Seeking Summer Law Clerks for Public Advocates’ Climate Justice Advocacy (based in San Francisco) 

Our law clerks play a crucial role in high profile policy advocacy, community lawyering and impact litigation to advance economic and racial justice. In turn, we are committed to providing high quality training and supervision to help advance the career goals of our clerks and to foster a true community of public interest.

Our Mission

Public Advocates, a non-profit law firm and advocacy organization, challenges the systemic causes of poverty and discrimination by strengthening community voices in public policy and achieving tangible legal victories advancing education, housing and transit equity, and climate justice. Public Advocates focuses on strategic policy reform, collaboration with grassroots groups representing people with low incomes, people of color and immigrants, communication and litigation, “making rights real” across California since 1971.

Legal Clerkship Program

Our Legal Clerkship Program exposes students to the diverse strategies of our impact work in an environment geared to their development as future lawyers committed to the public interest. Law clerks are assigned to a supervising attorney on one of our two teams (Education Equity and Metropolitan Equity) who has primary responsibility for giving constructive feedback in a positive learning environment. Public Advocates works to ensure that clerks have assignments that address a variety of skills and issue areas. We engage students in a wide range of our work to promote equity and systemic change including: major civil rights impact litigation from development through trial and appeal; legislative, administrative and policy advocacy; coalition work with grassroots organizations; and media and communications. Clerks have assisted in drafting briefs, participated in litigation meetings, attended administrative hearings, met with policy makers, organized public meetings and trainings, conducted cutting-edge policy research and helped to build and strengthen relationships with various coalition partners.

Openings for Summer 2017

The Metropolitan Equity Team is currently seeking a summer law clerk to work on California climate and environmental justice advocacy, based out of our San Francisco office. Working with staff attorney Chelsea Tu, the law clerk will have the opportunity to contribute to Public Advocates’ work on advancing regional and statewide policy that addresses the environmental, health, and economic needs of low-income communities. The law clerk would conduct a variety of activities, including: drafting internal legal memoranda; developing policy recommendations to the Air Resources Board and other administrative agencies; representing Public Advocates at community and coalition meetings; and tracking bills.

How to Apply

While we are unable to provide funding, we deeply understand the difficulty of committing to unpaid legal work, and the directors of our clerkship program routinely help students find and obtain fellowships and grants to support their work at Public Advocates.

We value applicants with a demonstrated commitment to public interest work. Summer clerks work full time for ten weeks. Applicants should provide a one- to two-page cover letter explaining:

  • Specific interests and qualifications (please do not simply recap your résumé);
  • Experiences and commitment to working with low-income communities, communities of color and immigrant communities;
  • Personal background or identity that informs your commitment to social justice;
  • Reasons for applying to Public Advocates;
  • Your preference (if any) for placement in either the Education Equity or Metropolitan Equity clerkships listed above; and

In addition, include a résumé, writing sample, and list of references. Send applications to Tia Nguyen at

We are accepting applications on a rolling basis. Please submit your application by March 24, 2017.

Our Commitment to Diversity

Public Advocates is committed to fostering a diverse staff and diversity in the legal profession. We encourage all interested individuals to apply — especially people of color; women; people from low income backgrounds; people with disabilities; people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender or anyone belonging to any other federal or state protected category. Read our Diversity Vision Statement here.