NRDC is a non-profit environmental advocacy 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 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 Bozeman, Montana; Chicago; New York; San Francisco; Santa Monica; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.

Position Summary:
NRDC is seeking a Senior Attorney/Senior Policy Analyst Job to work with the Safe Water Initiative team in our Chicago office. The candidate will collaborate with a team of attorneys, policy analysts, and other staff engaged on drinking water and source water protection issues within the People & Communities program as well as across the organization. At this time, the person's portfolio of work will include Illinois drinking water policy advocacy but will likely expand to include other related work such as source water protection, addressing contaminants like PFAS, water affordability, and more.

NRDC's Safe Water initiative is a multi-faceted, cross-institutional campaign that seeks to make safe, sufficient, and affordable water from source to tap an enforceable human right. The candidate will help us achieve this goal by working with a team to address the legal, health, environmental justice, and governmental failures that compromise the safety of our water. We know these problems are not unique to communities like Flint, Michigan, and this person will also work to help tackle the roots of these systemic problems.

The position will report to the Director of the Safe Water Initiative and be based out of our Chicago office.

Successful candidates have demonstrated both strong independent initiative 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 strategies to grow NRDC's advocacy efforts on water policy in key states.
  • Actively work to center diversity, equity, inclusion, and movement building in our work with our partners.
  • Build and maintain strong ties and participate in productive working relationships community partners, environmental organizations, and non-traditional allies to establish new relationships with social justice, civil rights, and health organizations to support improved water policies.
  • Serve as a resource for partners when our insights and technical expertise are requested.
  • Work jointly with key NRDC staff to help develop and coordinate activities of the initiative regarding communications, lobbying, negotiation, policy advocacy, partnership alliances, and public engagement, and ensure that ongoing litigation activities are coordinated with all other aspects of the campaign.
  • Review and analyze current federal, state, and local water policies; in partnership with local community groups, produce and promote relevant and innovative solutions.
  • Advocate at the state and federal level for our policy goals and objectives.
  • Pursue and/or support litigation in state and federal court, where necessary, to achieve our programmatic objectives.
  • Speak on behalf of NRDC's work in the media and other related opportunities, such as the organization's social media platforms.
  • Engage in public speaking at conferences, webinars, and other related opportunities.
  • Assist with fundraising efforts and grant reports.
  • Supervise the work of contractors and interns.
  • Once it is safe, travel as necessary to implement work plan objectives in national, state, and local areas of focus.
  • Other duties as assigned.

While no candidate will have all the qualifications listed, an ideal candidate will have working knowledge of many of these characteristics.
  • Bachelor's Degree required. A law degree or advanced degree in public policy, water resources, public health, engineering, or a related subject is a plus.
  • Minimum of 7 years work experience in a related field.
  • A passion for protecting the environment and advancing NRDC's policy priorities.
  • Knowledge of Midwest or Great Lakes water policies, especially as they relate to drinking water, is ideal.
  • A general understanding of issue advocacy or fundamentals of a political campaign.
  • Experience and/or working knowledge of environmental justice and social justice issues.
  • Excellent oral and written communication and advocacy skills.
  • Ability to work hard, efficiently, and independently.
  • Ability to represent NRDC with maturity, judgment, and professionalism.
  • Comfortable interpreting scientific and technical concepts.
  • Project management experience.
  • Demonstrated commitment to public service or social justice work.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work as a member of a team to build upon strengths of the program.
  • Willingness to travel periodically.
  • Demonstrated commitment to principles of and competency in equity and inclusion, including contributing to an inclusive working and learning environment.