Local recruitment: Legal Fellow

Waterkeeper Alliance

New York City, NY, USA 🇺🇸

Waterkeeper Alliance, an international environmental organization, seeks a dynamic, goal-oriented Legal Fellow to help strengthen Waterkeeper Alliance and the Waterkeeper movement.

Location: New York City 

Position Type: Hybrid position (currently 2 days in the office, up to 3 days working from home)

Fellowship Duration: 2 years 

Organizational Overview: Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement uniting more than 300 Waterkeeper groups around the world, focusing community action on issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change. Waterkeeper groups patrol and protect more than 2.8 million square miles of rivers, lakes and coastlines in Africa, Asia, Australia, the Americas, and Europe. For more information please visit our website.

Position Description: The Legal Fellow is a new position at Waterkeeper Alliance, and will be a member of the organization’s Legal department. The position reports to the General Counsel and Legal Director. The Legal Fellow will be responsible for providing legal and strategic support to Waterkeeper Alliance and partner Waterkeeper groups on legal actions, investigations, and projects, and will generally support our legal advocacy efforts. 

The Legal Fellow will work closely with Waterkeeper Alliance Legal department staff, other Waterkeeper Alliance staff, Waterkeeper groups, and other partners to challenge polluting industry practices, specifically working to stop water pollution from existing industrial and municipal sources. Duties will include field investigations, case development, litigation, liaising with outside counsel, media relations, and grant support, all as more fully detailed below. 

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Legal Research: Conduct in-depth legal research on environmental laws, regulations, and policies at the local, state, and federal levels;
  • Litigation and Litigation Support: Assist attorneys in litigation efforts, including covering court appearances, taking and defending depositions, drafting pleadings, motions, discovery requests and responses, and correspondence, etc;
  • Drafting Regulatory comments: Prepare and review/approve comments to be submitted on Waterkeeper Alliance’s behalf to regulatory agencies and administrative bodies to support or oppose proposed government actions;
  • Coordination of regulatory advocacy: Coordinate Waterkeeper groups and other partners on regulatory efforts (comments, etc.) to seek protective regulation of polluting industries and oppose regulatory rollbacks;
  • Policy Analysis: Analyze court decisions, legislative bills and proposed regulations to assess their potential environmental impacts and provide recommendations;
  • Compliance Monitoring: Monitor compliance with environmental laws and regulations, and assist in identifying and addressing potential violations;
  • Collaboration: Work closely with Legal department and other staff, policy experts, and external partners to help achieve the organization’s environmental goals;
  • Administrative Tasks: Help manage administrative tasks related to legal cases, such as maintaining case files, tracking deadlines, organizing meetings, etc.
  • Support Advocacy Campaigns: Provide support to Waterkeeper Alliance advocacy campaigns and initiatives;
  • Fundraising Support: Assist Development department staff with grant writing and fundraising efforts by providing legal input and supporting grant applications;
  • Communications Support: Assist with media outreach activities in collaboration with other departments (e.g., Communications, Development) and media consultants.
  • Support General Counsel’s work on a variety of internal legal matters. 
  • Other legal tasks as they may be assigned from time to time by Waterkeeper Alliance management. 

Minimum Qualifications: The Legal Fellow position is designed for new and junior attorneys with up to four years of legal experience, and the successful candidate must be driven by a strong desire for justice. The Legal Fellow candidate must have: 

  • A firm belief that everyone has a right to clean water for drinking, fishing and swimming, and the skills and will to effectively fight for those rights;
  • A law degree (J.D., LL.B, LL.M., S.J.D.) from an ABA-accredited law school and admission in good standing (or awaiting admission after passing the bar exam) to at least one state bar;
  • Excellent written and oral presentation skills;
  • 1-4 years of relevant experience, preferably working directly in the environmental law/advocacy field, which may include participation in a law school clinic or other relevant environmental or litigation support experience prior to or during law school.
  • Willingness to appear in court and to zealously advocate for our and our partners’ interests. 
  • Familiarity with, or the ability to readily adapt to, the Waterkeeper culture and model;
  • Ability to travel as needed (not frequently);
  • Ability to work well independently; and
  • A charismatic and likable personality and a good sense of humor.

Other Relevant Qualifications: The ideal Legal Fellow candidate will also have:

  • Taken one or more environmental law courses in law school;
  • Experience preparing legal documents, including pleadings and motions;
  • Experience filing legal documents using courts’ electronic docketing/filing systems; 
  • Doctrinal and practical knowledge of environmental and administrative law (e.g., CWA, NEPA, ESA, APA), including enforcement, permitting, and rulemaking;
  • Experience with environmental campaign work, including developing strategy, investigations, case development, organizing, litigation, legislative advocacy, media relations, fundraising, campaign coordination, budget planning and/or management;
  • Technical knowledge, experience, and background in water quality issues, including water quality monitoring;
  • Experience and demonstrated ability and effectiveness working with volunteers and diverse partners; ability to communicate in more than one language is a plus;
  • Experience/familiarity with the Google Workspace suite of applications (Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.).

Culture & Benefits: Our staff and Waterkeepers are the heart of our mission, and we are committed to pursuing the principles of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) as we move forward to a more equal and just future as an organization. We aim to create and sustain a workforce that reflects the hundreds of global communities we strive to protect in our fight for clean water, and welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds to apply to join our team!

We offer a competitive industry salary, excellent benefits including 15 vacation days to start and paid parental leave, work from home opportunities, and a healthy work-life balance to all members of our team.

Hiring Salary Range: $60k – $75k annually. 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. 

Start Date: ASAP. This position will remain open until filled.

Applications: Send resume, one original writing sample, and a cover letter to careers@waterkeeper.org with the subject line “2023 Legal Fellow.”  Please note that applications must be emailed to careers@waterkeeper.org to be considered for this position. No phone calls, please.

Waterkeeper Alliance is dedicated to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment and is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.

In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete the required employment eligibility verification document form upon hire.

Waterkeeper is a registered trademark of Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc.


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