Yale-NRDC Environmental Law Fellow

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

New York, NY, USA 🇺🇸

Chicago, IL, USA 🇺🇸

Washington, D.C., USA 🇺🇸

Santa Monica, CA, USA 🇺🇸

San Francisco, CA, USA 🇺🇸


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 Yale-NRDC Environmental Law Fellow (may have a JD from any law school) to work in one of our U.S. offices.


NRDC is hiring a Legal Fellow for a two-year fellowship starting in August 2022. For the first year, through August 2023, the Fellow will work at NRDC. During that time, the Fellow will focus on litigation or policy efforts to redress environmental and public health harms, such as air and water pollution, climate change, threats to endangered species, environmental injustice, and exposure to toxic chemicals. The Fellow will work in one of NRDC’s subject matter programs (Climate & Clean Energy; Nature; International; or Healthy People & Thriving Communities), 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 2023 through August 2024), 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. The Fellow will also support the Clinic’s efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion with its projects and seminars. 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.  


  • 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. 
  • Strong commitment to supporting and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within NRDC, the Clinic, and the legal profession.  
  • 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 (preferred). 
  • 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. Salary ranges from a minimum of $65,000 to a midpoint of $70,000.  Internal equity considerations and the average salary of the peer range will be reviewed before making a final offer. 

To apply, please visit our online portal at www.nrdc.org/careers and upload: 

  • Resume 
  • Cover letter that references where you learned of this position 
  • Legal writing sample (litigation- or policy-focused, up to 10 pages) 
  • Transcript 
  • List of 2-3 references 

We will accept applications until December 1, 2021. Please no phone calls, emails, faxes or in-person resume drop-offs. 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 www.nrdc.org

2 days remaining

Apply by 1 December, 2021