NRDC Litigation Team Fellowships

NRDC’s Litigation Team regularly hires as fellows third-year law school students and recent graduates who are committed to justice and interested in building litigation skills.

Litigation fellows have worked on cases involving fossil fuel pipelines, lead contamination, the regulation of toxic chemicals, and many other issues.

Credit: Craig McCaa/Bureau of Land Management

NRDC’s Litigation Team regularly hires lawyers in the first few years of their legal careers to join our team as Litigation Fellows. Fellows may come to NRDC upon graduating from law school, or they may have up to three years of postgraduation experience. As integral members of the Litigation Team, fellows represent NRDC and partner organizations in a wide variety of civil litigation to protect public health and the environment. Fellows have worked on cases involving lead contamination in drinking water, the regulation of harmful pesticides, fossil fuel pipelines, and many other issues.

Learn More About Working at NRDC

Litigation Fellows join our team for a two-year term, with a possible third-year extension. The goal of our fellowship program is to ensure that fellows develop a wide range of litigation skills and meet minimum experience requirements for the next stage of their careers. We have a learn-by-doing model: Fellows work on active cases alongside more senior attorneys and take on significant responsibilities, which may include conducting legal research and factual investigations; writing briefs, motions, and memoranda; presenting oral arguments and participating in status conferences and other court hearings; preparing for and taking depositions; communicating with opposing counsel, clients, and partner organizations; engaging in discovery; and conducting record and document review. Because fellows come to NRDC with varying degrees of prior litigation experience and with a range of interests and career goals, and because the demands of our docket and the course of any particular case can’t be scripted in advance, no two fellows’ experiences will be the same. But, over the course of each fellow’s time on the team, we strive to offer a well-rounded experience that gives each fellow progressively more case responsibility.

We are committed to providing excellent training and mentorship and to supporting both current and past Litigation Fellows in their professional development at NRDC and beyond. Though the Litigation Team is small and doesn’t routinely hire new staff attorneys, some fellows go on to careers at NRDC, and others typically transition to jobs at national and local environmental nonprofit organizations, state and federal justice departments and governmental agencies, and academia.

Each Litigation Fellow is affiliated with one of our five main U.S. offices: Chicago; New York City; San Francisco; Santa Monica, California; or Washington, D.C. Our general Litigation Fellowships, for which we typically hire every year, are open to recent graduates of any accredited law school. In addition, the Litigation Team hires for a Howard-NRDC Fellowship every other year, open to recent graduates of Howard University Law School (in alternate years, this fellowship is hosted by NRDC’s Environment, Equity & Justice Center); and the team hires for a Beagle/HLS Fellowship every two to three years, which is open to recent graduates of Harvard Law School. Additional legal fellowships outside of the Litigation Team but within NRDC include the Yale-NRDC Environmental Fellowship: a two-year fellowship, with the first year working in any of NRDC’s sectors and the second in co-directing Yale’s Environmental Protection Clinic; it’s open to recent graduates of any law school.

If you are a third-year law school student or recent law school graduate with a commitment to public service and justice and an interest in building litigation skills, we welcome your application for a Litigation Fellowship; candidates need not have completed any particular classes or postgraduate clerkships to be considered. Candidates also need not present a project proposal or obtain independent funding to apply. Applications typically open each fall for Litigation Fellowships, to start in the fall of the following year. Check NRDC’s Careers page for openings.

NRDC is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, both in our work and in our workplace. We believe that celebrating and actively welcoming a diversity of voices and perspectives are 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.

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