more sustainable agriculture and combat climate change.
Northeast - New York
The staff of the Northeast Office work to address the serious health and environmental threats associated with fracking, coal-burning power plants, toxic chemicals, and other sources of pollution. The Northeast Office continues efforts to head off the fracking boom in regions surrounding the Marcellus and Utica shales, including defending the rights of municipalities to enact zoning restrictions on oil and gas development. The Northeast Office also plays a key role in Earthjustice’s work to phase out coal-fired power plants, the country’s single biggest source of climate change pollution, toxic air and water pollution, and industrial waste. In addition, we fight to secure stronger protections of farmworkers from exposure to dangerous pesticides, tighter regulations of factory farms, and safeguards for overburdened communities that are impacted by chemical contamination of their air and water.
Northern Rockies - Bozeman
The Northern Rockies Office — staffed by six attorneys, two litigation assistants, and an office manager — is engaged in a regional, ecosystem-based litigation program focused on protecting wild public lands in the Northern Rockies from industrial development; safeguarding some of America’s last remaining grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and other wildlife; restoring the region’s rivers, streams, and native fish runs; and stemming the mining and burning of coal that feeds global warming. In recent years, the work of the Northern Rockies office has increasingly touched on Native American interests and issues of Indian law, including work to restore wild bison to tribal lands; to oppose oil and gas exploration on public national forest lands of extreme cultural and spiritual importance to the Blackfeet people; and to halt a state proposal to open a massive new coal mine on lands significant to the Northern Cheyenne in southeast Montana.
Northwest - Seattle
The Northwest Office opened in 1987 to enable Earthjustice to take a more active role in preserving the unique natural resources and environment of the Pacific Northwest. Since that time, the Northwest office has undertaken campaigns to protect old growth forests, promote salmon recovery, improve water quality, protect Puget Sound and the communities that depend on it, stop coal-fired power plants, protect farmworkers and their families from pesticides, and respond to climate change, among other things. Although the primary focus of the Northwest office is representing environmental and citizens’ groups in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, we often take cases with national and international scope.
Oceans Program - Seattle and San Francisco
Earthjustice’s Oceans Program works to protect oceans and ocean wildlife from threats such as overfishing, oil and gas drilling, and habitat degradation. Our team currently consists of eight full-time attorneys and a litigation paralegal. We litigate cases primarily in federal court aimed at protecting ocean resources in the United States. We also work to protect marine ecosystems and vulnerable species outside our borders by strengthening international provisions in U.S. fisheries management laws and in partnerships with advocates across the globe. Summer clerks will work on a mix of international and domestic ocean matters.
Rocky Mountain - Denver
The Rocky Mountain Office opened in 1973 and was Earthjustice’s first regional office. More national parks and monuments are concentrated in the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado Plateau, and the Desert Southwest than in any other part of the country. The Rocky Mountain Office protects these renowned landscapes and other prized public lands throughout Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. The Office also safeguards the region’s precious water resources, including the mighty Colorado River, from being overdrawn. In addition, the Rocky Mountain Office has a robust energy practice that seeks to reduce the impacts of oil and gas development, decrease our dependence on coal and other dirty fossil fuels, and promote the growth of clean renewable energy sources. We represent a wide variety of national, regional, and local environmental organizations; and in some cases we work in close partnership with American Indian tribes.
Sustainable Food and Farming Program - New York
Earthjustice’s Sustainable Food and Farming Program engages in litigation and advocacy to improve our nation’s food system, from crop selection and farming practices to food processing and sustainability. Working in partnership with communities, advocacy groups, scientists, and others, we fight for safe and healthy food, climate-friendly farming, reduced reliance on dangerous pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and animal farms — not animal factories. We take on cases with regional and national scope.
Toxic Exposure and Health Program - New York
Earthjustice’s Toxic Exposure & Health Program litigates in state and federal court and conducts administrative and legislative advocacy to ensure that all people have safe workplaces, neighborhoods, and schools; have access to safe drinking water and food; and live in homes that are free of hazardous chemicals. We partner with and represent groups that face the greatest exposure to and risks from hazardous chemicals, including the communities surrounding the facilities where those chemicals are manufactured, used, and released.
More information about the Toxic Exposure and Health Program.
Tribal Partnerships Program - Seattle and Denver
The Tribal Partnerships Program works across Earthjustice’s regional offices and programs to develop cross-cutting strategies on behalf of our tribal and Indigenous partners and to provide added capacity and expertise to work on matters of concern to tribes and Indigenous communities. Tribal Partnerships attorneys litigate cases themselves, collaborate and consult with program and regional office attorneys, conduct outreach with tribes and Indigenous communities, and work with Earthjustice’s other teams as needed.
Earthjustice’s Washington, D.C., office serves both as a regional office for issues arising in the mid-Atlantic states, and as a center for litigation on important national environmental issues. The D.C. office’s docket currently includes litigation to: protect public health and the environment from air pollution; prompt the regulation and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; protect streams, wetlands, drinking water supplies, and other waters from pollution and outright destruction; compel the federal government to improve its management and protection of our ocean resources; advance energy efficiency; and challenge the federal government’s practice of allowing mountaintop removal mining in the Appalachian region.
Earthjustice is driven by a passion for justice, partnership, and excellence. Our core values lead us to seek a broad range of perspectives and backgrounds to achieve our mission and to maintain an inclusive environment where all staff are valued and respected. As an equal opportunity employer, we are committed to employment practices that ensure that employees and applicants for employment are provided with equal opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or any other factor that is not related to the position.
For positions located within the City and County of San Francisco: Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.
For positions located within the City of Los Angeles: We will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring.
If you need reasonable accommodation in order to complete the application, interview or some other portion of the selection process for a job at Earthjustice, please contact Human Resources at email@example.com.