Career Resource Guide
**This career guide provides examples of opportunities and resources for law students pursuing a career in environmental law. Please contact the CSO with any additional resources to supplement this compilation.
Professional Associations & Networking Organizations
Explore the websites below for employment opportunities, conferences, scholarship opportunities, and helpful resources.
· American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources
· Delaware Valley Environmental American Inn of Court
· National Association of Environmental Professionals
· New Jersey Chapter of Women Environmental Professionals
· Pennsylvania Bar Association, Environmental and Energy Law Section
· Philadelphia Bar Association, Environmental and Energy Law Committee
· The Society of Women Environmental Professionals of Greater Philadelphia
Internships & Job Opportunities
· Government Honors and Internship Handbook (Arizona Handbooks, LLC) – This handbook contains information about all federal government honors programs, including the EPA Honors Program. Agencies include NOAA, Department of Transportation, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and many others.
· U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENDR)
· Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
· EPA Office of Administrative Law Judges
· EPA Region 3 (Philadelphia) Michael F. Vaccaro Fellowship (open to 3Ls and recent graduates)
· EPA Region 3 (Philadelphia) Law Clerk Program for 1Ls and 2Ls
· White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)
· Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection – Legal internships available within the Governor’s Office of General Counsel – Norristown, PA
- Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board – The PA Environmental Hearing Board “hears appeals from actions of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The Board holds hearings and issues Adjudications, Opinions, and Orders. Hearings before the Board are similar to non-jury civil trials before Common Pleas Courts or Federal District Courts.”
- New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection – Summer and year-round legal internships available within State of New Jersey Governor’s Office – Trenton and Newark, NJ
- New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, Division of Law & Public Safety, Enforcement (Environmental) Section - The Enforcement Section provides representation to the Department of Environmental Protection and other agencies in federal and State court to enforce a wide range of federal and state environmental laws. The Clean Air Unit of this section is dedicated to the enforcement of the Federal Clean Air Act. The NJ AG’s Office generally recruits 1Ls and 2Ls for legal internships at GPALS job fairs and as part of Spring OCI. Contact the Career Strategies Office for details on how to apply.
- Legislative Branch – U.S. Senate and House of Representative Committees and Subcommittees (e.g., House Committee on Energy and Commerce and Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works) – See Capitol Hill resources on Symplicity homepage under “Government Resources.”
- State Public Utilities Commissions – for law students and attorneys interested in energy law.
- Environmental Defense Fund - With offices in California, DC, New York, North Carolina, and Texas, EDF works on issues regarding oceans, ecosystems, health, and climate & energy. They offer summer internship programs for both 1Ls and 2Ls.
- Earthjustice – Environmental nonprofit with offices located across the country. Three key goals: preserving the wild, fighting for healthy communities, advancing clean energy and a healthy climate. Many attorney, law clerk, legal externship and legal fellowship positions available in offices across the country from Philadelphia to Anchorage, Alaska.
· Environmental Law Institute (ELI) – ELI is a nonpartisan research and educational center based in Washington, DC, which provides solutions to environmental problems through policy work.
- Center for International Environmental Law – Offices in Washington, DC and Geneva. Legal Internships and public interest law fellowship available.
- Southern Environmental Law Center – With a team of 70 attorneys, the Southern Environmental Law Center “uses the power of the law to champion the environment of the Southeast.” Attorney, law clerk, and legal fellowship positions available in the Southeast region of the country including Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee.
- Natural Resources Defense Council – NRDC’s mission is to “safeguard the earth – its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.” Legal internship programs and attorney positions are available in NRDC offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Beijing.
- Environmental Law & Policy Center – Headquartered in downtown Chicago, the Center works to protect the environment in the Midwest using legal, scientific, economic, and public policy analysis. Legal interns work on state and federal litigation and policy work throughout the Midwest. Attorney and Public Interest Environmental Law Fellowship positions available as well.
- Conservation Law Foundation – CLF protects New England’s environment for the benefit of all people. Legal internships, fellowships and advocacy positions available in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
- Environmental Defense Center – Located in California, this organization “works to protect and enhance the local environment through education, advocacy, and legal action.” Summer law clerk program, internships and attorney positions available.
- Brightline Defense Project – This organization is a “policy advocacy non-profit that works to empower communities and create sustainable environments.” Its “focus is on quality-of-life improvements in low-income communities and communities of color, particularly those historically polluted by dirty power plants.” A legal fellowship called the “Dr. Espanola Jackson Postgraduate Legal Fellowship” is available for 3Ls expecting to take the California Bar Exam and recent graduates.
- The Sierra Club – The Sierra Club is “the nation’s leader in grassroots environmental litigation.” Law students interested in public interest environmental litigation assist with strategic litigation through the Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program.
- Western Environmental Law Center – WELC “uses the power of the law to defend and protect the American West’s treasured landscapes, iconic wildlife, and rural communities.” There is a legal internship program available to 2Ls and 3Ls.
- Private law firms – Use the NALP Directory and Law Firm Spreadsheets located on the Symplicity homepage as well as martindale.com to identify firms that specialize in environmental law. Areas of practice within environmental law include product liability, oil & gas (a growth area), toxic tort, land use, zoning & leases, municipal law, personal injury, energy law, environmental regulatory counseling, and title work.
- Private Public Interest Law Firms (PPILF) – For those interested in an environmental justice practice. These firms generally represent class action or individual plaintiffs in toxic tort cases against corporations or government agencies.
Additional Resources (practice area guides, advocacy programs and job boards)
· PSJD Career Guide – This guide provides a brief overview of environmental law opportunities, including practical information regarding the types of employers and practice settings in which you can pursue a career, practical skills you can gain during law school, and resources to further research this field.
- Environmental Law, Policy and Regulation Jobs -- Databases of environmental law, policy, and regulation job openings around the country, sorted by category. Free to access many of the listings; paid subscription option as well.
- Pennsylvania Environmental Council – Mission statement: “The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) protects and restores the natural and built environments through innovation, collaboration, education and advocacy. PEC believes in the value of partnerships with the private sector, government, communities and individuals to improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.”
- Environmental Career jobs database – can filter for legal and advocacy positions.