Environmental Law Fellow

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

Various, , US


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a nonprofit environmental organization that has worked to protect the environment and public health since 1970. NRDC advances its mission through litigation, lobbying, research, and education on a broad range of issues, including combating climate change, promoting public health and environmental justice, curbing air and water pollution, and preserving wildlife and wild places. It has a staff of nearly 600 people, with major offices in New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, and Santa Monica.


Founded in 1701, Yale University is committed to improving the world today and for future generations through outstanding research and scholarship, education, preservation, and practice. Yale educates aspiring leaders worldwide who serve all sectors of society. Yale carries out this mission through the free exchange of ideas in an ethical, interdependent, and diverse community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

NRDC and Yale have a long and happy history: NRDC was founded nearly 50 years ago by a group of Yale Law School graduates. The two institutions collaborate on Yale’s Environmental Protection Clinic (EPC), an interdisciplinary environmental law and policy clinic jointly offered by Yale Law School and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. NRDC attorneys and scientists are joint instructors in the clinic.


To help mentor and train the next generation of environmental leaders, NRDC and Yale are expanding their long-standing partnership and offering a two-year Environmental Law Fellowship for recent law school graduates.



The two-year fellowship is available starting in September 2018. For the first year, through August 2019, 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, including air and water pollution, climate change, threats to endangered species, environmental injustice, and exposure to toxic chemicals. If the Fellow is placed with NRDC’s Litigation Team, she will represent NRDC and its members in federal or state court litigation, and may work closely with other environmental, labor, and public health groups. If the Fellow is placed with an NRDC subject matter program (such as Energy, Climate, Oceans, Water, or Environmental Justice), she will pursue policy initiatives in one or more of those areas. In either case the Fellow will work closely with, and be supervised by, experienced NRDC attorneys. The Fellow will be placed in one of NRDC’s major offices, depending on the Fellow’s preference and NRDC’s needs.

For the second year, 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 EPC along with NRDC experts and a Yale faculty member. As noted above, the EPC is an interdisciplinary clinic offered jointly between Yale Law School and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. The EPC creates teams of graduate students to work on substantial projects for outside organizations. 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 EPC, the Fellow will also have substantive supervision responsibilities for particular EPC student projects. 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 law school.
  • Admission (or eligibility for admission on motion) to the relevant state bar for the NRDC office where the Fellow will work.
  • Exceptional legal writing, analytical, and oral advocacy skills.
  • Excellent 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).

To Apply:

  • Please go to http://www.nrdc.org/jobs, search for this posting, and create a profile. Upload your resume, then use the “additional documents” prompts to upload a cover letter, a legal writing sample that does not reflect substantial editing from others, a list of three professional references, and a law school transcript.
  • In your cover letter, please tell us how you found out about this position and specify which NRDC offices (among those listed above) you’re able to work in, in order of preference.
  • The application deadline is October 12, 2017. NRDC and Yale will review applications and schedule interviews for this position on a rolling basis.

Both NRDC and Yale are committed to workplace diversity and inclusion. Each is an equal opportunity employer and does 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. The Fellowship will offer a competitive salary, excellent benefits, and a collegial working environment. Salary will be based on a nonprofit or academic scale, commensurate with experience.