Clinical Program for Law Students

Clean Wisconsin offers law students from any law school the opportunity to learn about and practice environmental law. Our clinical program is open to UW-Madison students as a semester-long for-credit externship or to students from any law school as a full-time volunteer summer internship. Most summer interns receive funding through public interest grants available from their law schools.

Students participating in the clinical program learn valuable practice skills and apply their coursework in administrative law, natural resources law, energy law, political science, and many other areas. Students work side by side with Clean Wisconsin’s in-house attorneys to analyze legislative proposals, participate in administrative proceedings, draft discovery, motions, testimony, and briefs, and participate in hearings. Students are responsible for legal research, writing and drafting memos. Clean Wisconsin aims to provide law students with “hands-on” experience that will prepare them for real world environmental law practice.

Semester externs may register for either a 3- to 7-credit externship. Students earn one credit per 45 hours of work completed. Law students work 40 hours per week during the summer, which provides the opportunity to explore a variety of environmental law topics and practice areas in depth. Some examples of internship work with Clean Wisconsin include:

Agriculture and the environment Bring your background in agricultural science, farming, sustainable food systems or food policy to effect change in Wisconsin’s largest industry. Clean Wisconsin is leading the charge in some of Wisconsin’s most innovative projects working to reduce phosphorus in agricultural runoff. We are also working to improve Wisconsin’s management of groundwater resources, both from a water quality and a water quantity perspective. In 2015, this work will likely have a strong legislative component, but will also have some work reviewing permits issued by DNR, and participating in contested case hearings.

Cleaning up the grid Developing safe, reliable, and clean energy infrastructure is a critical component to improving air and water quality and addressing climate change. Clean Wisconsin’s energy work covers local, state, and federal initiatives to improve energy efficiency, move our electricity generation away from coal and toward increased renewable energy production, and to set a strong policy to reduce electricity sector pollution. Work side by side with our attorneys as we represent Clean Wisconsin in utility rate cases and construction cases at the Public Service Commission and permit appeals at the Division of Hearings and Appeals, and work on policy initiatives at the DNR and EPA.

Mining in Wisconsin Mining in Wisconsin has been an issue that is recently on the rise. With significant legislation passed in 2011 that rolls back environmental protections for iron mining, a huge proliferation of the under-regulated sand mining industry, and future legislative attention on our existing protections against environmental devastation caused by metallic mineral mining, this area is ripe for strong environmental advocacy right now. Interns and externs will likely review environmental impact reports submitted in conjunction with a high-profile iron mine proposal in Iron County, identify the best opportunities to protect the resources at stake, participate in legislative strategy, and follow emerging issues in mining as they develop in 2017.

If you are interested in applying for the clinical program, please send a cover letter, resume, unofficial transcript, and writing sample to Legal Director Katie Nekola. Applications are due:

  • Fall externship: August 1
  • Spring externship: December 20
  • Summer program: February 1

UW-Madison and Marquette students who are interested in applying for the summer internship should participate in the Public Interest Interview Program sponsored by those two schools. More information is available here. 

Clinical Program for Law Students

Clean Wisconsin offers law students from any law school the opportunity to learn about and practice environmental law. Get more information here.

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