Environmental Externships


Each year, many students take advantage of the highly-respected Clinical Externship Program offered by the Center for Environmental, Energy, and Land Use Law, which includes many extern opportunities in the fields of Environmental and Land Use Law. Below are some of the environmental externship opportunities for Environmental Law Certificate students. Students, please visit the FSU College of Law Externships site on Canvas for the most current externships information and to apply.

City of Tallahassee – Environmental and Land Use

Credits: 4

The City Attorney's Office is the legal department for the City of Tallahassee, Florida. Land use externs will work on a variety of matters which may include planning and zoning, revisions to comprehensive plan, building permitting, site plan approval, variances, local environmental permitting, stormwater regulation, code enforcement and community redevelopment. Externs may attend meetings and prepare proposed orders or agenda materials for boards and committees including the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Commission, Board of Adjustments and Appeals, Downtown Improvement Authority, City of Tallahassee Community Redevelopment Agency, Canopy Roads Advisory Committee, Development Review Committee, Municipal Code Enforcement Board, Environmental Board and Tallahassee City Commission. Land use externs will perform research, perform analysis and provide opinions concerning city ordinances, state statutes and governing law. Externs may prepare or review real estate transactional documents, including easements and liens.

City of Tampa-Environmental and Land Use

Credits: 6

Students work with assistant city attorneys on a variety of legal issues in a metropolitan setting. Students are paired with attorneys based on their substantive area of interest and also with a litigator.  The City has ongoing environmental, land use, and water projects, making this a good place for a student pursuing an environmental law certificate.

Division of Administrative Hearings - Environmental

Credits: 6

Students are assigned to serve as an extern law clerk for an administrative law judge who primarily handles environmental cases at the Division of Administrative Hearings. Duties include legal research, drafting memoranda, and preparing orders. Students have an opportunity to improve their research, writing and analytical skills, and to gain an understanding of the jurisdiction and procedures of the Division of Administrative Hearings. Students gain exposure to substantive environmental law. 


Credits: 4

Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund is an independent, nonprofit, environmental law firm with nine regional offices across the U.S. The office provides free legal services to citizen groups and environmental organizations in cases involving forests, public lands, wildlife and habitat, communities and health, clean water, coasts and wetlands, clean air, trade and the environment. Students will assist attorneys with investigation of facts by conducting interviews, doing on-site observations, requesting and reviewing government records, and conducting research at libraries and on the internet. They will assist with ongoing litigation by drafting pleadings, motions, memoranda, briefs, discovery requests, stipulations, final judgments and orders. Students will also complete legal research on assigned topics, and submit oral and written findings to supervising attorneys. 

Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Office of General Counsel

Credits: 4-6

Students work under the supervision of one of the Deputy General Counsels of DEP. Students handle cases that involve representing the Department in administrative hearings. Students gain experience in legal research, drafting of pleadings and motions, preparation of expert witnesses, depositions and settlement negotiations. 

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Credits: 4

Students externing at the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are assigned to work in the Legal Office. Students will have the opportunity to work on a range of issues related to programs such as Freshwater and Marine Fisheries, Habitat and Species Conservation, Hunting and Game Management, Law Enforcement, including Captive Wildlife and Boating and Waterways, the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and the Office of Executive Director. Students primarily conduct legal research and draft memoranda. As available, students also may assist in judicial and administrative litigation, participate in agency rule making, attend commission meetings, draft agency legislation, and draft internal policies and procedures. Students have an opportunity to develop skills in fact gathering and field investigation, identifying and applying law to facts, counseling a government agency, and drafting memoranda. Students also have an opportunity to become more knowledgeable in the substantive areas of the law regulating wildlife in the state of Florida.

Florida Public Service Commission

Credits: 4

Students work in the Commission's General Counsel's office. Students’ duties include the preparation of legal memoranda and hearing preparation and execution. Students have an opportunity to develop an understanding of the advisory staff attorney's role and learn the law regulating utilities in Florida.

