Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.

Project Attorney

Job Locations US-NY-New York
Posted Date 2 weeks ago(11/18/2020 12:53 PM)
Job ID
# of Openings
Healthy People and Thriving Communities [403000]


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 is seeking a Project Attorney to work with the Environmental Justice and NY Regional teams in our New York office.  The primary focus of this position will be to assist NRDC attorneys working on environmental justice, community-based fossil fuel advocacy and other equity-related work in the New York region and other parts of the country.


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.

As one of its top priorities, NRDC’s New York Regional team collaborates with grassroots and climate justice groups to fight the continued extraction, production, and transport of fossil fuels in the Northeast, including the building of new pipelines and other fossil fuels infrastructure. Through litigation and policy work, the New York Regional team’s fossil fuel infrastructure and climate resiliency work focuses on pushing New York and other states off fossil fuels and building a clean energy future – while also ensuring that the region is protected from future effects of climate change.


The successful candidate will collaborate with a team of attorneys, policy advocates, and other staff advancing our advocacy goals 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 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
  • Representing NRDC publicly in settings such as coalition meetings, hearings, panel presentations, and with press
  • Attending community meetings, including 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:

  • Pursuing a just food system that benefits low-income families, food chain workers, and farmers of color
  • Opposing new fossil fuel infrastructure projects, including pipelines
  • Working to rid toxics from the air, water, food, products, and soil in EJ communities
  • Opposing new prisons and immigration detention facilities and advocating for communities at the nexus of detention and environmental health
  • Promoting land use decisions that benefit EJ communities, including climate resiliency projects
  • Advocating for healthy housing, especially for low-income and people of color residents
  • 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 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 based in New York, Santa Monica, and Chicago and NY Regional Team staff based in New York. The position will be supervised by an attorney in New York.


  • Law graduate with 2-4 years of legal, policy and/or administrative advocacy experience
  • Member of New York State Bar 
  • 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
  • Litigation experience, such as a federal court clerkship, is a plus
  • Proficiency in a second language is desirable
  • Commitment to NRDC’s values and mission.


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. Job grade for this role is Solves 1 with a salary ranging from a minimum of $65,000.00 and midpoint of $72,500.00.  Internal equity considerations and the average salary of the peer range will be reviewed before making a final offer.


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. Due to the high volume of resumes, only qualified candidates will be contacted. 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, 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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