Law Student Internship & Externship Programs

Clean Wisconsin offers law students from any law school the opportunity to learn first-hand about the practice of environmental law. Students participating in the clinical program learn valuable practice skills and apply their coursework in administrative law, environmental law, natural resources law, energy law, 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. Clean Wisconsin aims to provide law students with “hands-on” experience that will prepare them for real world environmental law practice. Students may also have the opportunity to work with Clean Wisconsin’s expert legislative, policy, and science staff, who provide invaluable support to Clean Wisconsin’s legal team.

Some examples of legal internship work with Clean Wisconsin include:

Water Quantity and Quality. Clean Wisconsin is focused on protecting the State’s most precious natural resource: its water. We’re working to improve the State’s management of water resources, both from a water quality and a water quantity perspective. Clean Wisconsin analyzes and responds to proposed legislation to ensure that Wisconsin’s waters are protected and not compromised by short-sighted laws. Clean Wisconsin also protects water by challenging permits issued by DNR that violate the law and endanger Wisconsin’s waters by failing to prevent harmful contamination of rivers, lakes, groundwater, and private wells, and by allowing enormous groundwater withdrawals that are causing rivers, lakes, and streams to recede and dry up.

Cleaning Up the Grid and Mitigating Climate Change. 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 fossil fuels and toward increased renewable energy production, and reduce electricity sector pollution. Legal interns work with our attorneys to 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. Interns may also assist staff in advancing policy initiatives at the DNR, EPA, or other fora.

Summer Legal Internship Program

Our summer legal internship program is open to students from any law school as a full-time summer positions. Law students work 40 hours per week during the summer, providing the opportunity to explore a variety of environmental law topics and practice areas in depth. Clean Wisconsin attorneys and staff provide skills training and other educational opportunities during the summer. Students also have the option to design and complete a research project over the course of their internship to pursue their specific interests in environmental law.

Most summer interns receive funding through public interest grants available from their law schools. Additional funding may be available on a case-by-case basis.

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. 

If you are interested in applying for the summer clinical program, please send a cover letter, resume, unofficial transcript, and writing sample to Staff Attorney Brett Korte. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis with a deadline of February 21.

Fall and Spring Semester Externship Program

Our clinical program is also open to UW-Madison students as a semester-long for-credit externship. Semester externs may register for a 3- to 7-credit externship. Students earn one credit per 45 hours of work completed.

Interested law students from other schools are encouraged to reach out to discuss potential opportunities.

If you are interested in applying for the semester clinical program, please send a cover letter, resume, unofficial transcript, and writing sample to Staff Attorney Brett Korte. Applications are due:

  • Fall externship: August 1
  • Spring externship: December 1