Summer 2021 Legal Interns - 25 openings

  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • USA
  • Oct 21, 2020
Internship- Paid Advocacy and Policy Environmental & Energy Law

Job Description

US-NY-New York | US-DC-Washington | US-IL-Chicago | US-CA-San Francisco | US-CA-Santa Monica


The Natural Resources Defense Council (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 staff helped write some of America's bedrock environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act, and many of the implementing regulations. Today, our staff of more than 700 lawyers, scientists, economists, policy advocates, communications experts, and others work across the United States and internationally from our offices in New York; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Santa Monica; San Francisco; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing.   

Recent NRDC victories include

  • Successfully challenging numerous rollbacks of environmental protections by the Trump administration
  • Advancing clean energy and climate change projects in India
  • Partnering with a coalition of residents and organizations to successfully require the city and state to safeguard the people of Flint, Michigan, from continued exposure to lead in drinking water
  • Successfully defending the protection of 128 million acres of ocean in the Arctic from oil and gas leasing 

Position Summary  

NRDC is seeking to hire a cohort of Summer Legal Interns to work on cases and projects with attorneys across our Program and Litigation Teams. Intern positions are available at our New York, D.C., Chicago, Santa Monica, and San Francisco offices.  


NRDC’s summer legal interns may participate in writing briefs, drafting complaints, preparing legal analyses, obtaining affidavits, investigating violations of environmental and health laws, developing policy advocacy campaigns, and drafting white papers and comments for submission to Congressional committees and administrative agencies. Our interns play an active role on the frontlines to protect our planet and the communities that depend upon it.  


This internship is designed for current law school students. In assessing candidates for the summer internship, we look for: 

  • Exceptional legal writing and analytical skills;
  • Strong oral communication skills;
  • Experience effectively working on a team;
  • Creativity and resourcefulness;
  • Commitment to public service, equity, or justice;
  • Demonstrated ability to work with people across different social identities and backgrounds; 
  • Record of academic and/or professional accomplishment; and
  • Commitment to NRDC’s values and mission.
  • Prior experience in environmental law is not required. 

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 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. Learn more about the steps we are taking to live up to these values here.  

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.  

NRDC encourages successful applicants to secure funding from scholarships or their law schools, but such funding is not a factor in selecting interns. NRDC will supplement outside funding to ensure interns receive at least $10,000 for the 10-week internship.

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NRDC will supplement outside funding to ensure interns receive at least $10,000 for the 10-week internship.