Staff Attorney or Policy Analyst (Water)

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Chicago, IL, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Mid-Level (5-7 Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is the nation's most effective environmental action 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 a safe and healthy environment for all living things. 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; our water enforcement cases played a major role shaping current water policy throughout the country. Today, our staff of more than 500 lawyers, scientists, economists, policy and communications experts, and others, work out of offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Bozeman, Montana, and Beijing.


Position Summary:


NRDC seeks a Staff Attorney or Policy Analyst to work on drinking water and source water protection issues in our Chicago office as part of NRDC’s Safe Water Initiative. The candidate will collaborate with a team of attorneys, policy analysts, and other staff engaged on drinking water and source water protection issues within the Healthy People & Thriving Communities program as well as across the organization and with key Midwest partners, especially in Michigan.


NRDC’s Safe Water initiative is a multi-faceted, cross institutional campaign working to ensure that everyone has access to safe, sufficient, and affordable drinking water. This campaign ultimately seeks to make safe, sufficient, and affordable water from source to tap an enforceable human right. The candidate will help us achieve this goal by working with a team to address the legal, health, environmental justice, and governmental failures that compromise the safety of our water. The candidate will assist with our Michigan work and manage other projects to help tackle the roots of these problems.


The position will report to the Director of the Safe Water Initiative.


Successful candidates have demonstrated both strong independent initiative and the ability to contribute effectively as a member of a team and collaborate across organizations.  Specific responsibilities include:

  • Assist the director of the Safe Water Initiative in developing strategies to build NRDC’s advocacy efforts and reputation on water issues in key states
  • Work jointly with key NRDC staff to help develop and coordinate activities of the campaign regarding communications, lobbying, negotiation, policy advocacy, partnership alliances, and public engagement, and ensure ongoing litigation activities are coordinated with all other aspects of the campaign
  • Build alliances with environmental, environmental justice, drinking water-focused groups, non-traditional allies, and other stakeholders to support improved water policies in the Midwest
  • Review and analyze current federal, state, and local water policies; and promote relevant innovations
  • Advocate at the state and federal level on Midwest water policy, especially relating to drinking water and source water protection
  • Pursue and support litigation in state and federal court, where necessary, to achieve our programmatic objectives
  • Supervise the work of contractors and interns
  • Travel necessary to implement work plan objectives in national, state, and local areas of focus
  • Other duties as assigned


  • Law degree or advanced degree in public policy, water resources, public health, engineering, or a related subject.
  • Minimum of 7 years work experience in a related field.
  • A passion for protecting the environment and advancing NRDC’s policy priorities.
  • Knowledge of Midwest or Great Lakes water policies, especially as they relate to drinking water, is a plus.
  • Strong advocacy experience especially related to environmental issues; experience working with underrepresented communities is a plus.
  • Excellent oral and written communication and advocacy skills.
  • Ability to work hard, efficiently, and independently.
  • Ability to represent NRDC with maturity, judgment, and
  • Comfortable interpreting scientific and technical concepts.
  • Project management experience.
  • Demonstrated commitment to public service or social justice work.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work as a member of a team to build upon the strengths of the program.
  • Willingness to travel periodically. 

NRDC is committed to workplace diversity and inclusion.  We are equal opportunity employers and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law.  We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a pleasant working environment.  Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and commensurate with experience.


To apply, please visit and upload your resume and cover letter through our online portal. 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.