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Legal Intern

Youth Conservation Corp

WildEarth Guardians 2018 Summer Legal Intern Opportunities

Position Summary:

WildEarth Guardians is a western regional environmental advocacy organization with over 200,000 members and online supporters dedicated to protecting and restoring the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health of the American West. WildEarth Guardians is now recruiting law students for summer 2018 to assist with case development and litigation to protect endangered species, reform public land and water policy, and curb destructive energy practices. Intern positions available in 2018 include working in the Wild Rivers, Wild Places, Wildlife and Climate and Energy programs in our Seattle, Portland, and Denver offices.

Why spend a summer with WildEarth Guardians?

Guardians develops and executes cutting edge litigation that serves as a lever for securing stronger protections for wildlife, wild places, waterways, and the health of the American West. Our recent wins include:

  • Guardians successfully overturned some of the largest coal leases ever approved by the federal government earlier this fall. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that BLM violated federal law when it ignored the climate implications of leasing 2 billion tons of coal from the Powder River Basin in northeastern Wyoming. WildEarth Guardians v. USBLM, 10th Circuit Court of Appeals No 15-8109 (September 15, 2017).
  • Guardians won its challenge to the Department of Justice’s flawed ‘McKittrick Policy’ under which the government only prosecuted those who killed animals on the Endangered Species Act’s list of imperiled species when it could prove the killer knew the exact biological identity of the species s/he was harming. In June 2017, the Court invalidated the McKittrick policy. WildEarth Guardians v. USDOJ, 4:13-cv-000392-DCB (United States District Court for the District of Arizona), at 11.
  • Guardians successfully helped defend the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to designate off-highway vehicle routes and areas on the Santa Fe National Forest, reducing the motorized system by more than 5,000 miles to better protect wildlife and natural resources, and minimize conflicts with quiet use. 

Key Responsibilities:

Under the supervision of one of the thirteen attorneys on WildEarth Guardians’ program and legal staff, legal interns will assist with various aspects of advocacy, case development, and litigation. Primary responsibilities include conducting legal and factual research, crafting key messaging, and developing case strategy and legal theories.


WildEarth Guardians is looking for self-motivated applicants with excellent legal research and writing skills and a demonstrated commitment to, or interest in, public interest environmental advocacy. Students who have completed their second year of law school are strongly preferred, but truly exceptional students who have completed only one year of law school may be considered. Foundational coursework or applied experience in environmental, federal public lands, and administrative law is a plus. We prefer interns commit to a minimum of 30 hours per week during the summer months.


Internships are unpaid. For-credit externship opportunities may be available in coordination with the applicant’s law school. We are willing to work with interns to secure outside funding.

The following offices are currently accepting intern applications for the summer of 2018:

  • Denver, Colorado (Wild Rivers Position) – The intern will have the opportunity to work in our Wild Rivers program, which works to protect and restore rivers throughout the west. This position will likely focus on either our Rio Grande: America’s Great River campaign or our Colorado: The American Nile campaign depending on programmatic need and the intern’s experience and interests. These campaigns both work to protect and restore flows to these iconic rivers, reform western water policy, and fight against new dam and infrastructure projects. Substantive work may include strategic legal advocacy under the ESA, CWA, NEPA, FOIA, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and state and local water law and policies.
  • Denver, Colorado (Wildlife Litigation Position) – This litigation-focused intern will work with a staff attorney in the Denver office. The intern will work primarily on issues in our Wildlife Program to realize Guardians’ goal of protecting and restoring species in the West. The intern in this position may research and draft memos and portions of briefs using various statutes and regulations, likely including the ESA and NEPA. They may also assist with open records act requests, document review, and other tasks necessary to developing and carrying out litigation. Strong, independent legal research and writing skills and some knowledge of environmental and/or administrative law are required.
  • Portland, Oregon (Wild Places Position) – Work in the Portland office will focus on WildEarth Guardians’ Rewilding Campaign, within the Wild Places program (see description, above). This intern may also take on policy and advocacy efforts to promote restoration work on our National Forests.
  • Portland, Oregon (Litigation Position) – This intern will work primarily on litigation with the staff attorney in the Portland office. The work may include all of Guardians’ programs. The intern may research and draft pleadings, motions, memos and briefs invoking a number of federal environmental statutes and regulations. The intern may also assist with open records act requests, document review, and other tasks related to litigation. Strong, independent legal research and writing skills are required. Knowledge of civil procedure, environmental law, and administrative law are preferred.
  • Seattle, Washington (Wild Places Position) – The intern for the Seattle position will work primarily on issues in the Keep Public Lands In Public Hands campaign within the Wild Places program. The Wild Places program focuses on various threats to our public lands, with our public lands campaign concentrating on opposing administrative and legislative efforts to privatize public lands. Work for this position may include reviewing administrative records, assisting with FOIA requests, and researching and drafting memos involving NEPA, FLPMA, National Monuments Act of 1906, and bills in Congress.
  • Remote Location (Wild Places Position) – The intern will work with the Wild Places program to defend wild places and habitat for wildlife around the West, using ESA, NEPA, NFMA, FLPMA, and more. The intern in this position may review administrative records, assist with FOIA request and review of documents, and research and draft memos and portions of briefs using various statutes and regulations. The intern may be located anywhere, although a location in the West is preferred. Oversight will be conducted via phone and video-conference, with at least one in-person session during the summer.

