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Environmental Law Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship Program—
Co-sponsored with the California Lawyers Foundation

**This Application Period for 2024 Fellowships is now closed**

The Environmental Law Section of the California Lawyers Association is pleased to announce its Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship program for Summer 2024. The program provides opportunities for law students from diverse backgrounds to work in governmental and public interest environmental law organizations in order to develop their interests and skills in the field of environmental law. 

The Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship program gives law students a chance to spend 8 to 10 weeks over the summer practicing environmental, energy, land use, and/or natural resources law at a participating government agency or public interest organization. Each participant will receive an $8,000 stipend. The Section assists students with placement at the governmental agency or public interest organization and matches the Fellows with mentors who practice in the field. The Section also coordinates gatherings and provides opportunities for Fellows to meet other Section members and attorneys who practice in environmental, energy, land use, and natural resources law fields, and it invites each Fellow to attend the Section’s Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite® in October following the Fellowship with free conference registration.

The Fellowship program is designed to help foster diversity within the Environmental Law Section. The Section strongly encourages applications from law students from diverse or underrepresented backgrounds (including but not limited to diversity arising from the applicant’s sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, color, race, religion, ancestry, national origin, familial status, marital status, mental or physical disability, or genetic information); as well as from students from backgrounds that may have presented obstacles to accessing the legal profession, such as family financial hardship while growing up, being the first in one’s family to go to college, or geographical circumstances such as coming from a rural or inner-city background that limited social interaction with lawyers. The Section will consider such information, as described in the applicant’s personal statement, as part of the selection criteria. Other selection criteria include interest in environmental issues, personal and leadership qualities, and academic record.

The program is open to all law students interested in practicing environmental law in California. Preference is given to first- and second-year students; however, third-year students who are not taking the Bar exam during the summer will also be considered. Students must be members of the Environmental Law Section of the California Lawyers Association in order to be eligible for the program. The California Lawyers Association allows law students up to three free one-year Section memberships, and students who are not already members will be required to join the Environmental Law Section if they are selected for a Fellowship.

The program awarded Fellowships to ten students in 2024. The number of Fellowships for Summer 2024 has not been finalized and will depend in part on the level of sponsorship participation. The Section will coordinate student placements at agencies and organizations interested in participating in the program. In making placements, the Section expects to build off of its experiences from earlier years of the program as well as its prior participation in the American Bar Association’s summer fellowship program. Prior placements have included various agencies and organizations in California, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, Earthjustice, Communities for a Better Environment, Sierra Club, NRDC, the California Attorney General’s Office, the California Public Utilities Commission, as well as other government agencies and non-profit organizations. Specific placements for the 2024 program will be made on a case-by-case basis and may or may not include these or similar entities.

This program is co-sponsored by the California Lawyers Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION FELLOWSHIP – SUMMER 2024

The Environmental Law Section of the California Lawyers Association (CLA) is pleased to announce its Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship program for Summer 2024. The program is co-sponsored with the California Lawyers Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The program provides opportunities for law students to work in governmental and public interest environmental law organizations in order to develop their interests and skills in the environmental law field. The program is designed to foster diversity in Environmental Law Section membership, which is one of the core objectives in the Section’s Mission Statement. To that end, the Section encourages students from diverse backgrounds to become environmental lawyers and join the California environmental bar, with the goal that over time our Section membership will better reflect the diversity of all Californians. 

The Fellowship:

  • An 8-10 week internship as a Diversity & Inclusion Law Fellow at a participating government agency or a public interest organization in the field of environmental, energy, land use, or natural resources law, with an $8,000 stipend.
  • Assignment of a mentor from the Environmental Law Section.
  • Participation in Environmental Law Section and local environmental bar association events as available.
  • Scholarship to the Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite®, October 2024 (free registration).

Selection Criteria:

  • Interest in environmental issues.
  • Leadership qualities and ability.
  • Academic record.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Open to all law students interested in practicing environmental law in California. Preference will be given to first- and second-year students; however, third-year students who are not taking the Bar exam during the summer will also be considered.
  • Law students must be members of the CLA Environmental Law Section in order to participate in the Program. The CLA allows law students up to three free one-year Section memberships; students who are not already members will be required to join the Environmental Law Section if selected for a Fellowship.

