Howard University and NRDC Announce New Litigation Fellowship

WASHINGTON – Howard University School of Law and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) have created a new litigation fellowship connecting the school’s graduates with NRDC’s Litigation Team. Beginning in 2021, NRDC’s Litigation Team will hire a recent graduate of Howard University School of Law each year for a two-year fellowship with an optional third-year extension. Fellows will work on cases with NRDC’s senior attorneys across a wide range of environmental issues. This is the first dedicated Environmental Law fellowship exclusive to Howard Law graduates in the school's history and few similar fellowships exist across the country. 

“This fellowship provides Howard University School of Law students and alumni a distinctive opportunity to gain environmental litigation experience protecting communities beset by environmental and related health risks,” said Carlton Waterhouse,  J.D., Ph.D., professor of law and director of the Environmental Justice Center at Howard Law. “The partnership provides NRDC with access to premier law graduates with a deep understanding of and commitment to social justice and the imperative to ensure environmental protection for marginalized communities.”

“For far too long, the Green movement—including NRDC—has failed to bring a diverse array of professionals into its ranks,” said Mitch Bernard, NRDC’s executive director and chief counsel. “This fellowship creates a pathway for legal talent from one of the nation’s finest law schools to get essential hands-on experience litigating pressing and important environmental cases. We are thrilled to deepen our relationship with Howard University School of Law and to support the next generation of leaders in environmental law.” 

Howard University School of Law was created to provide legal education for Americans traditionally excluded from the profession—especially African Americans. The objective of the School of Law is to produce superior professionals, capable of achieving positions of leadership in law, business, government, education, and public service. Most importantly, Howard University School of Law is dedicated to producing “social engineers.” As Charles Hamilton Houston stated, “A lawyer’s either a social engineer or … a parasite on society … A social engineer [is] a highly skilled, perceptive, sensitive lawyer who [understands] the Constitution of the United States and [knows] how to explore its uses in the solving of problems of local communities and in bettering conditions of the underprivileged citizens.”

NRDC is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization that uses 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 the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities. NRDC’s Litigation Team pursues litigation across a broad range of environmental and public health issues, often working in coalition with national, regional, and local partners. NRDC has a long history of challenging unlawful federal rollbacks of environmental and public health protections and boasts a robust docket of environmental enforcement cases against government and private party polluters; including cases brought 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). This includes 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; and to halt air pollution from a coal-fired power plant in Illinois.  

The job posting can be viewed at:  

Interested applicants can get more information on the fellowship by


NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​