Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about our associate attorney and intern programs? You’ll find answers to the most frequently askes questions here.

Associate Attorneys

What is the role of Associate Attorneys at SELC?

Our Associate Attorneys work with more senior attorneys on litigation and legal advocacy in state and federal courts and before regulatory agencies.  Because a top goal of our Associate Attorney program is to train the next generation of outstanding environmental lawyers, we strive to provide our Associates with valuable, “hands-on” experiences that will provide them with a solid foundation for the rest of their careers.  They are typically exposed to multiple practice areas, and responsibilities include not just complex legal research and writing, but also taking part in the legal proceedings and advocacy activities in which SELC is involved, and participating in strategy formulation with partners and clients.

How long is the term?

Associates are typically hired for a two-year term with the option for a third year.  Although our Associate Attorney program is intended to help Associates develop a set of core legal skills to take with them at the end of their terms with SELC, it is often the case that SELC’s Associates are top candidates for our more permanent Staff Attorney positions that occasionally become available.

Who may apply? 

SELC’s Associate Attorney positions are open to third-year law students, recent law graduates, attorneys completing clerkships and practicing attorneys. A strong academic background and commitment to SELC’s mission are required, and litigation experience or a background in environmental law is preferred. SELC is committed to broadening the diversity of its staff, as we believe this will strengthen our organization and our effectiveness in responding to the many environmental challenges affecting the South and its people.

What is the application process?

Associate Attorney openings are posted on SELC’s “Jobs” webpage, as well as in numerous other outlets including State Bar Association websites and law school message boards. The Associate hiring process is cyclical in nature, typically beginning with the posting of openings in late summer.  Telephone and in-person interviews take place throughout the fall, and final decisions are usually made before the end of the calendar year.  However, positions may also be posted outside the normal cycle if a need arises. 

Associate positions are location-specific and applications are considered on an office-by-office basis, so applicants must apply separately to any posted openings in which they are interested.

When and where are SELC internships offered?

SELC often offers legal internships in our large offices (Charlottesville, Chapel Hill, and Atlanta), as well as occasionally in our smaller offices (Birmingham, Nashville, Asheville, and Washington, D.C.).  Our internships are open to current law students and are of two types: semester and summer. 

Semester internships are usually arranged through law schools, are unpaid, and are often performed for academic credit as part of an environmental legal practice clinic.  Our Summer Legal Internships are available to 2Ls, with potential for some positions for 1Ls, depending on number of positions available and volume of applications during the hiring process. Our Glynn D. Key Summer Intern Fellowship is available exclusively to 1L students.

Summer interns are hired through an application process that coincides with the law student summer employment hiring process, and information on applying is posted on our Internship Opportunities page.  Summer legal interns are paid $7,500 for a ten-week internship.

The practice of environmental law in the public interest takes a considerable amount of person power and training. At SELC, we are able to put all these resources behind the engine of getting it done.

Chandra Taylor, Senior Attorney, Chapel Hill Office