NewsFebruary 15, 2019

Volunteer Opportunity: Law Student Summer Research Position

Post type: 

We are searching for law student volunteers for legal research this summer!

Farm Commons, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, supports farmers across the country by developing educational programs and resources about legal issues that affect farm businesses. Selected volunteers will assist in creating effective educational resources on farm business law for attorneys and other interested agricultural professionals. The volunteer program will incidentally increase awareness of Farm Commons within the legal community, beyond the farming and food system community. Knowledge of farm law is not a prerequisite for these positions.

To achieve the program goals, volunteers will do the following:

  • Conduct research on at least one core subject area of farm law in multiple states. Farm Commons’ core curriculum covers the following topics:
    • Business structures;
    • Land matters;
    • Employment;
    • Food safety; and
    • Agritourism and value-added products.
  • Implement and develop a research tracking system.
  • Draft research memoranda for each specified subject area in each assigned state based on existing templates.
  • Edit written materials for style, grammar, and messaging, to ensure they are of the highest quality in terms of readability, consistency, focus, and grammar.

To effectively carry out tasks and meet goals, volunteers should have the following qualities.


  • Excellent writing ability (ideally, in a wide variety of contexts from promotional brochures to detailed technical manuals).
  • Strong research skills; advanced legal research coursework, law journal, or work experience is preferred.
  • Highly goal oriented: articulates goals, monitors progress towards reaching them, and adapts strategies to ensure goals are met.
  • Very self-disciplined and able to work from home.
  • Careful attention to detail.
  • Passion for sustainable farming and food systems.
  • Comfortable working in an evolving start-up environment. Must be flexible and able to adapt to changing circumstances.

Strongly preferred:

  • Experience in sustainable farming and/or sustainable food systems development.
  • Educational training as a law student or other relevant experience.

Farm Commons does not have a physical location, so the positions will be served remotely with regular communication with the executive director online or over the phone. The selected candidates must have high-speed access to the internet. Individuals located throughout the United States may apply.

Both part-time and full-time positions are available. The full-time summer research associate will be paid an $800 stipend; part-time volunteer positions are unpaid. Farm Commons is happy to work with candidates to secure additional funding from their law schools or other sources. We ask that part-time volunteers commit to completing at least three memoranda (approximately 80 hours of work). The full-time associate must commit to working for an eight-week period (320 hours). Evening and weekend work plus occasional travel may be required. These positions will begin on approximately June 3, 2019. Team members’ exact work schedule is flexible, though daytime hours will be necessary to effectively communicate with the executive director.

These positions offer tremendous opportunity to the right individuals. We are a mission-driven organization and the new team member will have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of sustainable farmers. Farm Commons has a strong track record for a young nonprofit and is posed to make a significant impact in the sustainable food and farming community. The volunteers will work in the middle of the emerging world of sustainable agriculture law.

To apply, candidates must submit a single pdf file containing a cover letter, resume, and list of three references. The cover letter should highlight your relevant academic or work experience and indicate whether you are interested in a part- or full-time position. Paper applications will not be accepted. Please send the single pdf file to and include “law student volunteer application” in the subject line. The application deadline is February 22, 2019. Please apply early if possible. 


Log in

Is this your first time here?