Legal Program Director

New York, NY, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Position Overview
Riverkeeper is seeking a Legal Program Director to lead the organization’s legal efforts to protect the Hudson River, its tributaries, and the New York City drinking water supply watershed, which provides drinking water to nine million New Yorkers. The ideal candidate will be an experienced attorney and manager who has a strong record of achievement and cares deeply about environmental issues. The position requires someone with vision, energy and the necessary skills to take the program to a higher level of achievement. This is a high profile assignment that will require the use of litigation, advocacy, media outreach/lobbying and public education tools to shape the future of the Hudson River Estuary and New York City drinking water watershed and influence critical regional, state and national campaigns.

Duties & Responsibilities
The Legal Program Director will serve as a member of the management team. Specifically, the Director will:

  • Lead program efforts to protect and restore the Hudson River, through the development and implementation of litigation and policy campaigns focused on a range of issues, including reducing sewage pollution, addressing the risk of crude oil shipping in the Hudson Valley, closing the Indian Point nuclear power plant, ensuring the remediation of Superfund and other legacy industrial sites, restoring critical habitat and declining fish populations, and improving water quality to achieve a “fishable, swimmable” Hudson.
  • Lead all efforts to protect the shared drinking water supply of New York City and the lower Hudson Valley and monitor the Department of Environmental Protection’s operations to ensure compliance with the NYC Watershed Agreement and all other applicable rules, regulations, and agreements.
  • Direct all pollution control and enforcement efforts to ensure compliance with Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) within the Hudson Estuary and New York City drinking water watershed.
  • Lead program efforts on numerous issues, including projects and cases to curb sprawl and prevent non-point source pollution; ensure effective state and local storm water management plans; minimize environmental impacts of large-scale development projects; and continue our statewide campaign to prevent harmful impacts of hydraulic fracturing and related infrastructure projects.
  • Direct team of attorneys and independent technical and scientific experts in litigation, policy advocacy and preparation of expert reports and research to support Riverkeeper campaign objectives and legal cases. Direction of team includes daily management and annual employee appraisal process.
  • Develop and coordinate enforcement and campaign advocacy actions in collaboration with Riverkeeper’s Boat and Water Quality teams, other environmental organizations, and coalition members, as appropriate.
  • Raise awareness through education and outreach, including engaging partners and stakeholders; Board of Directors, donors, members and communities.
  • Manage and direct litigation support and representation from the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, independent outside counsel and pro bono law firms, as needed to achieve litigation goals.
  • Support and engage as needed in fundraising with President and Development team, including assistance with grant writing and reporting, individual donor and foundation meetings.
  • Act as one of Riverkeeper’s lead spokespersons to the media, elected officials, regulatory agencies and the public on Riverkeeper campaigns
  • Be responsible for program budgeting and staff management

Working Relationships
The Legal Program Director reports to Riverkeeper’s President, manages a team of five staff attorneys, Hudson watershed advocate, a staff scientist, an advocacy coordinator, and a policy and enforcement associate, and serves as a liaison/point of contact for the Riverkeeper’s Board Litigation Committee on all litigation matters.


  • Attorney, admitted to practice in New York; admission to federal court is preferred but not mandatory
  • At least ten years of practicing environmental law, with at least two of those years in a managerial role
  • Have training or experience with the Clean Water Act, RCRA, NEPA, NY SEQRA, CERCLA, and/or the Atomic Energy Act.
  • Strong commitment to the mission and goals of Riverkeeper; familiarity with non-profit organizations
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Experience working with media and public relations, fundraising, community outreach etc.
  • A strong team-oriented manager, able to handle multiple projects, cases and deadlines
  • Some travel, as well as evening and occasional weekend work, will be required.

The Legal Program Director will be based in Riverkeeper’s main office in Ossining, located at 20 Secor Road (right by the Metro North train station). He/she will travel to Riverkeeper’s White Plains office, located at the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, as needed.

Compensation & Benefits
Competitive; based on experience

Deadline to apply:
January 20, 2017

To Apply
Please submit your resume, cover letter and a writing sample to "> . Please write: LEGAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR in the subject line. Phone calls and faxes will not be accepted.

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