Friends of the Earth launches paid internship programme

Friends of the Earth is launching a legal internship programme in memory of its former head of legal, Phil Michaels.

The charity has begun a fundraising drive to pay for the internship scheme, which will aim to offer paid six-month internships for three years.

Friends of the Earth currently offers a six-month volunteer internship but head of legal Gita Parihar said the charity wanted to open opportunities up to a more diverse group of applicants, who might be unable for financial or geographic reasons to apply for an unpaid scheme.

Parihar added that the scheme would open for applicants later this year, and there would be more detailed criteria available then. However the charity is likely to be looking for applications from law graduates with an interest in environmental, campaigning or public law.

She added: “Phil Michaels was passionate about creating a better world and successfully used the legal system to stand up for environmental justice. That’s why we want to offer a legal internship in his name.

“This legal internship fund is the perfect way to commemorate Phil’s pioneering spirit and the ideals behind his work.”

Parihar said that Friends of the Earth hoped to be able to apply for grants to extend the programme beyond the initial three-year period.

Phil Michaels
Phil Michaels

Michaels was head of legal at Friends of the Earth for a decade, winning legal fights on issues such as environmental impact reporting, climate change impact, and access to justice.

He was featured in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 in 2007 and was third-placed as in-house lawyer of the year at The Lawyer Awards in 2008. Judges said then that he “set an example for others to follow”.

He died in 2014 aged just 42 after a battle with cancer.

Contributions to the Phil Michaels Internship Fund can be made at: