Environmental Justice Director

January 11, 2024

Climate and Energy Justice, Environmental Justice, News

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), a community-driven civil rights organization, seeks an experienced attorney as Director for its Environmental Justice program.

Through our Environmental Justice work, NYLPI seeks to eliminate the unfair burdens of environmental hazards borne by low-income communities and communities of color – and to create a more equitable and sustainable New York. In partnership with community-based organizations, advocacy groups, pro bono law firms, and individual New Yorkers, our Environmental Justice team builds coalitions, devises and executes campaigns, brings cutting-edge litigation, and shapes policy. We are creative and determined in our legal, policy, and community work. We engage our community partners and follow the lead of people most directly affected by environmental racism and injustice. Having successfully fought for the enactment of New York State’s Environmental Rights Amendment, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, and critical Local Laws addressing systemic environmental harms, we are dedicated to full implementation through litigation, regulation, and further legislation.

About the Role 

This position is a remarkable opportunity for an experienced, creative leader to build on NYLPI’s strengths and successes, and increase our impact by developing and managing ambitious litigation and campaigns. The Environmental Justice Director will:

  • Provide strategic leadership, identifying systemic environment-related problems and policies that affect clients and communities and pursuing powerful solutions by creatively combining organizing, policy advocacy, and high-impact litigation to achieve community goals. 
  • Maintain a bold and collaborative advocacy culture with program staff, including attorneys, community organizers, and advocates, and work to enhance relationships with client communities, advocacy and community groups, pro bono partners, government agencies and elected officials, the media, the courts, and the nonprofit legal community. 
  • Litigate complex environmental justice and civil rights cases in state and federal court and represent clients in administrative proceedings. 
  • Report to the Executive Director and be responsible for the day-to-day management, professional development, and evaluation of the legal and advocacy staff in the Environmental Justice program.
  • Collaborate with NYLPI’s Disability Justice and Health Justice programs, Director of Policy, Director of Litigation, and Pro Bono Clearinghouse.
  • Participate as a member of NYLPI’s leadership team, including as a member of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. 
  • Work with NYLPI’s Development team to pursue grants and report to funders on our work.  
  • Speak and write publicly about NYLPI’s work, presenting testimony, interviewing with the media, publishing opinion pieces, and taking other opportunities to educate the public and pursue environmental justice as a thought leader. 




  • Demonstrated commitment to community-centered environmental and racial justice advocacy. 
  • Significant litigation experience in the areas of environmental and/or other civil rights law.  
  • Management, supervisory, and/or leadership experience in nonprofit or public sector legal/advocacy programs, or equivalent experience demonstrating strong skills in those areas (for example leading litigation teams).
  • Excellent writing, analytic, interpersonal, and public speaking skills and ability to be flexible in approach and strategy. 
  • Strategic judgment and the drive to originate and effectuate challenging campaigns. 
  • Ability to relate to and work in meaningful collaboration with a diverse group of clients, community partners, and staff, as well as nonprofit, government, judicial, and business communities.
  • Attorney in good standing and licensed to practice law in New York or eligible for admission to the New York bar at the time of hiring (must be admitted within one year of hire).


  • Experience working with diverse coalitions of community members and community-based organizations and in planning and executing effective comprehensive campaigns.
  • Experience with policy and/or administrative advocacy.
  • Knowledge of local, state, and federal environmental statutes
  • Proficiency in Spanish and/or other major languages of our client communities. 


Salary and benefits

NYLPI offers a competitive salary from $117,000 to $187,000 based on years of relevant experience.  NYLPI offers comprehensive employer-paid benefits, including health insurance, short- and long-term disability and life insurance, an outstanding retirement savings plan (after 12 months, NYLPI contributes 5% of an employee’s annual salary and will match up to an additional 2½%), paid family and sick leave, fifteen (15) days of vacation during the first year of employment (increasing to 24 in the third year) and five personal days, eleven (11) official office holidays, and a holiday swapping policy to allow for the observation of holidays of your choice, as well as extensive voluntary benefits.   

NYLPI is a hybrid workplace. This position requires a minimum of two days per week in the office, with additional in-person time as required. NYLPI’s hybrid workplace requirements may change. The director must be based in the New York City area upon starting employment.  

Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis. Please send applications to [email protected] with the subject line “Environmental Justice Director.” Applications must include: 

  1. Detailed cover letter explaining your interest, passion, and experience, with a specific answer to the following required question: How have your background or experiences, professional or otherwise, prepared you to contribute to our commitment to cultural competency and diversity, equity, and inclusion? Feel free to think broadly about your response to this question, applying various aspects of your life and personal experiences. Please also reference in your cover letter where you saw this posting. 
  2. Resume 
  3. Persuasive legal writing sample. 

We strongly encourage candidates fluent in multiple languages and candidates from historically oppressed groups to apply. We are committed to advancing social justice and civil rights in our advocacy, and we value the dynamism and perspective that staff diversity, equity, and inclusion bring to the work and culture of our organization. We strive to promote behaviors, attitudes and policies that enable us to work inclusively and effectively in cross-cultural situations with clients, co-workers, and community partners. We actively recruit and seek to grow and maintain a staff that is diverse along many axes, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, and national origin; disability; socioeconomic background; and sexual orientation and gender identity.  


About NYLPI 

For more than 45 years, NYLPI has been a leading civil rights advocate for New Yorkers opposing marginalization on the basis of race, immigration status, poverty, neighborhood pollution, and disabilities. NYLPI pioneered the practice of community lawyering in the five boroughs of New York City. These communities shape our priorities, and their struggles for justice demand innovative solutions. Our interdisciplinary teams of advocates use every tool available – community organizing, impact litigation and individual representation, policy advocacy, media, pro bono partnerships, and public education – to solve seemingly intractable problems, develop leaders, and build collective power to achieve justice. We strive to create equal access to health care, achieve equality of opportunity and self-determination for people with disabilities, ensure immigrant opportunity, strengthen local nonprofits, and secure environmental justice for low-income communities of color. To learn more about NYLPI, visit www.nylpi.org.

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