Law and Policy Intern

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 700 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and results are a way of life.


EDF envisions a world in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected to the environmental challenges we face and are engaged in creating durable, equitable solutions. We seek talented candidates who share the Core Values that allow us to experiment courageously in our work while staying true to who we’ve been as an organization for 50 years. Are you a results oriented individual who is passionate about creating environmental solutions that make a lasting difference in the world? Do you respect diverse perspectives, talents and contributions? Do you value innovation and enjoy designing and using a wide range of problem-solving tools? Do you embrace environmental goals with a sense of optimism while taking into account real-world dynamics? If you have integrity and a strong desire to uphold a commitment to science, rigorous analysis, intellectual honesty and ethical action, then EDF is the place for you.

EDF offers internships and fellowships for students and recent graduates in a variety of programs and departments throughout the organization. The ultimate goal of our internship and fellowship program is to provide high-quality experiences (including relevant projects and opportunities for networking) that form the foundation for any individual who is serious about pursuing an environmental career.

EDF seeks a highly qualified summer Law and Policy Intern to work with our international climate team on research, writing, and creative advocacy strategies that encourage and incentivize sovereign nations to reduce their global warming pollution.  Previous interns have researched and written legal and policy documents that were subsequently published in leading national journals or included in EDF submissions to intergovernmental organizations, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  Much of our work in this field occurs at the interface between public international law and legal frameworks governing domestic public and private actors. 

Overall Function

Law and Policy interns work with our international climate team on research, writing, and advocacy projects focused on international climate negotiations, cooperative climate action between and among national and sub-national legal systems, the interaction between international climate policy and voluntary corporate climate action, and/or linkages between international agreements and domestic programs.

Key Responsibilities

Tasks may include but are not limited to:

  • Conduct legal and factual research on climate issues
  • Prepare short policy briefs as well as larger written research products to inform team preparations for UNFCCC negotiations
  • Contribute to EDF's UNFCCC submissions
  • Participate in briefings and coordination meetings with civil society partners
  • Provide other support to the team's policy advocacy efforts.
  • Familiarity/experience with international law, environmental law, the history of climate treaty negotiations, and carbon markets is a plus.   


  • Law students who will have completed their second year of law school, or recent law school graduates, are preferred.
  • Strong legal research and writing skills;
  • The ability to undertake both large projects and 1-2 page policy briefs
  • Well organized, motivated, and detail oriented
  • Ability to multi-task, prioritize and meet deadlines
  • Ability to work in a team setting and to work independently when projects are due
  • Demonstrated initiative and problem-solving skills
  • Interest in environmental issues or international relations/diplomacy


San Francisco, CA


10 weeks during Summer 2020


Full-time (35 hours/week)


This internship would involve either compensation for work paid at a rate competitive with leading non-profits, or academic credit. Students are encouraged to seek academic credit or funding through their college/university and EDF will ensure that any and all paperwork needed to secure academic credit is completed.

Application Materials

Interested applicants should attach their cover letter and resume to the EDF application, together with a brief (maximum 10 pg) writing sample, unofficial law school transcript, and list of three references. In your cover letter, please describe your interest in environmental law and policy work, and relevant completed course work.

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.