Application Package:

  • A completed application form
  • A resume.
  • Undergraduate transcript(s).
  • A law school transcript (except for first year law students).
  • Non-law school graduate transcript(s), if any
  • A personal statement (not to exceed 2 pages) describing how the applicant meets the selection criteria.
  • Two references, including one from a law school professor.

Fellowship selections will be based on the application materials and may include personal telephonic interviews by members of the selection committee. Applicants may also be interviewed by prospective employers.

Instructions: Please submit a completed application package, including the application form and additional required materials, through the Environmental Law Section website. Please direct any questions to Pam Amundsen, Section Manager, at environmental@calawyers.org.

Deadline: A complete application package must be received by October 30, 2023.

CLIFFORD THOMAS LEE MEMORIAL FELLOWSHIP

Beginning with the 2024 class of the Environmental Law Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship, one fellowship each year will be designated as the Clifford Thomas Lee Memorial Fellowship. This fellowship designation was created to honor Clifford Thomas Lee, one of California’s most influential and respected water law experts, who passed away in November 2022. Mr. Lee was also an Advisor to the Executive Committee of the Environmental Law Section of the California Lawyers Association and the 2021 recipient of the Section’s Lifetime Achievement Award. A fireside chat with Mr. Lee, filmed for the 2021 Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite®, covers his myriad contributions to California water law beginning in 1977 and continuing for more than 40 years during his career as a Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice.

The Clifford Thomas Lee Memorial Fellowship will be chosen each year by the fellowship’s selection committee. Fellows receiving this designation will typically exemplify one or more of the following qualities that characterized Mr. Lee’s prestigious career:

  • an interest in focusing on water law, water quality and conservation, or similar issues after graduation;
  • a commitment to a career in public service or public interest environmental law after graduation; and/or
  • an interest in a summer placement with the Natural Resources Section of the California Department of Justice.

Prospective fellows will not need to submit additional materials to be considered for this fellowship designation, although they are encouraged to discuss these qualities in their personal statement to the extent relevant.

If you represent a prospective sponsor and are interested in establishing a one-time or recurring contribution to support the Clifford Thomas Lee Memorial Fellowship, you are encouraged to contact Pam Amundsen, Section Manager, at environmental@calawyers.org or complete the pledge form below and include a note in the “Questions or Comments” section that the contribution will be designated for this fellowship. 

Further Information:

If you have any questions about the Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship Program, please contact the Environmental Law Section Manager, California Lawyers Association, 400 Capitol Mall, Suite 650, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 516-1760, environmental@calawyers.org.

Host a Fellow for a Summer 2024 Internship!

The Environmental Law Section is seeking governmental agencies and public interest organizations whose work involves environment, energy, land use, and/or resources law and who may be interested in hosting a Diversity & Inclusion Fellow over the summer of 2024. If your agency or organization would like to learn more about participation in the program, please email the name of the agency or organization, and the name, phone number and email address of a contact person to Pam Amundsen, Section Manager, at environmental@calawyers.org.  

Make a Contribution to Help Fund the Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship Program!

Interested in shaping the next generation? Consider sponsoring the 2024 DEI Fellowship.

The Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship program relies on sponsorships from our generous supporters from within the California environmental bar. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help support this valuable program. To sponsor the program, please contact Pam Amundsen, Section Manager, at environmental@calawyers.org.

All contributions should be made payable to the California Lawyers Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Please indicated the ELS Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship Program on the check to ensure it is designated for this purpose.  

I want to sponsor the 2024 DEI Fellowship!


    I will pledge at the following amount:
    Platinum - $3,500Gold - $2,500Silver - $1,000Bronze - $750Other

    Thank you to our 2024 Sponsor

    DowneyBrand

    What do our Fellowship Recipients have to say about the program?

    “I had a wonderful experience with the fellowship and highly encourage interested law students to apply. It provided me with great experience and professional connections, and was an excellent springboard for a career in public interest, environmental law. I also met wonderful mentors who continue to guide me and promote my career to this day.”

    Miles Hogan | Assistant City Attorney, City of Ventura
    2010 ELS Diversity and Inclusion Fellow at the California Attorney General’s Office
    University of California Davis School of Law

    Miles Hogan

    “My law school didn’t have an environmental clinic and I was looking for ways to get some real world environmental law experience, specifically focusing on environmental justice issues. I was fortunate to be placed in Los Angeles where I met many of the people I work with today. Without the relationships I established through the program I doubt I would be able to do something I am so passionate about now.”

