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Legal Clerkships

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has a competitive legal clerkship program and recruits unpaid clerks for its spring, summer, and fall semester schedules.  CEQ accepts applications from prospective clerks on a rolling basis; however, due to the high volume of applications that we typically receive, we encourage applicants to abide by the following dates and deadlines:

Internship Time Table

CEQ has legal clerkship openings each spring and fall semester, as well as each summer.  Clerks are supervised by attorneys within CEQ’s Office of the General Counsel and provide critical research and writing assistance to both legal and policy staff on a variety of matters pertinent to CEQ’s functions, including oversight of the National Environmental Policy Act.  Through CEQ’s participation in policy processes across the federal government, clerks have the opportunity to perform diverse, substantive legal work, including (1) drafting memoranda on environmental, energy, natural resources, infrastructure, and general law issues; (2) tracking federal agency actions on environmental and infrastructure issues; (3) attending interagency working group meetings; and (4) assisting with responses to Freedom of Information Act requests and other inquiries regarding CEQ’s activities.  Clerks may also have the opportunity to help advise CEQ’s policy teams on legal issues and to analyze significant draft regulations through CEQ’s participation in the interagency regulatory review process under Executive Order 12866.


CEQ seeks second and third year law students and recent law school graduates who are highly motivated, willing to contribute where needed, and able to exercise professional judgment and maturity.  Additionally, applicants must be U.S. Citizens. There are no curricular requirements for selection as a law clerk; however, CEQ prefers applicants who have completed coursework in environmental law, administrative law, legal research and writing, and statutory interpretation, and who demonstrate a commitment to the environmental, energy, or natural resource arenas. During the Fall and Spring terms, CEQ requires a minimum commitment of 16 hours per week and prefers a commitment of 30+ hours per week.  Summer internships require a minimum commitment of 32 hours per week with a preference for applicants who can be available full-time for 40 hours per week. CEQ will work with students who seek school credit for their uncompensated service to CEQ.

Note: the White House has a zero-tolerance policy for drug use.  Clerks will be required to take a drug test prior to beginning a clerkship.  Failure to pass the drug test will result in immediate disqualification.


Prepare the materials in the check-list below and combine them into a single PDF file addressed to Howard Sun, Attorney Advisor.  Name the PDF file using the following convention, indicating whether you are applying to the spring, summer, or fall program: Last Name, First Name.YEAR SEMESTER.Clerkship Application (e.g., "Smith, Jane.2017.Fall.Clerkship Application").  Email the PDF file to, indicating in the email subject line that you are applying for the Legal Clerkship Program (e.g., "Spring 2017 Law Clerkship Application").

CEQ will contact selected applicants to interview.  Should you need to hear from CEQ by a certain deadline, please advise us of this in your email or by calling the CEQ mainline at (202) 395-5750 and asking for Howard Sun.  

Required Application Materials

  • Application form
  • Cover letter (1 page maximum)
  • Resume (1 page maximum)
  • References (see instructions below)
  • Law school transcript (most recent; an unofficial transcript is acceptable)
  • Writing sample (3-5 pages maximum)

Applicant references should include three individuals who are able to speak to the applicant’s legal research and writing skills, and ability to work well in a fast-paced office environment.  This list must include at least one law school professor and one supervising attorney.  Please list the names, titles, organizations, phone numbers, email addresses, and relationships to the applicant for all references