Howard Legal Fellow

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Natural Resources Defense Council

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Chicago, IL, United States

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30+ days ago

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization. We use law, science, and the support of millions of members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities. NRDC was founded in 1970 and our people helped write some of America's bedrock environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act and many of the implementing regulations. Today, our team of more than 700 lawyers, scientists, economists, policy advocates, communications experts, and others work across the United States and the globe from our offices in New York; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Santa Monica; San Francisco; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing.

Position Summary

NRDC is seeking a recent graduate of Howard University School of Law to work with the Litigation team in one of our five main U.S. offices: New York; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; San Francisco; and Santa Monica. We will consider applicants who have graduated since 2020, including those graduating in Spring 2023. The term for this fellowship is Fall 2023 through Fall 2025, with the possibility of an extension through Fall 2026.

The Litigation Team is a group of approximately 40 lawyers, litigation assistants and other operations staff who pursue litigation across a broad range of environmental and public health issues and in collaboration with and on behalf of communities most impacted by environmental injustices (including Black, indigenous, and people of color, and low-income and rural communities). Over the past five years, we have litigated cases against the federal government to prevent climate pollution, challenge agency approvals of toxic chemicals and pesticides, resist the suspension of clean water safeguards, oppose offshore drilling and seismic exploration for oil and gas, defend national monuments, and protect energy efficiency standards, among other matters. We also bring enforcement cases against corporate and governmental entities whose violations harm health and the environment—including recent cases to protect the people of Newark, New Jersey and Flint, Michigan, from lead in drinking water; to remediate toxic pollution in the Penobscot River in Maine; to abate mold in New York City public housing for residents with asthma; and to halt air pollution from a coal-fired power plant in Illinois.
  • Collaborating with a team of lawyers and litigation assistants on legal research and factual investigations.
  • Writing briefs, motions, and memoranda.
  • Presenting oral arguments and participating in status conferences and other hearings.
  • Engaging in discovery and conducting record and document review.
  • Preparing for and taking depositions.
    • Contributing to institutional initiatives such as projects related to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in our work, intern hiring and coordination, and organizing CLEs.
This fellowship is designed for recent graduates of Howard University School of Law and alumni with up to three years of litigation experience. In assessing candidates, we look for:
  • Admission to the Bar of the jurisdiction in which they intend to practice, or willingness to complete the requirements for admission to that Bar.
  • Strong legal writing and analytical skills.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Experience working effectively with a team.
  • Demonstrated competency in working with people with different social identities than their own (including race, gender, sexual identity or orientation, age, class, and disability).
  • Creativity and resourcefulness
  • Demonstrated commitment to public service, equity, or social justice (including environmental, economic, social, or food justice)
  • Commitment to NRDC’s mission and values.
An ideal candidate will possess the following characteristics:
  • Strong sense of teamwork
  • Strong work ethic
  • Growth mindset
  • Ability to maintain composure and sense of humor under deadline pressure
NRDC is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, both in our work and in our workplace. We believe that celebrating and actively welcoming diverse voices and perspectives is essential to solving the planet's most pressing environmental problems, and we encourage applications from candidates whose identities have been historically under-represented in the environmental movement.

We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.

We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a supportive working environment. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and is commensurate with skills and experience. For this position, the salary is $ 83,500 to $ $99,000. Internal equity considerations will be reviewed before making a final offer.

Since March 2020, NRDC’s offices have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You will be associated with one of our offices, but until circumstances allow us to re-open, we will continue to support NRDCers with remote working arrangements.

As a science-based organization, NRDC aims to do our part to help contain the COVID-19 public health crisis. For the sake of health, safety, and equity, we ask that people be vaccinated unless they have an approved medical or religious accommodation or other exemption in accordance with state and local law. We consider a person to be vaccinated two weeks after receiving one full course of a CDC-approved vaccine. In accordance with state or local law, new hires will be asked to attest to vaccination, those wishing to do so may request medical or religious accommodations or other exemptions via NRDC Employee Relations. NRDC treats all vaccine-related data confidentially, in keeping with local, state, and federal laws.

To apply, visit and upload your résumé and cover letter. Please mention where you saw this posting and the NRDC office(s) in which you would prefer to work. We will consider applications on a rolling basis, with preference given to applicants who apply by November 1, 2022. Due to the high volume of applications, we will contact only those candidates we would like to interview. Please no phone calls, emails, or in-person résumé drop-offs.

If you experience technical problems while applying or if you are a person with a disability and need assistance applying online, please reach out to iCIMS Customer Care at 1-800-889-4422.

For more about NRDC, visit