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Environmental Law Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship Program

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, Best Best & Krieger 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 | Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor of Law (UC Irvine)
2009 ELS Diversity and Inclusion Fellow at the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment University of California Berkeley School of Law

Camille Pannu

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

The application process is now closed for 2021. Check back periodically for updates on the 2022 application process.

For a PDF Brochure, click here.

Summer 2021 – $6,500 Stipend

The Environmental Law Section of the California Lawyers Association is seeking applicants for its Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship Program for Summer 2021. The program places law students in environmental law internship positions at participating public interest organizations and governmental agencies. Students are also paired with a practicing environmental lawyer to provide mentoring and are invited to participate in other environmental law related activities over the summer. Fellows receive a stipend of $6,500 for an 8-10 week summer internships. Further details are provided below.

Program Description

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 receives a $6,500 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 has historically awarded Fellowships to two to four students each year, although the number of fellowships for Summer 2021 will depend 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, Earthjustice, San Diego Coastkeeper, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the California Attorney General’s Office, the California District Circuit Prosecutor’s Project, the Center for Biological Diversity, Communities for a Better Environment, the California Air Resources Board, the California Energy Commission, and the State Water Resources Control Board. Specific placements for the 2021 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 501c(3) charitable organization.

See highlights from prior years’ Fellowship program here.

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 a $6,500 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 2021 (free registration).

Selection Criteria

  • Interest in environmental issues.
  • Leadership qualities and ability.
  • Academic record.
  • Background that is diverse or underrepresented in the legal profession (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); and/or background 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.

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.
  • An undergraduate transcript.
  • A law school transcript (except for first year law students).
  • 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 application materials and may include personal telephonic interviews by members of the selection committee. Applicants may also be interviewed by prospective employers.

Instructions: Please complete the application package.

Deadline: A complete application package must be received by October 26, 2020.

Host a Fellow for a Summer 2021 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 2021. 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 environmental@calawyers.org.

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

The Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship Program relies on sponsorships from our generous supporters from within the California environmental bar. Please consider making a contribution to help support this valuable program. To sponsor the program, please email environmental@calawyers.org.

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

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CLA Membership is $99 and includes one section. Additional sections are $99 each.

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