HLS offers a wide range of resources for students interested in exploring careers in environmental law. Students can gain work experience in environmental law through clinical opportunities, summer jobs, and post-graduate fellowships, as well as a variety of internships and externships throughout their time at HLS.
Harvard provides a variety of clinical opportunities in environmental law through the new Environmental Law & Policy Clinic (ELPC). The clinic coordinates numerous term-time externships, including government jobs with the Department of Justice, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Protection Agency; issue-oriented public interest work with the Conservation Law Foundation and the Clean Air Task Force; and community advocacy with Alternatives for Communities and the Environment.
“My clinical at the Clean Air Task Force (CATF) gave me a far richer understanding of environmental laws than I would have gained from simply reading the statutes and leading cases. Most importantly, I got to work with inspiring lawyers who know the laws and are working every day to ensure that they are enforced.”
—Christine Speidel, Class of ‘06
In addition to externships, ELPC offers a number of exciting “in-house” projects in environmental law each year. In 2007-2008, clinic students produced consumer guides for renewable energy options in New England, submitted comments on the Federal Trade Commission’s “green labeling” guidelines, and participated in case development for cutting-edge litigation. ELPC also offers a companion course introducing students to the realities of environmental law practice.
For more information on ELPC, contact Wendy Jacobs, Clinic Director, at wjacobs@law. Students can also explore environmental opportunities through the Government Lawyer and International Human Rights clinical programs.
HLS students can pursue a variety of summer jobs in environmental work. Many ELS members volunteer the summer after their first year to do public interest work, and many also volunteer the summer after their second year. The HLS Office of Public Interest Advising offers plenty of information for current and prospective students on environmental law positions in the U.S. and worldwide.
In past summers, ELS members have held jobs in government at the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency; at public interest groups including Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, Conservation Law Foundation, and the Center for International Environmental Law; and in many other environment-oriented positions. ELS members have also held positions at some of the nation’s top law firms.
“At Earthjustice’s Bozeman office, I spent the summer doing exciting and substantive work on the high-profile ‘roadless rule’ litigation, as well as numerous other interesting cases, all while looking out of my office window at the breathtaking Montana landscape that I explored on weekends.”
—Charley Scott, Class of ’06
Each year, ELS sponsors a summer job panel where students talk about their past jobs and offer advice and information to current students. In addition, ELS helps to organize an annual career panel which brings current environmental law practitioners to HLS to share their experiences and answer questions. Members of the ELS mailing list will receive information on the dates and locations of these panels.
Funding and Fellowships
For students committed to a career in environmental law, a number of funding opportunities are available for summer and post-graduate work. Opportunities include:
- the Covey Fellowship for summer public interest work in environmental law;
- the two-year Beagle Fellowship at Natural Resources Defense Council;
- the two-year EPA Region 1 Honors Program;
- the one-year fellowship at Environmental Law Institute;
- the Department of Justice’s Summer Law Intern Program and post-graduate Attorney General’s Honors Program
HLS offers guaranteed summer funding of at least $5,000 to students pursuing public interest work through the Summer Public Interest Funding program. In addition, under HLS’s new Public Service Initiative, students who spend at least one summer in public interest work and commit to work in public interest for five years after graduation do not have to pay third-year tuition. Contact the Office of Public Interest Advising to learn more about these opportunities.
HLS alumni working in environmental law are a key resource for current students considering careers in the field. Alumni participate in ELS projects and events, speak to and mentor students, and network with other graduates pursuing environmental law. If you are an HLS alumnus/a working or involved in the environmental field, please contact els@law to get involved in ELS activities. ELS also strongly encourages alumni to sign up with HLS’ Alumni Advising Directory as this is our primary resource for staying connected to our growing alumni network.