Environmental Law Fellow

National Resources Defense Council
1152 15th St NW #300
Washington, D.C., DC 20005
United States
Job Description

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 people helped write some of America's bedrock environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act and many of the implementing regulations. Today, our team of more than 700 lawyers, scientists, economists, policy advocates, communications experts, and others work across the United States and the globe from our offices in Bozeman, Montana; Chicago; New York; San Francisco; Santa Monica; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.


NRDC is seeking a Yale-NRDC Environmental Law Fellow to work in one of our U.S. offices.

Position Summary


NRDC is hiring a Legal Fellow for a two-year fellowship starting in August 2024. For the first year, through August 2025, the Fellow will work at NRDC. During that time, the Fellow will focus on litigation or policy efforts (domestic or international) to redress environmental and public health harms, such as air and water pollution, climate change, threats to endangered species and at-risk lands, environmental injustice, and exposure to toxic chemicals. The Fellow will work in one of NRDC’s programs (Climate & Energy; Nature; International; or Environmental Health), or with the Environmental Equity and Justice Center or Green Finance teams and may represent NRDC and its members in federal or state court litigation or pursue policy initiatives in one or more of those areas. The Fellow may also collaborate with other environmental, labor, public health, and racial justice groups. The Fellow will work closely with, and be supervised by, experienced NRDC attorneys. The Fellow will be affiliated with one of NRDC’s major domestic offices (New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Chicago, or Santa Monica), depending on the Fellow’s preference and NRDC’s needs.  


For the second year (August 2025 through August 2026), the Fellow will work at Yale in New Haven, Connecticut, providing support for environmental law clinics, dual degree students, and events and activities relating to environmental law and policy. The Fellow’s primary responsibility will be to coordinate and co-teach the Environmental Protection Clinic alongside NRDC experts and a Yale faculty member. The Environmental Protection Clinic is an interdisciplinary clinic offered jointly between Yale Law School and the Yale School of the Environment. The Clinic creates teams of graduate students to work on substantial projects for outside organizations, particularly those with a significant environmental justice focus. Projects include litigation support, administrative advocacy, legislative drafting, strategic and communications planning, network building, scientific literature reviews, and more. In addition to being the primary coordinator of the Clinic, the Fellow will also have substantive supervision responsibilities for particular Clinic student projects. It is the intention of NRDC and Yale that those projects will include matters that the Fellow has already worked on during the first year of the Fellowship at NRDC.         


  • In first year, work in one of NRDC’s programs (Climate & Energy; Nature; International; or Environmental Health) or with the Environmental Equity and Justice Center or Green Finance teams and may represent NRDC and its members in federal or state court litigation or pursue policy initiatives in one or more of those areas.
  • In second year, co-direct Yale’s Environmental Protection Clinic alongside the Clinic’s teaching team



  • Commitment to NRDC’s mission and values.
  • Juris Doctorate within the past three years from any accredited law school.
  • Admission (or eligibility for admission on motion) to the relevant state bar for the NRDC office where the Fellow will work.(Only required for some NRDC placements)
  • Exceptional legal writing, analytical, and oral communication skills.
  • Strong academic and professional record.
  • Comfort interpreting scientific and technical concepts.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and enthusiasm for teamwork.
  • Capacity to work hard, efficiently, and independently.
  • Commitment to public service or social justice work.
  • Interest in mentoring students in environmental advocacy.


  • Judicial clerkship or substantial clinical experience

NRDC is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, both in our work and in our workplace. We believe that celebrating and actively welcoming diverse 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 is commensurate with skills and experience. Internal equity will be reviewed and considered to determine a final offer. For this position, the salary range is $87,000 to $96,000.  


Our offices are open and we are operating in a hybrid model. We offer NRDCers flexibility, and we ask them to come into the office and spend meaningful time there in collaboration with their colleagues. We call this purposeful presence. 


As a science-based organization, NRDC aims to do our part to help contain the COVID-19 public health crisis. For the sake of health, safety, and equity, we ask that people be vaccinated unless they have an approved medical or religious accommodation or other exemption in accordance with state and local law. We consider a person to be vaccinated two weeks after receiving one full course of a CDC-approved vaccine. In accordance with state or local law, new hires will be asked to attest to vaccination, those wishing to do so may request medical or religious accommodations or other exemptions via NRDC Employee Relations. NRDC treats all vaccine-related data confidentially, in keeping with local, state, and federal laws. 


To apply, visit www.nrdc.org/careers and upload your résumé and cover letter. Please mention where you saw this posting and upload any additional materials that showcase your abilities. Due to the high volume of applications, we will contact only those candidates we would like to interview. Please no phone calls, emails, or in-person résumé drop-offs. 


1152 15th St NW #300
Washington, D.C. DC 20005
United States