Staff Attorney or Policy Analyst (Water)

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

Chicago, IL, US


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is the nation’s most effective environmental action group, combining the power of more than 3 million members and online activists with the expertise of nearly 600 scientists, lawyers, policy advocates, and other professionals across the globe ensure the rights of all people to the air, the water, and the wild. 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 – a force for nature – work out of offices in New York, Washington DC, 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. The successful candidate will be an integral part of NRDC’s Safe Water Initiative, which works to ensure that everyone has access to safe, sufficient, and affordable drinking water—regardless of our background, or where we live, work, or go to school. NRDC’s Safe Water initiative is a multi-faceted, cross institutional campaign that is centered on addressing the legal, health, environmental justice, and governmental failures that compromise the safety of our water. We know these problems are not unique to one community and this person will work in the Midwest region to help tackle the roots of these problems.


The successful 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.


Successful candidates will demonstrate a strong independent track record of success 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 a long-term regional strategy to build NRDC’s advocacy efforts around water.
  • Review, research and analyze current federal, state, and local water policies; and promote relevant innovations.
  • Provide strong expertise and advocate at the state and federal level on Midwest water policy, especially relating to drinking water and source water protection.
  • Pursue and/or support litigation in state and federal court, where necessary, to achieve our programmatic objectives.
  • Manage productive working relationships and represent NRDC to variety of partners at environmental organizations and non-traditional allies while establishing new relationships to support improved water polices in the Midwest.
  • Under the direction of the Director, work with a variety of NRDC staff to help coordinate project tasks, creating an organized, comprehensive and unified campaign that works to further the Safe Water Initiative’s effort.
  • Work with the Director and other members of the team, to set priorities, budgets and timelines and effectively deploy consultants and partners to meet project timelines and objectives.
  • Respond to media requests and develop advocacy materials to spread NRDC’s message as appropriate.
  • Travel as 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.
  • Knowledge of Midwest or Great Lakes water policies, especially as they relate to drinking water, is a plus.
  • Strong advocacy and/or campaign experience on 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 and represent NRDC with maturity, judgement and professionalism.
  • Comfort interpreting scientific and technical concepts.
  • Demonstrated commitment to public service or social justice work.
  • Significant project management experience.
  • Strong quantitative and analytical skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work as a member of a team to build upon strengths of the program.

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.