The Native American Rights Fund is committed to the professional development of new attorneys in the field of Indian law. Each year, NARF conducts a nationwide search for law school students to participate in clerkships and internships in all three of its offices—Boulder, CO, Washington, DC, and Anchorage, AK.
The NARF summer clerkship program is a ten- to twelve-week program for students who have completed their second year of law school. Clerks are expected to work at least 40 hours per week during this period and are compensated with salaries comparable to those of the federal government and other non-profit firms. Although public interest funding programs help provide these salaries, clerks are also encouraged to seek additional financial support through their law school’s public interest programs or through other public interest scholarships.
School Year Clerkships/Internships
NARF’s school year programs are open to students in their second year of law school. The school year programs are semester-long programs where students may work either for financial compensation or for school credit. The paid positions are part-time positions (20 hours per week) and the positions for school credit (internships) are either full or part time positions. Both types of positions are available for students at schools located near one of NARF’s three offices — Boulder, CO, Washington, DC, and Anchorage, AK.
NARF invites law students beginning their third year, recent law school graduates, and those with judicial clerkships to apply for sponsorship for a post-graduate fellowship. Learn more at our Post-Graduate Fellowship page.
How To Apply
NARF’s clerkships are highly competitive. Clerks are selected on the basis of their overall applications. Due to the nature of NARF’s practice, experience in Indian law or a background in Indian affairs is highly desirable.
Applicants must submit the following materials to:
Attn. Kevin Cheng
Native American Rights Fund
Boulder, Colorado 80302
- Cover Letter Addressed to Kevin Cheng (please specify the NARF office in which you would prefer to work)
- Legal Writing Sample (the sample must be your own, rather than a collaborative effort)
- Law School Transcripts. Official transcript preferred but unofficial transcripts will be accepted.
- One (1) Letter of Recommendation
- References (3)
Incomplete applications will not be considered. For an application to be considered complete, the cover letter, resume, legal writing sample and transcript must be received by the deadline. It is preferred that completed applications, with all letters of recommendation, be mailed in one package. However, if necessary, letters of recommendation may be mailed separately. Letters of recommendation will be accepted if received soon after the deadline. Please see the application for deadline information.
Please email with your questions.
Clerkship and Fellowship Sponsors
Contact the NARF Development Department, 303-447-8760 or firstname.lastname@example.org, to learn more about sponsorship opportunities.
About the Clerkships
The Selection Process
Due to budget constraints, NARF is unable to interview applicants in person. Although all applications are received in the main office, each office (Boulder, DC and Alaska) selects its own clerk(s). Final selections and notifications for summer clerkships will be made by December 15th. School year clerkships are made on a rolling basis. However, it is highly desirable to have a clerkship arranged in the spring for the fall semester and in the fall for a spring semester.
Law clerk projects consist mainly of legal research and writing. Because NARF practices before federal, state, and tribal forums, and because most of its cases—whether at the administrative, trial, or appellate level—are complex and involve novel legal issues, the projects are extremely challenging. Strong efforts are made to involve clerks in various aspects of NARF’s practice, including attorney and client meetings. To ensure feedback, attorneys are asked to provide written reviews of all clerk projects, as well as ongoing informal assessments. Law clerks also are required to review NARF’s clerkship program, providing us with valuable information on how we can improve.
Clerks at NARF have access to some of the best legal resources in the country. Each NARF office has a library complete with relevant treaties, federal law materials, and Westlaw facilities. Also, the National Indian Law Library, a special project of NARF in Boulder, provides research support and training on resources related to Indian issues.
Each NARF office is located in a major metropolitan area in a distinctly attractive physical environment. This combination provides a variety of social, cultural, and intellectual activities. Special barbeques and educational attorney luncheons are held for the law clerks.