Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.

  • Environmental Justice Project Attorney

    Job Locations US-CA-Santa Monica
    Posted Date 9 months ago(5/31/2018 10:35 AM)
    Job ID
    # of Openings
    Healthy People and Thriving Communities [403000]
  • Overview

    The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is the nation's most effective environmental action organization. We use law, science and the support of 3.1 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things. 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 of more than 500 lawyers, scientists, economists, policy and communications experts, and others, work out of offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Bozeman, Montana and Beijing.


    Position Summary:


    NRDC is now accepting applications for a Project Attorney position to join its Environmental Justice (EJ) Team. NRDC’s EJ Team is committed to partnering with and fighting for low-income communities of color, when invited, to hold the government and polluters accountable and to protect the health of communities. 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.


    The successful candidate will collaborate with a team of attorneys, policy advocates, and other staff advancing environmental justice within the Healthy People & Thriving Communities program, as well as across the organization.


    Successful candidates will demonstrate a strong independent track record of success, and the ability to contribute effectively as a member of a team and collaborate across a large non-profit organization. Specific responsibilities include:

    • Developing relationships with communities and working with them to identify opportunities to partner or collaborate on EJ-related issues
    • Screening and developing potential new EJ litigation, including conducting factual investigations and legal and policy research
    • Pursuing and//or supporting litigation in state and federal court
    • Engaging in advocacy before administrative agencies
    • Attending community meetings, including meetings on nights and weekends
    • Advocating for the adoption or passage of critical legislation, city ordinances, and government regulations
    • Traveling, as necessary, to implement work plan
    • Other duties as assigned

    Substantive projects the attorney may work on:

    • Working to rid toxics from the air, water, food, products, and soil in EJ communities
    • Promoting land use decisions that benefit EJ communities
    • Working to reduce the harms from ports, rail yards, distribution centers and other freight transportation facilities have on EJ communities   
    • Advocating for healthy housing, especially for low-income and people of color residents
    • 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 safe drinking water, especially for 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 build coalitions and partnerships on EJ and climate justice issues

    The attorney will work with EJ Team staff in Santa Monica, New York, and Chicago, and be supervised by an attorney based in Santa Monica, CA.


    • Law graduate and 2-4 years of legal, policy and/or administrative advocacy experience
    • Member of California Bar 
    • 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
    • Knowledge of environmental, civil rights, and administrative laws is a plus
    • Proficiency in a second language is desirable.

    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 identity and expression, 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. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, for positions based in San Francisco, CA we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.


    To apply, please visit and upload your resume and cover letter through our online portal.  We would like you to upload any additional papers or project work that you think would showcase your abilities. 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 Customer Care by dialing 1-800-889-4422.


    For further information about NRDC, please visit


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