Yale/NRDC Legal Fellow

National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Published: February 4, 2020
New York, NY
Second Location
Washington, District of Columbia 20005, United States
Job Type
Legal / Natural Resources/ Restoration / Policy /

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~ 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 Overview 

This two-year legal fellowship starts in September 2020.

For the first year, through August 2021, the Fellow will work at NRDC, with focus on both litigation and policy.  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.


During the first year working with NRDC:

  • the Fellow will focus on litigation or policy efforts to redress environmental and public health harms, such as air and water pollution, climate change, threats to endangered species, environmental injustice, and exposure to toxic chemicals.
  • If placed with an NRDC subject matter program (such as Climate & Clean Energy, Nature, or Healthy People & Thriving Communities), the Fellow may represent NRDC and its members in federal or state court and may also pursue policy initiatives in one or more of those areas.
  • If placed with NRDC’s Litigation Team, the Fellow will litigate in federal or state court on a variety of environmental and/or public health issues. In doing so, the Fellow will represent NRDC and its members, and may collaborate with other environmental, labor, and public health groups.
  • 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 (New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago, or Santa Monica), 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 Environmental Protection Clinic along with NRDC experts and a Yale faculty member. The Environmental Protection Clinic is an interdisciplinary clinic offered jointly between Yale Law School and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. The Clinic 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 Clinic, the Fellow will also have substantive supervision responsibilities for particular Clinic 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 click "Apply on Company Website" below to upload your resume and cover letter through our online portal.
  • We would like you to upload any additional papers or project work that you think would showcase your abilities.
  • Due to the high volume of resumes, only qualified candidates will be contacted.
  • Please no phone calls, emails, faxes or in-person resume drop-offs.
  • Please reference where you saw this posting. 

Note: If you are having technical difficulty while applying, please reach out to Customer Care by dialing 1-800-889-4422.

For further information about NRDC, please visit our website

NRDC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. NRDC is committed to workplace diversity and inclusion. We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender identity and expression, 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. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, for positions based in San Francisco, CA we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.

When you apply for this position, please say you saw this job on Green Dream Jobs!!

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