Florida Sea Grant

Credits: 3

Florida Sea Grant is a university-based program that supports research, education and extension to conserve coastal resources and enhance economic opportunities. It is a partnership of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Florida Board of Education, and Florida local governments. Statewide specialists assist state and local governments with topics including seafood safety, boating and waterway management, coastal conservation law, aquaculture and fisheries management. Our student will assist the Coastal Planning Specialist in Gainesville assess legal and fiscal liabilities through research and writing with the potential to apply knowledge learned to drafting of model or proposed local policies. The student may assist the Coastal Planning Specialist with project-related work on sea-level rise or coastal resilience projects at the local or state levels.

Humane Society of the United States

Credits: 4
(Washington, D.C., New York, San Francisco, Seattle)

Students are assigned to work in the Animal Protection Litigation Section in one of five core litigation groups:  Farm Animals, Companion Animals and Animal Cruelty, Wildlife, Legislation, and International Law & Trade.  Students also work with HSUS’ large network of pro bono attorneys.  Externs conduct research and write memoranda of law on a variety of legal issues related to the protection of animals.  They also assist with policy development by drafting comments on proposed legislation, and with litigation of cases. 

NextEra Energy/Florida Power & Light Company

Credits: 4-6

Tallahassee Office: The student will work with NextEra Energy/Florida Power & Light Company’s Environmental and Land Use Practice Group in Tallahassee and will research and write memoranda to assist attorneys with representation of the companies in regulatory matters before the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Public Service Commission and other agencies. Students may assist with power plant siting, pipeline siting, endangered species issues, water and air regulations, and other environmental legal topics. Students typically attend teleconferences, in-person meetings, hearings, and other events with their supervisor, including a tour of the company's headquarters in Juno Beach. Juno Beach Office: Students will work with the lawyers responsible for merger and acquisition transactions, implementing and improving compliance systems, and managing corporate finance and governance matters. In addition to completing assignments, students will be invited to attend meetings with attorneys.

Southwest Florida Water Management District

Credits: 4-6

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (“District”) is responsible for managing and protecting water resources in west-central Florida. The student will work with the District’s Office of General Counsel in legal issues related to managing water supply, protecting water quality and preserving natural systems that serve important water-related functions. The student will participate in legal research and will draft memos, motions, pleadings, briefs, easements, and deeds. The student will also take part in compliance and enforcement activities (researching statutory/regulatory requirements, interacting with staff, drafting letters, consent orders). He/she will also accompany attorneys to meetings, hearings, and depositions. The student will gain knowledge in state environmental law, state administrative law, and property law.

U.S. Department of Justice - Environment and Natural Resources Division

Credits: 6-10
(Seattle, WA, Washington, D.C.)

The Environmental Enforcement Section (EES) is responsible for representing the United States in federal civil enforcement of all major environmental statutes, including CERCLA, RCRA, Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. Students assist Justice trial attorneys by conducting research and drafting memoranda, discovery, motions and briefs. Students may participate in conference calls and strategy planning sessions with counsel and technical experts and attend depositions, negotiations or court hearings, if held in the Washington, D.C., area. This externship is available in the fall, spring and summer. Students are required to work 40 hours per week for 13 weeks.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Office of Regional Counsel

Credits: 6

The Office of Regional Counsel is the chief legal advisor to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the agency with primary responsibility for implementing the nation’s environmental laws. Students will be assigned to one of nine legal offices and will conduct research and write memoranda of law on a variety of environmental legal issues. Students may also assist with policy development by drafting comments on proposed legislation, and with litigation of cases. Offices of Regional Counsel are located in Atlanta (Region 4); Boston (Region 1); Chicago (Region 5); Dallas (Region 6); Denver (Region 8); New York City (Region 2); Philadelphia (Region 3); San Francisco (Region 9); and Seattle (Region 10).