    Jennifer Ganata | Senior Staff Attorney, Communities for a Better Environment
    2006 ELS Diversity and Inclusion Fellow at the City of Los Angeles
    City University of New York School of Law

    Jennifer Ganata

    “My job is, and has been, a perfect fit for me because it blended my general interest in protecting the environment and desire for continued professional development as a lawyer. I would not have gotten this job without the ELS Diversity and Inclusion fellowship. With the help of my fellowship, I was able to afford to take an unpaid internship at the California Office of the Attorney General my 1L summer. That internship sparked my interest in becoming a Deputy Attorney General for the State of California and led me to apply a few years after graduating from law school.”

    Philip M. Hoos | Deputy Attorney General, California Attorney General’s Office | Natural Resources Law Section
    2010 ELS Diversity and Inclusion Fellow at the California Attorney General’s Office
    UCLA School of Law

    Philip Hoos

    “Through the Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship I gained meaningful litigation experience on timely and significant environmental issues. This practical experience was a fantastic base to build upon in future internships and externships. Additionally, I met several enthusiastic and inspiring mentors who supported my aspirations and helped me navigate law school and my employment search upon graduation.”

    Drew Saruwatari | Senior Staff Attorney, Department of Pesticide Regulation
    2010 ELS Diversity and Inclusion Fellow at the U.S. Department of Justice
    University of California Davis School of Law

    Drew Saruwatari

    “Applying for the fellowship was the most significant decision I made during law school.  Not only did I have an amazing summer internship experience, but I was also provided with great mentors through the fellowship and internship.  I also believe that my experience as a fellow had a snowball effect, making me a more competitive candidate in applying for later internships, jobs, and clerkships.  Most importantly, the fellowship experience helped solidify my interest in environmental law and helped me carve a career path that has been both rewarding and exciting.”

    Heraclio Pimentel, Jr. | Associate, Stoel Rives LLP
    2016 ELS Diversity and Inclusion Fellow at the United States Environmental Protection Agency
    University of California Davis School of Law

    Heraclio Pimentel, Jr.

    “The Environmental Law Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship made it possible for me to pursue a career in environmental justice lawyering. The fellowship enabled me to spend two summers with public interest environmental justice organizations, which launched my career as an EJ attorney.” 

    Camille Pannu | Associate Clinical Professor of Law at Columbia Law School
    2009 ELS Diversity and Inclusion Fellow at the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment University of California Berkeley School of Law

    Camille Pannu

    Congratulations to the 2023 Environmental Law Diversity and Inclusion Fellows

    The Environmental Law Section is delighted to introduce our 2023 Diversity and Inclusion Fellows. Each of the Section’s Fellows will spend 8 to 10 weeks this summer practicing environmental, energy, land use, and/or natural resources law at a participating government agency of public interest organization, and will receive a $6,500 stipend from the Section and Fellowship sponsors. Please join us in congratulating our outstanding 2023 class of Fellows.

    Alexander Lopez headshot
    Ananya Raghavan headshot
    Andrew Hallak headshot

    Alexander Lopez
    Communities for a Better Environment
    (Richmond)

    Ananya Raghavan
    Governor’s Office of Planning and Research
    (Sacramento / Remote)

    Andrew Hallak
    California Dept. of Justice – Land Use and Conservation Section
    (Los Angeles)

    Bridget De La Torre headshot
    Daija Chambers headshot
     Elisa Rivas headshot

    Bridget De La Torre
    Communities for a Better Environment
    (Huntington Park)

    Daija Chambers
    Sierra Club
    (Oakland)

    Elisa Rivas
    CA Public Utilities Commission
    (San Francisco)

     Grace Li headshot
    Meleana Chun-Moy headshot

    Grace Li
    US EPA Region 9
    (San Francisco)

    Meleana Chun-Moy
    Natural Resources Defense Council
    (Santa Monica)

     Michaela Anang headshot
    Sarah Royer headshot

    Michaela Anang
    Earthjustice
    (San Francisco)

    Sarah Royer
    Earthjustice
    (Los Angeles)

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