Legal Externship, Spring 2021

Coal Program New York, New York Chicago, Illinois Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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, supporters and citizens 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 thirteen offices across the U.S.

The Coal Program uses hard-hitting litigation and administrative advocacy to work to end our nation’s reliance on dirty, expensive, and outdated coal-fired power, to challenge a growing rush to gas in the utility industry, and to transform our country’s energy sector into one that is clean, renewable, and modern.  Our docket includes litigation to secure, defend, and strengthen stringent environmental standards for power plants, lawsuits challenging government or industry failure to implement such standards, and challenges to utility proposals to spend hundreds of millions of dollars or more on aging coal plants rather than investing in clean energy.  Pursuant to our goal of a swift and equitable transition to 100% clean energy, the Coal Program is also increasingly challenging proposals for new gas-fired power plants, which are often proposed to replace retiring coal plants. For more information about the Coal Program, please visit

We are now accepting applications for part-time and full-time legal externs for the Spring 2021 academic semester. We will typically choose externs 1 month prior to the start of the applicable semester. Applicants should indicate on their cover letter if they need a decision by a certain date. These positions are open in our New York, Philadelphia or Chicago offices and will likely be a remote position as Earthjustice has temporarily closed offices and transitioned staff to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of now, all Earthjustice offices will remain closed through at least January 4, 2021.  Externs are expected to work on a variety of litigation projects for 20 to 37.5 hours per week, depending on whether the position is part-time or full-time. Applicants must be eligible to receive academic credit for the externship. We are seeking current law students who share a passion for justice and a healthy environment. 


Legal externs work under the direct supervision of attorneys in the development and prosecution of litigation and other advocacy. Externs will participate in a wide range of tasks, including:

  • Assisting in case investigation, legal research and discovery.
  • Preparing memoranda, briefs and other legal documents for administrative and judicial proceedings.


  • Currently enrolled in law school.
  • Demonstrated commitment to environmental protection or environmental justice.
  • Excellent research, analytic and writing skills.
  • Strong work ethic.
  • Initiative, creative thinking and the ability to work collegially with others.
  • Significant knowledge of environmental and administrative law is a plus.
  • Commitment of 20 hours per week, if part-time.
  • Commitment of at least 37.5 hours per week, if full-time.
  • Eligibility to receive academic credit from your law school.

Please note that this position does not offer compensation or benefits. We do offer academic credit.

To Apply:

Interested candidates should submit the following materials. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

  • Resume
  • Cover letter – In one page, address why you want to work for Earthjustice and any information about yourself that is not apparent or fully explained in the resume. Please note if you are interested in part-time or full-time work hours. Please note if you are eligible to receive academic credit.
  • Recent writing sample, preferably a legal brief or memorandum of no more than 10 pages that primarily reflects your work.
  • Unofficial law school transcript.
  • List of references, including at least one law professor or legal employer.

Applications are accepted and offers are made on a rolling basis, so please submit as soon as possible.

Please reach out to if you are having technical difficulties submitting your application.

No phone calls, drop-ins, or hard copies.