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The work we do at the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD):

ENRD attorneys represent federal agencies by preparing and arguing civil and criminal enforcement cases and by defending challenged federal agency actions under more than 150 federal statutes. Cases handled by ENRD are at the cutting edge of environmental and natural resources law. The Division’s work protects our environment for future generations.

We offer opportunities for clerkships in our offices in Washington, DC; Denver, CO; Sacramento, CA; Boston, MA; and San Francisco, CA. The number of positions vary according to location and semester.

This space will provide law clerk opportunity postings throughout the year. See the "When You May Apply" Section for the various recruitment cycles. If you'd like to apply to our Washington, DC, office, please direct your questions to If you'd like to apply to our Denver, CO office, please direct your questions to

Typical Law Clerk Assignments:

Law Clerks assist the Division’s lawyers in litigating cases in Federal district and appellate courts. Responsibilities typically include conducting legal research and helping to draft pleadings, discovery documents, and memoranda of law dealing with a variety of federal environmental and natural resource issues. The Division handles cases covering a broad spectrum of issues including the listing of endangered species, civil and criminal enforcement of federal pollution control laws, and defense of federal agency actions under environmental and natural resources laws. For more information about the nine litigating sections of ENRD, please see the About the Division page.

Salary: Uncompensated. We will coordinate with students who are eligible to receive academic or work study credit from their law school.

Minimum Weeks Required: There is a minimum program commitment of 10 weeks. However, applicants who are available to work for the entire summer or spring/fall semester will be given preference. Please include your availability in your cover letter.


ENRD is seeking students with:

  • Strong academic accomplishments
  • Strong research and writing skills
  • An interest in public interest law, litigation, or any one of ENRD's five key areas: pollution control and prevention; natural resources and public lands; wildlife; indian resources; or land acquisition.

Required Application Document:

When You May Apply

YOUR CURRENT YEAR Spring Clerkship Summer Clerkship Fall Clerkship
1L (not eligible) December 1st – January 5th For 2L Fall: March 1st – April 22nd
2L For 2L Spring: August 1st – September 25th August 1st – September 7th and December 1st – January 5th For 3L Fall: March 1st – April 22nd
3L For 3L Spring: August 1st – September 25th (not eligible) (not eligible)
LLM August 1st – September 25th August 1st – September 7th and December 1st – January 5th March 1st – April 22nd
Joint Degree Program August 1st – September 25th August 1st – September 7th and December 1st – January 5th March 1st – April 22nd


  • 1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls must be currently enrolled at least half-time in a law degree program.
  • 1Ls are eligible to apply for summer clerkships after December 1st. The Department follows the National Association of Law Placement guidelines that prohibit employer contact with first-year (first-semester) students regarding summer employment prior to that date.
  • Joint degree and LLM students must be currently enrolled at least half-time and not practicing law.


In addition, applicants must

  • Be U.S. citizens
  • Successfully complete a background check prior to appointment
  • Have been residents of the United States for at least 36 months out of the previous 5 years prior to their prospective start date. Active duty military and Foreign Service employees posted abroad are exempt from this requirement.

To Apply

Please visit the Attorney Vacancies and Volunteer Legal Internships page for a list of currently open positions at ENRD’s headquarters and field offices.

The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer. Candidates must successfully complete a security clearance prior to appointment.


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Hiring Organization Job Title State Posted / Updated Application Deadline
Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) CA September 26, 2023