Who We Are:

The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s mission is to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. The Animal Legal Defense Fund accomplishes this mission by filing high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm, providing free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are held accountable for their crimes, supporting tough animal protection legislation and fighting legislation harmful to animals, and providing resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. 

The Animal Legal Defense Fund offers externships and student volunteer positions for fall semester 2024 and spring semester 2025. Externships are experiential learning opportunities for which students receive academic credit from their law schools. Externship requirements may vary based on specific law school requirements. 

Student volunteer positions are experiential learning opportunities for which students can receive pro bono credits or a public interest stipend from their schools.

Position Term:

September 1 – December 1, 2024, for fall 2024 and January 15 – April 15, 2025 for spring 2025. Most externs work part-time (5-15 hours/week). Exact dates and time commitments will be determined by law school externship/volunteer requirements.

Role Description:

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. 

How You Will Make a Difference: 

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, such as:  

  • Landlord, tenant, and other housing related issues  
  • Animal custody disputes 
  • Dangerous dog designations and breed-specific restrictions  
  • Tort law matters and issues of negligence 
  • Issues related to animals being considered property under the law

We are Looking for Candidates With:

  • Experience as a rising 2L, rising 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.


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. 

How to Apply:

On our confidential recruiting portal, Paylocity, you will be asked to upload a resume and cover letter. The following additional documents that are required are: 2-3 professional references, law school transcript (unofficial okay), and original writing sample.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The last day to apply is July 15, 2024. Questions may be addressed to Senior Student Programs Attorney Kelly Levenda at klevenda@aldf.org.

Additional information:

This is a U.S. based position. Externs and volunteers will be required to provide a personal United States address and to work primarily from that address.

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.