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Litigation Fellow

Job Location

New York; Washington, DC; Chicago; San Francisco


Type of Job



Minimum $90000, midpoint $99000

Published By

Publisher Name

Published Date

Oct 4, 2021

About the job

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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 Litigation Fellow to work with the Litigation team in our New York; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; and San Francisco offices. Preference will be given to candidates who wish to work in New York or Chicago. The term for this fellowship is Fall 2022 through Fall 2024, with the possibility of extension through Fall 2025.


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, including 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.


Since March 2020, NRDC’s offices have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Until circumstances allow us to re-open our offices, we will continue to support staff with remote working arrangements.



  • 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;
  • Engaging in discovery and conducting record and document review;
  • Preparing for and taking depositions; and
  • Contributing to institutional initiatives such as DEI-related projects, intern hiring and coordination, and organizing CLEs.



This Fellowship is designed for recent law school graduates and attorneys with approximately one to three years of litigation experience. In assessing candidates, we look for:

  • 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.

An ideal candidate will possess the following characteristics:

  • Strong sense of teamwork
  • Strong work ethic
  • Growth mindset
  • Ability to maintain composure and sense of humor under deadline pressure

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. Use the “additional documents” prompts to upload a short cover letter, a writing sample that does not reflect editing by others, and a list of three references. You will also be asked to answer two DEI questions at the end of the application process. In your cover letter, please tell us how you found out about this posting. Please address your cover letter to the Fellowship Hiring Managers. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, so we encourage applicants to apply soon.


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. Salary minimum is $90,000; salary midpoint is $99,000. Salary may be higher as appropriate for the selected candidate, with internal equity considerations taken into account.  Internal equity considerations and the average salary of the peer range 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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