The Animal Legal Defense Fund has several externship and student volunteer openings for spring semester 2022. Externships are experiential learning opportunities for which students receive academic credit from their law schools. Some externship requirements may vary based on specific law school requirements. Student volunteer positions include students who can receive pro bono credits for their law schools, and students whose schools provide a public interest stipend. 

Supervisor: Varies; see detailed program descriptions below.  

Location: Remote 

Dates: Roughly January 15 – April 15, 2022. Exact dates and time commitments will be determined by law school externship/volunteer requirements. 

Compensation: Externships and student volunteer positions are uncompensated. Students may receive academic credit or pro bono hours from their law schools, but award of externship credits and pro bono hours is determined solely by the school. Applicants should check their law school’s externship requirements before they apply to ensure Animal Legal Defense Fund externships meet their school’s requirements and the Animal Legal Defense Fund is an approved externship placement. 

Position Objectives:  

The Animal Legal Defense Fund Externship and Volunteer Program gives law students who demonstrate an interest in animal law the opportunity to work with and be trained by top experts in the field. Externs and volunteers are integral members of a program team and work on projects that further the current work of the program and advance the mission and goals of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Externs and volunteers also participate in activities that will allow them to network across the organization with Animal Legal Defense Fund staff and other externs and volunteers and engage them in the mission and goals of the organization.  


Specific responsibilities vary by program; see detailed program descriptions below. All externs will participate in scheduled networking and engagement activities (optional for volunteers). 


  • 2L, 3L (or part-time program equivalent), or LLM student at an ABA accredited law school.  
  • A sincere interest in animal protection. 
  • Superior legal research and writing skills, including the ability to tailor voice and style to various audiences. 
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Positive attitude and ability to work cooperatively with others and function well in a mission-driven, team-oriented work environment.
  • Willingness to accept a variety of assignments within the expanding field of animal law.
  • Excellent organizational, prioritization, and time management skills.
  • Ability to work independently and remotely.
  • Ability to use discretion, keeping in mind the confidential and emotional aspects of our work. 
  • Access to a computer with internet and Microsoft Suite. 
  • Familiarity with animal law is preferred. 

Program Descriptions: 

Animal Law Program
Supervisor: Animal Law Program Director Stacey Gordon Sterling
The Animal Law Program works with law schools, students, and faculty to advance the emerging field of animal law. Externs and student volunteers will complete research for an upcoming Aquatic Animal Law Textbook. Students will: 

  • Engage in legal, factual, regulatory, and policy research relating to a wide variety of aquatic animal law issues; and 
  • Prepare written work products. 

Criminal Justice Program
Supervisor: Managing Attorney David B. Rosengard
This externship is housed within The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Criminal Justice Program, which: 

  • Provides trial-level assistance to criminal justice professionals striving to secure justice for animals victimized by crime; 
  • Produces amicus curiae briefs in cases implicating the position of animals within criminal law; 
  • Supports legislative efforts to improve animal cruelty laws; 
  • Educates criminal justice practitioners about the juxtaposition between criminal law and animal law; and 
  • Crafts legal arguments calling for changes in how criminal jurisprudence relates to animals. 

Criminal Justice Program externs and volunteers will complete legal and factual research, prepare a variety of written work products, and assist Animal Legal Defense Fund attorneys in both responding to a range of crimes against animals, and broadening the ability of animal law to secure just outcomes for animal victims. This position will involve a variety of projects. Some assignments—such as motions and legal memos—will be responsive to the needs of immediate cases. Others—such as resource guides, position statements, and model laws—will be longer-term efforts to create systemic improvement in how the criminal justice system anticipates, prevents, and responds to instances of unlawful animal cruelty. 

In addition to the general qualifications listed above the Criminal Justice Program prefers applicants who have a sincere interest in the criminal justice system and related law. 

Legislative Affairs Program 

Supervisor: Strategic Legislative Affairs Manager Kathleen Schatzmann
Externs and volunteers will gain experience with and knowledge of animal protection issues, campaigns, and advocacy, while improving skills in research, writing, legislative analysis, coalition-building, and lobbying strategies. They will be responsible for assisting the Legislative Affairs Program in developing and implementing resources and strategies to further legislative goals.  Specific duties may include:  

  • Researching policy issues (developing issue briefs, analyzing state legislation or regulation, and assisting with administrative work;  
  • Preparing correspondence and assist with outreach to supporters, coalition partners, and public officials, including elected and appointed officials;  
  • Attending virtual public hearings, coalition calls, stakeholder meetings, lobby day(s), lobby 101(s), conferences, and other events;  
  • Collaborating with Communications and other departments to propose, draft, proofread, edit, and update content on priority campaigns for the website, including project pages and online action centers, email action alerts, phonebanking scripts, etc.;  
  • Coordinating with other programs, including with the Criminal Justice Program and Litigation Program staff on cases related to legislative campaigns; and  
  • Preparing and delivering virtual presentations for lobby 101(s) or other advocacy trainings for advocates, professional conferences, fundraising events, etc.  

This position also requires the ability to communicate effectively with members, supporters, co-workers, coalition partners, and public officials and to tactfully manage challenging questions or opposing viewpoints from the public or public officials. Experience with legislative advocacy is preferred. 

Pro Bono Program
Supervisor: Managing Attorney Akisha Townsend Eaton
The Pro Bono Program works to expand the practice and understanding of animal law in the legal community. Students will complete research on law firms, bar associations, CLEs, and various opportunities and issues in animal law. 

How to Apply:  

To apply, complete the application form, and attach a current resume, and unofficial law school transcript. Forward your completed application and accompanying documents to: 

Kelly Levenda
Senior Student Programs Attorney 

To be ensure consideration for a spring semester externship, all applications must be complete and received by November 8, 2021. Late applications may be considered after the deadline if a position is available. 

When applying, you should select only one program to apply to, but program supervisors may share applications. 

Questions may be addressed to Kelly Levenda.  

Equal Opportunity Employer: 

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is committed to providing an employment environment which is welcoming of persons from diverse backgrounds and free from unlawful discrimination and harassment, and in which all legal rights of our employees are recognized and protected. ALDF conducts all internal and external operations, programs, and employment-related decision making (including hiring decisions) without regard to actual or perceived race, ancestry, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, immigration status, sex or gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender identity or expression, political affiliation, disability or medical condition (including physical, intellectual, or psychiatric), sexual orientation, marital status, military or veteran status, genetic information, age, or other protected category, and in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws.   

Consistent with the organization’s mission, Animal Legal Defense Fund offices and events are free of animal products and byproducts.