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How To Apply


For summer of 2020 clerkships please check back in the fall for the application process.

There are a few different ways to enroll or be hired as a summer clerk with Earthrise, but the work and responsibilities will be the same. You can be hired by Earthrise as a paid intern. A student can also combine a paid internship with a paid 2-4 week internship funded by a PILP stipend. Earthrise will encourage all successful internship applicants to also seek PILP funding. Students can also apply to be a paid extern that while additionally receiving academic credit. Earthrise will pay all its summer clerks $15 per hour. Students should indicate in their application whether they prefer an internship, or an externship that also includes academic credit. All applying students should indicate whether they are work-study eligible.

Earthrise’s summer clerks’ responsibilities include assisting Earthrise clinical professors in all aspects of public interest environmental litigation from legal research, drafting pleadings and motions, and will have the potential for court appearances. Earthrise is looking for applicants with strong research and writing skills and a demonstrated interest in public interest environmental law. Summer clerks will be expected to work a minimum of ten weeks, forty hours per week. Work schedules will be flexible, allowing for vacations and long weekends. Earthrise now has two staff attorneys who are not based in Portland: one based in the Massachusetts and one based in San Francisco and it may be possible for one extern or intern also to be based in the Northeast and one in California.

Each application should include a cover letter indicating your preference for an externship or internship and explaining your interest in working at Earthrise. For purposes of evaluating conflicts, please also complete the Earthrise conflicts form. Along with your cover letter and completed conflicts form your application must also include your current resume, a transcript (unofficial is fine), and maximum 10-page writing sample.

If possible please combine these documents into one PDF file. Do not send hard copies to Earthrise. Please e-mail Tom with any questions. Interested 2Ls should submit their applications electronically to Tom Buchele, Earthrise Managing Attorney at Tom will acknowledge his receipt of all applications via e-mail. Current 1Ls will be able to apply during an upcoming application process in January.

Becoming an Earthrise summer extern requires an additional step in the application process. Students first must apply directly to Earthrise. After Earthrise accepts their applications, students seeking an externship will then apply for their externships through the Career Services Office. Earthrise will assist those accepted students with the Career Services externship application process, but before applying to Earthrise students interested in externships should review Lewis & Clark’s general externship requirements to be sure they qualify. See



Credits, Grading and Course Schedule

Earthrise is offered as either a one-semester three-credit course or a full-year course for three credits each semester. Grading is on a credit/no credit basis, but does not count toward the cap on ungraded credits. This class meets from noon to 2 pm on Fridays. Students and staff typically participate in fun potlucks so no one gets hungry during class. Our staff attorneys with offices in other states will join the class remotely to contribute to case discussions.

Application Process

Participation in Earthrise is only open to a limited number of students each semester. Because of the demand for participation in Earthrise, we have instituted a process similar to a hiring process. If you would like to apply, please submit the following: 

  • A cover letter explaining why you want to participate in Earthrise;
  • Your resume, including an e-mail address and telephone number where we can reach you after the academic year ends;
  • Your transcript;
  • A writing sample (this can be your 1L appellate brief if this is your only writing sample, but please submit only those portions that you wrote);
  • An application and conflicts form that lists past, present, and future internships, externships, and other law-related jobs.

Download the Application

Email all the above items in PDF form, preferably all in one PDF, to Prof. Tom Buchele at If you have any questions, please email Prof. Buchele or call him at 503.768.6736. 


Earthrise will begin accepting applications for the 2019-2020 school year in March of 2019. Students will be notified whether they have been accepted in time to register.

Remember, you must have our approval before you register for the course.

Some Earthrise Basics 

Credits Course Length Prerequisites Clinic Location Work Hours Fulfills Law School Requirements
3 credits One sem None, though it’s helpful to have taken Environmental Law and/or Admin Law. We highly recommend that you take Environmental Litigation. 

Wood Hall on the Law School Campus

10-12 hours per week

Class meets on Fridays from noon to 2 pm

Writing Professional Responsibility Other Law School Requirements

6 credits

3 per semester

Two sem

WIE on a case by case basis


Earthrise Ethics meets this requirement.

Highly Specialized Requirement

Experiential Learning requirement

Natural Resources Certificate

Does not count towards the cap on ungraded credits


As an Earthrise student, you will be assisting Earthrise Attorneys who are representing real clients. Therefore, Earthrise must consider ethical conflicts of interest when reviewing student applications. Because of specific ethical requirements, a student cannot be enrolled in Earthrise and at the same time extern or intern with an entity or agency that is adverse to an Earthrise client, creating a concurrent conflict of interest. Earthrise professors will work with you to address your specific situation. We can usually find a way to allow you to both take Earthrise and extern for an agency that Earthrise often sues, just not at the same time.

Here are some examples that may help you in planning.

Things you can do:

  • You usually can extern with, or otherwise work for, a local federal judge or an adverse agency before or after you take Earthrise. We can usually work to screen you, even if you have a conflict because of such past or future work.
  • You can likely extern with the U.S. Department of Justice during your second year and still enroll in Earthrise during your third year. You would just need to disclose to us the matters you worked on while at the DOJ and then we can screen you from any matters that involved an Earthrise client.
  • If you took Earthrise during your second year, during your third year you could extern with the Department of the Interior’s Solicitors Office even though Earthrise sometimes has cases against the Department of the Interior. That agency can screen you from any specific matter where you may have an actual conflict. 

Things you can’t do:

  • During the same semester you cannot both enroll in Earthrise and extern with the U.S. Department of Justice, because that agency is always representing other federal agencies that are currently in litigation against Earthrise clients.
  • You cannot extern for a local federal judge when you are also enrolled in Earthrise because we have many cases before those judges.