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Environmental, Natural Resources, & Energy Law

Legal Practica & Externships

Legal practica

Legal practica are an excellent way to gain valuable real-world legal experience while attending law school.  Students in a practicum earn academic credit in exchange for work at a local placement for and attendance in a weekly class.  The practica all involve pre-arranged, carefully selected placements that optimize student learning and experience.  Students are supervised by the attorneys at the placement and all of the placements are overseen by adjunct professors who coordinate the placements and teach the weekly classes and who are themselves deeply immersed in environmental practice in Portland.

The environmental law program offers the following legal practica:

Environmental & Natural Resources:  Students can choose from an array of pre-arranged placements in the environmental and natural resources law fields, including placements with federal and state environmental agencies, private firms, and non-governmental organizations all within the Portland metro area.

Environmental Justice & Civil Rights:  This practicum provides students with experience working with community groups and community-based organizations on environmental justice issues in the Portland area. The work includes using legal and policy strategies to achieve greater equity in environmental decision-making.

Environmental Enforcement:  This year-long option combines a fall class in environmental enforcement with a spring placement where students will work on either civil or criminal enforcement issues.  This practica is overseen by two leading environmental enforcement attorneys in the Portland area from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the State Department of Justice.

Western Legal Resources Center:  Through this practicum, students work for the Western Legal Resources Center, a Portland based non-profit organization that represents private individuals and businesses in a variety of natural resources matters.


During an environmental externship, students can earn academic credit by working for a law firm, government agency, legislative body, or public interest organization. Placement opportunities exist across the country and throughout the world. Through the practical experience gained and contacts developed during the externship, many externs receive valuable leads for postgraduate employment.

Our reputation as one of the country’s preeminent environmental law school and our network of more than 1,000 successful practitioners in the field provide our students with access to an international job market.