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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) carries out the Federal highway programs in partnership with the State and local agencies to meet the nation’s transportation needs. Southern Legal Services, a field office of FHWA’s Office of Chief Counsel, provides advice and legal representation to fourteen division offices throughout the Southeast on a wide range of issues including environmental matters, employment law, requests for reasonable accommodations, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, Federal Tort claims, ethics questions, federal land transfers and programmatic applications of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The Agency’s environmental work revolves primarily around issues related to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act. The office’s litigation case load varies but almost always includes 1) environmental lawsuits in U.S. District Courts throughout the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits; and 2) employment suits constituting either Title VII discrimination or retaliation claims before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or appeals to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Typical intern assignments range from researching, analyzing and providing recommendations regarding discrete legal issues to drafting dispositive pretrial motions. Interns participate in meetings with clients, conferences with opposing counsel, mediation and settlement discussions, and conferences with the Assistant U.S. Attorneys assigned to the Agency’s environmental cases. The resulting experience provides exposure to a broad range of legal issues and a better understanding of the work performed by FHWA attorneys. Student preference for either environmental or employment law is considered in assigning projects, but the office case load at the time of the externship ultimately determines the range of available assignments.


Prerequisites: None


  • Classes in Administrative Law, Environmental Law, and/or Employment Discrimination are helpful.
  • Second or third-year students with excellent writing and analytic skills are encouraged to apply.



  • Externs must be U.S. citizens.
  • Security clearance is required.