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Environmental Law Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship Program

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Summer 2020 – $6,500 Stipend

The Environmental Law Section of the California Lawyers Association is seeking applicants for its Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship Program for Summer 2020. 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 2020 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, 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 2020 program will be made on a case-by-case basis and may or may not include these or similar entities.

See highlights from the 2019 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 2020 (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 send a completed application package, including the application form and additional required materials, to environmental@calawyers.org.

Deadline: A complete application package must be received by October 28, 2019.

Host a Fellow for a Summer 2020 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 2020. 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.

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