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?

The term for an associate position is three years, with the potential for an additional three-year term, at the discretion of SELC’s Management Committee, upon a recommendation from the Associate Attorney’s Office Director. 

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 fully funded Staff Attorney positions that occasionally become available. 

Who may apply? 

The Associate Attorney position is an entry-level position open to recent law school 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?

SELC will hire for the majority of our Associate Attorney positions during our annual Associate & Intern hiring cycle, from approximately August through October for Associate positions specifically. The number of openings and locations of those openings varies each year, SELC does hire Associate Attorneys for each of our offices, with the exceptions of Richmond, VA. and Washington, D.C. The annual Associate hiring process typically begins with the application opening between mid-July and early-August, all applications are reviewed by hiring committee members, video and in-person interviews are conducted throughout the Summer/Fall, and all offers and hiring decisions are usually made before the end of the calendar year, at the latest, ideally. 

Associate Attorney positions may also be posted outside the regular annual hiring cycle if a need arises. Associate Attorney openings are posted on SELC’s “Open Positions” webpage, as well as in numerous other outlets including State Bar Association websites, law school and other online job boards. 

Anyone interested in our Associate Attorney positions who also has interest in environmental justice work should consider applying to our Glynn D. Key Associate Attorney Fellowship. Learn more about our Key Fellowship Program.

When and where are SELC internships offered?

Annually SELC hires summer law interns, typically in our Charlottesville, VA; Chapel Hill, NC; Asheville, NC; Atlanta, GA; Charleston, SC; Birmingham, AL; and Nashville, TN offices. 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 and Fellows are expected to work on at least one project/case that supports SELC’s Environmental Justice Initiative.

Summer interns are hired through an annual application process that commences each Summer (mid to late July) and will continue through the Fall as needed until all hiring is complete. Additional details and information on applying is posted on our Internship & Externship Opportunities.  Summer legal interns are paid $9,000 for a ten-week internship ($900 / week).

Externship opportunities differ from the internships as they are in-semester positions that are usually arranged through law schools, are unpaid, and are often performed for academic credit as part of an environmental legal practice clinic. More info about SELC Externships is also found on the Internship & Externship Opportunities page.

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