CEQ Legal Clerkship

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has a competitive legal clerkship program and recruits clerks each spring, summer, and fall.  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:


Start and End Dates Application Deadlines
Fall August - January Last Friday in April (4/29/16)
Spring January - May  First Friday in September (9/2/16)
Summer May- August Last Friday in October (10/28/16)

CEQ has law clerkship openings for the Spring of 2017 (12-16 weeks each), and is accepting applications from highly motivated second and third year law students and recent graduates. Applications will be reviewed as they are received on a rolling basis. Clerks are supervised by 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 (NEPA). 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, and general law issues; (2) Tracking Federal agency actions on environmental 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 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 environmental law, administrative law, legal research and writing, and statutory interpretation coursework, and whose work experience demonstrates a commitment to environmental, energy, or natural resources issues. CEQ also requires a minimum commitment of 32 hours per week, and CEQ strongly prefers a full-time commitment of forty hours per week. CEQ will work with students who seek school credit for their uncompensated, volunteer service to CEQ.

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

Prepare the materials in the check-list below and combeint hem into a signle PDF file addressed to the CEQ Deputy General Counsel, Marna McDermott. Name the PDF file using the following convention, indicating whether you are applying to the Spring or Summer class: Last Name, First Name – 2017 Spring Clerkship Application; e.g., "Smith, Jane – 2017 Spring Clerkship Application." Email the PDF file to internships@ceq.eop.gov, indicating in the email subject line that you are applying for the Spring Law Clerkship; e.g., "Spring 2017 Law Clerkship Application."

CEQ will contact selected applications to interview. Should you need to hear from CEQ sooner, please advise us of this fact by emailing internships@ceq.eop.gov or calling the CEQ mainline at (202) 395-5750 and asking for Marna McDermott.  

Required Application Materials:

Your cover letter should address the following: (1) interest in environment, energy, and/or natural resources issues; (2) relevant coursework (e.g., Environmental Law, Administrative Law, Statutory Interpretation, and Legal Research and Writing); and (3) project management, leadership, and/or teamwork experience.  Your cover letter (no longer than one page) should be addressed to CEQ Deputy General Counsel, Marna McDermott. 

Your list of references should include three individuals who are able to speak to your legal research, writing, 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 number, email address, and relationship with you for all references. 

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