Environmental Externships

Environmental Law Externships

Available to:  2nd and 3rd year students

Environmental externships involve placement in a public or public interest law office to observe and work on environmental or natural resource issues while participating in a class to learn key environmental practice skills and to reflect upon the experience and observations. Although the substantive focus is on environmental and natural resource issues, an environmental externship would be valuable to any student who hopes to engage in a complex administrative or regulatory practice.

Pre- or Co-Requisites: ONE of Administrative Law or Environmental Law

Course: Environmental Practice (2 cr., graded, Fall). This course focuses on the practical, procedural and strategic aspects of practicing environmental and natural resources law through readings and simulated exercises. The course uses exercises designed around environmental statutes, such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Community Right-to-Know Act, and CERCLA, to build and develop necessary practice skills. Exercises might include client counseling, witness interviewing, drafting administrative and citizen suit complaints, settlement negotiations and rulemaking practice. Note:  This course is not a substitute for the substantive survey courses in environmental law or natural resources law. Registration is not limited to environmental externship students, but preference is given to externship students if space is limited.

Placements (P/F; Fall and/or Spring): Students can enroll for 2 – 5 credits. Placements may include:

  • Office of the Solicitor U.S. Department of the Interior Students will work with attorneys in the Solicitor’s Office on public land and natural resource law on behalf of various entities within the Department of the Interior (including potentially the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs and National Park Service). (Subject to individual acceptance by the Solicitor’s office.)
  • Southern Utah Wilderness AllianceSUWA is a non-partisan, non-profit organization working full time to defend Utah’s redrock wilderness.
  • Breathe Utah – A non-profit organization seeking real and practical solutions to Utah’s air quality problem.
  • Environmental Dispute Resolution ProgramEDR Program provides students with essential negotiation and conflict management skills, as well as opportunities to practice environmental dispute resolution and collaborative problem-solving techniques.  The clinic student in 2015 participated in mediations with the Green River grazing dispute.
  • Utah Clean EnergyUtah Clean Energy is a non-profit organization whose mission is to lead and accelerate the clean energy transformation. Internship duties include legal research and writing regarding: 1) state and federal legal issues pertinent to electric utility regulation, renewable energy and climate change; and 2) local wind ordinances in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.
  • Other placements may be arranged on an individual basis.

Faculty: Professors Megan Houdeshel and Steve Jones

Registration & Placement: Externship availability is limited. Students may enroll in the Environmental Practice course online. To apply for externship placement, students must complete the application form and submit it with their résumé and a short statement of interest.

LAW 7260-001: Environmental Practice     Fall: Wed. 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

LAW 7261-001: Environmental Clinic          Fall and/or Spring: (2 – 5 credits)

Additional work completed in certain externships WILL APPLY to the Pro Bono Initiative certificate.

Placement and Course qualify for credit toward the Environmental Law Certificate.