Thursday, October 23, 2014

Position: Environmental Justice Project Attorney, NRDC-Chicago (Deadline: rolling/unknown, Chicago, IL)

Position has been available, but just got re-posted (so still open).

Environmental Justice Project Attorney
Tracking Code
Job Description
The Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (NRDC) is a leading nonprofit environmental group with more than 1.2 million members and online activists. We have offices in New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Montana, and Beijing, and a staff of nearly 450 including lawyers, scientists, and policy analysts, all working to protect the environment and public health.

Job Description:
NRDC is now accepting applications for an Environmental Justice Project Attorney position in its Midwest office, located in Chicago. NRDC’s environmental justice program is committed to partnering with and fighting for communities, when invited, to hold the government and polluters accountable and to protect the health of our communities from toxic pollution. We accomplish this by providing legal and technical assistance to communities fighting for clean air, clean water, climate justice, and a healthy environment, as well as for environmental benefits such as open space, healthy housing, and access to healthy foods.

NRDC seeks an attorney with 3 to 7 years of experience to work on litigation and policy advocacy to provide legal and technical assistance to environmental justice (EJ) communities around the country, and particularly in the Midwest. The attorney will perform a range of tasks related to developing relationships with communities and working with them to identify opportunities to partner or collaborate on EJ-related issues, including among other things screening and development of potential new EJ litigation.  Specifically, the work may include conducting factual investigations and  legal and policy research; developing and bringing litigation; engaging in advocacy before administrative agencies; attending community meetings; and advocating for the adoption or passage of critical legislation, city ordinances, and government regulations. The attorney will also work closely with other NRDC programs and campaigns to provide assistance in EJ matters.

Qualifications for the position include a strong commitment to EJ and environmental health, experience working with diverse community-based organizations, excellent research skills, excellent oral advocacy skills, an excellent academic record, and a strong work ethic. Knowledge of environmental, civil rights, and administrative laws is a plus. We also value initiative, independence, creative thinking, and the ability to work collegially with others.

The attorney will work under the supervision of attorneys based in Chicago and New York. The candidate must be admitted or eligible for admission to the Illinois Bar. NRDC offers a competitive salary and excellent benefits.
  • A law graduate with 3 to 7 years of legal, policy and/or administrative advocacy experience.
  • Relevant litigation experience, such as a federal court clerkship, is a plus. 
  • Excellent strategic judgment and the energy and drive to develop and effectuate challenging campaigns. 
  • Experience working with coalitions of community members and community-based organizations.
  • Excellent writing, research, analytic and public speaking skills.
  • Experience with and/or commitment to environmental justice work, racial justice work, or non-profit lawyering.
  • Demonstrated leadership experience and abilities.
  • Proficiency in a second language is desirable.

NRDC encourages former federal court clerks and/or individuals with significant litigation, advocacy or community organizing experience who have less than 3 years of experience but meet all other qualifications to apply.
Substantive Projects the Attorney May Work on:
  • Working to reduce the environmental justice harms that ports, rail yards, distribution centers and other freight transportation facilities have on low-income communities and communities of color.   
  • Building campaigns to preserve and expand open space and outdoor recreational opportunities for low-income communities and communities of color.
  • Advocating for equitable transit-oriented development.
  • Advocating for healthy housing, especially for low-income and people of color residents.
  • Advocating for safe and sufficient water and green infrastructure that benefits low-income and people of color communities.
  • Serving as a liaison with other NRDC programs and campaigns to identify EJ needs that support cross-program initiatives.
  • Working to curb pollution from dirty energy sources and manufacturing facilities near low-income communities and communities of color and to promote clean energy alternatives.
  • Working to build coalitions and partnerships on climate justice issues.
  • Working to ensure that low-income families benefit from energy efficiency policies.

NRDC is committed to a workplace based on equal opportunity and a strong belief in the increased effectiveness that comes from a diverse workforce. To this end, NRDC:
  • Hires staff that reflects this country's full range of racial, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic identities.
  • Creates a workplace where true diversity is fostered and different perspectives are valued and freely exchanged.
  • Ensures that all members of the NRDC community feel welcome and respected, and have equal opportunities to thrive and advance within the institution; and
  • Is committed to supporting low-income communities and communities of color particularly affected by environmental inequities.

We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a dynamic working environment. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and commensurate with experience.

To apply, please create a profile and upload your resume and cover letter, legal writing sample and three references. Please no phone calls, emails, faxes or in-person resume drop-offs. Please reference where you saw this posting. NRDC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

If you are having technical difficulty while applying, please email us at:

Job Location
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Position Type

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