Position Title: Summer Legal Clerk, Federal Policy
Location: Washington, DC
Supervisor: Director of Federal Policy
Status: Full Time, Term
Department: Conservation

Organization Mission:

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come.


Position Summary

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) is a Congressionally designated footpath and surrounding narrow corridor, protected by the National Trails System Act of 1968. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is the day-to-day manager of the Trail, working in close coordination with 31 Maintaining Clubs, two federal agencies, and 14 state governments. An estimated three million people per year step foot on some part of the A.T. and the Trail itself is within a day’s drive of half of the United States’ population. Persistent pressures from human development, climate change, and visitor use require constant engagement within the federal policy arena. Today public access and trail continuity are secure, but many of the pristine viewsheds, watersheds, and areas of natural and cultural significance comprising the A.T. Landscape remain unprotected and vulnerable to external threats.

ATC seeks an energetic, adaptable, patient, and self-motivated individual to join its team to focus on policies relating to energy development and regulation, voluntary conservation programs, and public lands management (including visitor use and natural and cultural resources).

This remote term appointment is for ten to fifteen weeks. If school credit is not pursued for this clerkship, a stipend may be available. Applications are due to Federal [email protected] by March 1, 2021, and must include a resume, cover letter, and writing sample.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

The Federal Policy Clerk will support the efforts of the Director of Federal Policy and will work closely with the Landscape Conservation program. Over the course of the clerkship, the Federal Policy Clerk will be responsible for conducting research and reporting on a variety of topics related to the conservation of the Appalachian Trail Landscape and being available, as needed, to draft Congressional testimony, letters, and legal memoranda on issues of A.T.-relevance. The Clerk will be responsible for composing both technically focused material and drafting for a lay audience, so strong communications skills are essential.

The Federal Policy Clerk will be responsible for producing at least one report by the conclusion of the clerkship, on a topic to be mutually agreed upon by the Director of Federal Policy and Legislation and the Clerk.

Specific duties include, but are not limited to:


  • Watching and reporting on legislative hearings, tracking legislation;
  • Working with Communications and Federal Policy staff on copy for Congressional submissions, “fact sheets,” and action alerts;
  • Conducting research and reporting on federal natural resource management and outdoor recreation policy;
  • Conducting research and reporting on transportation policy, particularly as relating to access and impacts on outdoor recreation/public lands conservation;
  • Conducting research and reporting on energy development and regulatory policy;
  • Being available, as needed, and within reason, for other tasks.
  • Other duties, as assigned.


Skills and Experience

  • Strong organizational skills that reflect ability to perform and prioritize multiple tasks seamlessly with excellent attention to detail.
  • Very strong interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships,
  • Expert-level written and verbal communication skills.
  • Demonstrated proactive approaches to problem-solving with strong decision-making capability emotional maturity.
  • Highly resourceful team-player, with the ability to also be extremely effective independently.
  • Proven ability to handle confidential information with discretion, be adaptable to various competing demands, and demonstrate the highest level of customer/client service and response.
  • Demonstrated ability to achieve high performance goals and meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment.
  • Forward looking thinker, who actively seeks opportunities and proposes solutions.
  • Patience with an appreciation for public service and the cooperative management system.



  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • Enrolled at in an accredited legal education program.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Highly organized self-starter who can track, manage and report on multiple programs and frequently changing priorities with patience, perseverance, minimal supervision and successful completion.


Physical demands

  • Evenings and weekend work may be required;
  • Ability and willingness to travel within the DC-metro region;
  • Working on the computer for prolonged periods;
  • Ability to communicate with individuals by phone, e-mail, and in person;
  • Sitting for prolonged periods


Location: Work from home and/or shared/open office environment with high noise level


ATC Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness with all employees and volunteers to enable participation and contributions to their fullest potential.

We are committed to being a diverse and inclusive organization, and recognize that diversity contributes to an effective and successful organizational culture and mission.

The ATC prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and/or expression), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, political affiliation, union membership, or any other status protected by the laws and regulations in the locations where we operate.