The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a national nonprofit environmental group that uses litigation, legislative and administrative advocacy, and science to fight for protection of the environment and public health. Our organizational purpose is "to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals and the natural systems on which all life depends." We employ more than four hundred lawyers, scientists, and other staff and maintain offices in New York; Washington DC; Chicago; San Francisco and Santa Monica, California; and Beijing, China.
The Chicago Legal Program Assistant will work in the Chicago office and provide both general administrative and more specialized litigation and other advocacy support for two to three attorneys on the Chicago branch of NRDC's Litigation Team and one attorney with the Midwest Program. (See "Job Duties," below, for details). The Assistant will also collaborate with litigation assistants and attorneys on companion Litigation Team branches in NRDC's New York, Washington, DC and San Francisco offices.
The Litigation Team
The Litigation Team represents NRDC in court. The Team's litigation spans a broad range of environmental issues, such as preventing global warming; protecting public health; promoting environmental justice; curbing air and water pollution; preserving wildlife and wild places; and reducing overfishing. Team attorneys have worked on trials to protect threatened and endangered fish from risks of extinction posed by the state and federal water projects; challenged a federal regulation that permitted pesticide dosing experiments on humans; sued local governments over the discharge of polluted storm water; prevented a federal agency's unlawful discharge of toxic heavy metals from old military ships into San Francisco Bay; blocked a state budget bill that sought to raid more than $150 million from low-income weatherization and energy efficiency programs; challenged the FDA's failure to restrict the use of antibiotics in livestock; and compelled a scientific investigation of and response to industrial solvent contamination from a rural Tennessee landfill that threatened drinking water wells in the surrounding community.
Each of the four branches of the Litigation Team (Chicago, New York, Washington DC, and San Francisco) includes two to four lawyers plus a program assistant. The Chicago branch is the newest and was launched this past year; it currently includes two attorneys, and we hope to add a third in the coming year.
The Midwest Program
The Midwest Program advocates in legislative, administrative and other forums on a wide variety of Midwest-based issues, including cleaning up or shutting down dirty energy sources, developing and enforcing regulatory programs concerning fossil fuel extraction and refining, and developing and implementing stronger standards and innovative approaches under the Clean Water Act to protect waterways in the region. Recent litigation led by the Midwest Program includes Clean Water Act challenges aimed at cleaning up algae-fueling nutrient pollution, litigation to prohibit the transfer of toxic residuals from air pollution equipment into the water, and enforcement of Clean Air Act requirements as they pertain to permitting of tar sands refineries.
Administrative support duties include processing invoices and expense reports; proofreading, formatting, copying, scanning and faxing documents; assisting in intern hiring and orientation; scheduling meetings, travel and retreats; and assisting other Litigation Team and Midwest program assistants and the office receptionist as needed.
Litigation support duties include drafting and editing legal correspondence; researching and summarizing court rules; maintaining extensive case files stored electronically, in hard copy and archived off-site; conducting fact research; reviewing documents produced by other parties in litigation; maintaining contact with clients; interviewing NRDC members affected by lawsuits and drafting declarations; preparing documents for filing in court and assisting with filing and service; and tracking case-related expenses.
Non-litigation support duties include fact research and assistance with preparation of advocacy materials.
- Bachelor's degree required
- One year previous administrative or paralegal experience (or equivalent) preferred but not essential
- Willingness to learn to do, quickly and accurately, litigation support tasks including preparing court filings; proofreading and cite-checking legal documents; processing and tracking expenses; maintaining case files, calendars, and budgets; researching and writing memos; and planning retreats and meetings
- Ability to prioritize and efficiently execute multiple tasks, follow institutional procedures, and perform undirected work with meticulous attention to detail
- Demonstrated interest in and commitment to environmental issues preferred
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Superior editing, research and data synthesis skills
- Commitment to accuracy and rigor
- Ability to maintain composure and sense of humor under deadline pressure
- Willingness and flexibility to work overtime
- Enthusiasm for teamwork
- Ability to maintain confidentiality and work discreetly with sensitive information
- High proficiency with Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, and Outlook
- Familiarity with Adobe preferred
idealist.org - 9 months ago