Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.

Litigation Fellow

Job Locations US-IL-Chicago | US-CA-San Francisco | US-CA-Santa Monica | US-NY-New York | US-DC-Washington
Posted Date 1 month ago(10/21/2020 5:27 PM)
Job ID
# of Openings
Litigation [103000]


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a non-profit environmental advocacy 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 the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities. 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. Today, our staff of more than 700 lawyers, scientists, economists, policy advocates, communications experts, and others work across the United States and internationally from our offices in New York; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Santa Monica; San Francisco; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing.


Position Summary


NRDC’s Litigation Team is seeking a Litigation Fellow for a two-year fellowship starting in Fall 2021, with the possibility of a third-year extension 


The Fellow will be affiliated with one of our five main U.S. offices, preferably Chicago, San Francisco, or Santa Monica. As of Fall 2020, our physical offices are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; if circumstances do not allow us to re-open our offices by Fall 2021, we will continue to support staff with remote working arrangements until our offices re-open.


As a member of the Litigation Team, the Fellow will represent NRDC and coalition partners in complex civil litigation to protect public health and the environment. The Team is a group of approximately 30 lawyers and 8 litigation and operations assistants who pursue litigation across a broad range of environmental and public health issues and in collaboration with and on behalf of communities most impacted by environmental injustices (including Black, indigenous, and people of color, and low-income and rural communities). We have filed lawsuits resisting the Trump Administration’s efforts to dismantle environmental protections, including cases defending national monuments, challenging the suspension of clean water safeguards, opposing offshore drilling and seismic exploration, and protecting energy efficiency standards. We also have a growing docket of environmental enforcement cases against government and private party polluters. This has recently included cases to protect the people of Newark, New Jersey and Flint, Michigan, from lead in drinking water; to remediate toxic pollution in the Penobscot River in Maine; to abate mold in New York City public housing for residents with asthma; and to halt air pollution from a coal-fired power plant in Illinois.


  • Collaborating with a team of lawyers and litigation assistants on legal research and factual investigations;
  • Writing briefs, motions, and memoranda;
  • Presenting oral arguments and participating in status conferences and other hearings;
  • Preparing for and taking depositions;
  • Communicating with opposing counsel, clients, and partner organizations; and
  • Engaging in discovery and conducting record and document review.


This Fellowship is designed for recent law school graduates or attorneys. In assessing candidates, we look for:

  • Juris Doctorate and up to 3 years of litigation experience;
  • Admission to the Bar of the jurisdiction in which they intend to practice, or willingness to complete the requirements for admission to that Bar;
  • Strong legal writing and analytical skills;
  • Strong oral and written communication skills;
  • Experience working effectively with a team;
  • Demonstrated competency in working with people with different social identities than their own (including race, gender, sexual identity or orientation, age, class, and disability);
  • Creativity and resourcefulness;
  • Demonstrated commitment to public service, equity, or social justice (including environmental, economic, social, or food justice); and
  • Commitment to NRDC’s values and mission.

Term: Fall 2021 through Fall 2023, with the possibility of extension through Fall 2024.


Application process


To apply through our online portal, please select “apply for this job online,” create a profile or log into your existing account, and upload your resume. Then, use the “additional documents” prompts to upload a short cover letter, a short writing sample that does not reflect substantial editing by others, a list of three references, and a law school transcript. In your cover letter, please tell us how you found out about this posting, and please indicate your office preference.

NRDC is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, both in our work and in our workplace. We believe that celebrating and actively welcoming a diversity of voices and perspectives is essential to solving the planet's most pressing environmental problems, and we encourage applications from candidates whose identities have been historically under-represented in the environmental movement. We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.


We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a supportive working environment. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and commensurate with skills and experience. External and internal equity considerations will be reviewed before making a final offer.


If you have technical questions or if you are a person with a disability and you need assistance applying online, please reach out to iCIMS Customer Care by dialing 1-800-889-4422.


For further information about NRDC, please visit


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