Volunteer Legal Internships

Hiring Organization Job Title State Posted/Updatedsort ascending
Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) Volunteer Law Clerk Intern - Fall 2017 or Spring 2018 CA October 6, 2016
Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) Volunteer Law Clerk Intern CA October 3, 2016
Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) Law Student Volunteer (Summer 2017) CO September 1, 2016
Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) Summer 2017 Volunteer Law Clerk Position DC August 1, 2016
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The Environment and Natural Resources Division litigates in five key areas: pollution, lands and natural resources, wildlife, Indian resources, and land acquisition. Attorneys represent many federal agencies by preparing and arguing civil and criminal enforcement cases, appeals, and by defending challenged federal agency actions arising from well over 100 federal environmental laws. Cases are at the cutting edge of environmental and natural resources practice. The Division’s work protects our environment for future generations.

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

ENRD Recruiting Brochure

Projected No. of Volunteers:

50 - Available positions vary according to semester and location.


Assignments will vary. In general, interns assist the Division’s trial lawyers in preparing cases for filing and supporting the litigation effort post-filing, and assist the Division’s appellate lawyers in researching issues on appeal. Responsibilities typically include conducting legal research, drafting pleadings, discovery, 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 and civil and criminal enforcement of federal pollution control laws. An internship provides an outstanding opportunity to work on cutting edge issues of environmental law. For more information about the nine litigating sections of ENRD, please review the ENRD recruiting brochure above.

Salary: Volunteer (without compensation) or work-study credit only.

Minimum Weeks Required: Summer – 8 weeks (full summer strongly preferred). School year – complete semester or quarter, according to individual law school requirements.

First-year (second-semester), second-year and third-year law students are eligible to apply. Joint degree and LL M students are also eligible to apply, provided they meet the eligibility requirements set forth below. First-year, first-semester law students may apply after December 1st for internships the following summer. 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. Law students may work in volunteer positions only while attending law school. Law school graduation terminates eligibility, except for graduate law students enrolled at least half time and who are not practicing law. ENRD prefers students with strong academic qualifications, research and writing skills, and those who have an interest in litigation, environmental law, and/or public interest law. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and successfully complete a security clearance prior to appointment. Applicants must have been residents of the United States for 3 of the previous 5 years prior to applying, with exceptions made for active duty military and Foreign Service employees.

To Apply:

Washington, DC: 

Beginning in 2014, ENRD has streamlined its application process for Washington, DC internship applications. Washington, DC internship positions now are advertised through the Symplicity job posting service (available in most law school placement offices) or this website.

Information on Spring, Summer, and Fall volunteer internship opportunities are posted in this space over the course of the year. Questions about this program may be directed to

Washington, D.C. Application Deadlines:

Applications for Fall semester are accepted from March 1st – April 22nd of the same year.

Spring: Applications for Spring semester are accepted from August 1st – September 25th of the year prior (i.e., for Spring 2017, applications will be accepted from August 1st – September 25th of 2016)

Summer: Applications for Summer are accepted from 2Ls from August 1st – September 7th of the year prior  (i.e., for Summer 2017, applications will be accepted from August 1st – September 7th of 2016) and December 1st – January 5th ((i.e., for Summer 2017, applications will be accepted from December 1st, 2016 – January 5th, 2017). 1Ls may apply only during the December 1st – January 5th period.

During those dates, you may also apply for a volunteer legal internship in Washington, DC by submitting via email to the following materials:

  • Section application form

  • Cover letter stating hours/days available to work;

  • Resume (which includes your country of citizenship);

  • Writing sample;

  • Copy of your most recent transcript (official or unofficial);

  • Three references with contact information, including telephone and email (letters of recommendation not required); and 

  • Specify the year and term (i.e., Summer 2017) that you’re applying for in your application and in the subject line of your application email. You must apply separately for each term.

Positions will be filled on a rolling basis.

Field Office:

Advertisements for currently available field office positions are posted at the top of this page.

Decisions regarding field office internships are made on a rolling basis.

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