To apply:

Please submit the following in a single PDF file to cover letter, resume, unofficial transcript, one recent writing sample (preferably a legal brief or memorandum of no more than ten pages that primarily reflects your work), and three references. The subject line of the email and your cover letter should indicate your preferred office location(s) and interest area. Interested students may apply to multiple offices with one application.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis starting on Monday, November 20, 2017. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible if you are interested a position.

WildEarth Guardians is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to advancing internal and external diversity, equity and inclusion. Applicants with experience in these areas are encouraged to apply and highlight that experience in their application materials. WildEarth Guardians encourages all qualified applicants regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status or protected veteran status to apply.

Click here to download a PDF copy of this job announcment.

2018 Youth Conservation Valle de Oro National Wildlife Wetland
and Riparian Improvement Project


From January 29, 2018, until late April 2018, WildEarth Guardians is organizing a Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program in New Mexico. The work project will be located at Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in South Albuquerque. The project will focus on harvesting plant material from the Bosque del Apache NWR, transporting material, and planting material in the newly created Valle de Oro NWR. The project will also include planting wetland seed plugs, native grass seeding, trail construction, and noxious weed removal. Camping may be necessary for two to three weeks while harvesting at the Bosque del Apache NWR. WildEarth Guardians’ YCC program strives to provide employment and job training for youth interested in a natural resource management career. The program is a combination of training and fieldwork in the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge. The WildEarth Guardians YCC program is funded through the New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps Commission.


WildEarth Guardians invites individuals between the ages of 18 and 25, who will be able to commute daily to south Albuquerque, and the capacity to camp near the Bosque del Apache NWR, to apply for the YCC program. Applicants must be unemployed at the time of application and New Mexico residents. WildEarth Guardians will select 8-10 crew members (ages 18-25).


The WildEarth Guardians YCC program includes training opportunities throughout the work period in the areas of forestry, hydrology, wildlife biology and rangeland sciences. Work projects will require extensive manual labor and may include forestry work, fencing, weed removal, and planting native vegetation. Participants will receive training, which includes, Forest Workers Safety Certification Course, Chainsaw Certification Course, and First Aid/CPR.


All crew members will be required to be available on the jobsite Monday through Friday, starting on Monday, January 29, 2018, for orientation, training, and work through the end of April 2018.


Crew members will commute daily to the jobsite. The following equipment must be provided by the corps member:

  • Solid work boots – preferably steel toe
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Rain/snow gear
  • Long pants
  • Daily lunch
  • Camping may be an option near the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, south of Socorro, NM.
  • Hourly wage of $11.50 with an opportunity of a pay increase based on performance
  • Training in restoration ecology skills that are relevant to a variety of careers
  • First Aid and CPR certification
  • The ability to work as a team to improve the health and utility of New Mexico’s public lands


  • Hourly wage of $11.50 with an opportunity of a pay increase based on performance
  • Training in restoration ecology skills that are relevant to a variety of careers
  • First Aid and CPR certification
  • The ability to work as a team to improve the health and utility of New Mexico’s public lands


You can get more information by contacting Jim Matison via e-mail at
Click here to download a PDF copy of this job announcment,


You may obtain an application here.

Applications must be received by WildEarth Guardians no later than January 10, 2018.

Applications may be submitted via email to or sent via U.S. Mail to:

WildEarth Guardians
Attn: Jim Matison
516 Alto Street
Santa Fe, NM 87501


We will review all applications and select candidates for interviews immediately after the January 10 deadline. We will call you if you are selected for an interview. Interviews will be conducted during the following week. Successful applicants will be invited to participate in the program.