Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.

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Midwest Legal Director

Midwest Legal Director

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Midwest Regional Program [310000]

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Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is the nation's most effective environmental action group, combining the power of more than two million members and online activists with the expertise of nearly 500 scientists, lawyers, policy advocates, and other professionals across the globe ensure the rights of all people to the air, the water, and the wild.  NRDC was founded in 1970 and our staff helped write some of America's bedrock environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act, and many of the implementing regulations; our water enforcement cases played a major role shaping current water policy throughout the country. Today, our staff – a force for nature - work out of offices in New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Bozeman, Montana and Beijing.


Position Summary:


NRDC’s Midwest Program seeks an experienced attorney to represent NRDC on a range of policy and legal matters that protect public health and the environment.  The Midwest Program’s cross-institutional work focuses are to advance robust clean energy policies and practices, protect the Great Lakes and other fresh water resources, and fight for people’s right to clean air and clean water.  The geographic focus of the Midwest Program is the six Great Lakes’ states in the Midwest – Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin – as well as Iowa, Missouri and Kansas.  The Midwest Legal Director will work with relevant staff, both within and outside the Midwest Program, to develop and implement a strategy that addresses water-related policy and legal challenges throughout the Great Lakes, with a focus on safe drinking water and source water protection.  The Midwest Program prioritizes the protection of vulnerable urban communities, where the burden of pollution and failing infrastructure falls most heavily.  The Legal Director will be an integral part of NRDC’s Safe Water Initiative, which works to establish the right to safe and sufficient water as a fundamental human right that is reflected in national, state and local laws binding on governments and enforceable by citizens. 


The Midwest Legal Director will oversee a team composed of one senior attorney and a program assistant, as well as percentages of other staff, which will vary depending on the issue.  The Midwest Legal Director will manage all aspects of litigation in federal and state courts, provide policy recommendations and testimony, and serve in an advisory role, as needed, for related policy and litigation priorities. The Midwest Legal Director will also work closely, as appropriate, with members of NRDC’s Litigation Team and will collaborate with NRDC scientists, policy advocates, and other staff; NRDC members; and partner environmental, environmental justice, labor, and public health groups.


The role calls for the combination of leadership and advocacy skills with the flexibility, diplomatic, organizational and communication skills necessary to facilitate coalitions of many organizations and allies around different issues. Successful candidates will have demonstrated both strong independent initiative and the ability to contribute effectively as a member of a team and collaborate across organizations.


  • Demonstrated commitment to public service or social justice work.
  • Juris Doctorate and admission (or eligibility for admission on motion) to the relevant state bar.
  • Approximately 10-15 twelve years of hands-on litigation experience. We particularly value environmental justice, federal litigation, evidentiary hearing and discovery, and judicial clerkship experience.
  • Exceptional legal writing, analytical, and oral advocacy skills.
  • Affinity for creative, tough argument.
  • Comfort interpreting scientific and technical concepts.
  • Strong management and interpersonal skills; enthusiasm for teamwork.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage budgets and consultants.
  • Ability to work hard, efficiently, and independently


NRDC is committed to workplace diversity and inclusion.  We are equal opportunity employers and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law.  We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a pleasant working environment.  Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and commensurate with experience.


To apply, please visit and upload your resume and cover letter through our online portal. 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 reach out to iCIMS Customer Care at 1-866-803-9663.


For further information about NRDC, please visit