Senior Staff Attorney – Environmental Justice

August 3, 2023

Environmental Justice, News

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), a community-driven civil rights organization, seeks a Senior Staff Attorney to join our Environmental Justice (EJ) Program.  

NYLPI’s EJ Program confronts environmental racism and works to eliminate the unfair burden of environmental hazards borne by communities with low incomes and Indigenous, Black, Brown, Asian, and other communities of color in an effort to create a more equitable and sustainable New York. In partnership with grassroots, community-based organizations; advocacy groups; and residents, our EJ team builds campaigns, pursues strategic litigation, designs and develops community-led organizing initiatives, and shapes policy. We support local, bottom-up leadership and strengthen communities’ ability to assert their right to a healthy and sustainable environment. 

Current campaigns include ensuring the New York City Council and mayor comply with and implement a mandate to transform Rikers Island from a correctional facility to a renewable energy hub under the leadership of residents directly impacted by the jail; working with the City, community partners, and other advocates to establish a zero-emissions electric school bus fleet by 2035, representing residents and community advocates to hold polluters accountable for subjecting them to toxic emissions and wastewater, working with Environmental Justice partners to close fossil fuel “peaker” plants and replace them with renewable energy resources, as well as other efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions city and statewide, and pressing for a Just Transition from fossil fuels in a way that centers impacted communities, and creates quality, local jobs. 


About the Role

The Senior Staff Attorney will work in close partnership with the Program Director to inform and guide the direction of NYLPI’s EJ program, including the development and implementation of an integrated power-building strategy for systemic change through community lawyering in concert with grassroots-informed legal and policy interventions. The Senior Staff Attorney will lead legal initiatives and litigation, in partnership and collaboration with the Program Director and Litigation Director.  The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of serving in prior leadership role(s) with a demonstrated commitment to environmental, racial, social, and economic justice.

This position will work both independently and in collaboration with other attorneys, community organizers, policy analysts, and communications and lobbying experts. The Senior Staff Attorney will have opportunities to propose and develop new campaigns, litigation, and advocacy initiatives and represent NYLPI externally to establish and maintain key relationships with a broad range of decision-makers and stakeholders, including elected and government agency officials, unions, movement organizations, funders, and media. The Senior Staff Attorney will supervise other staff attorneys in the Environmental Justice Program as appropriate.




  • Commitment to environmental, racial, social, and economic justice and community lawyering;
  • Strong litigation experience and the ability to originate and effectuate impactful legal campaigns;
  • At least seven years of experience as a practicing attorney;
  • Ability to work in meaningful collaboration with a diverse range of clients and community partners, including elected and government agency officials;
  • Supervisory experience with consensus-oriented leadership style, excellent conflict-resolution skills, and empathic and open communication, or equivalent experience demonstrating outstanding skills in those areas; and
  • Attorney in good standing, licensed to practice law in the State of New York or eligible for admission to the New York Bar at the time of hiring.


  • Substantive experience with environmental and other civil rights law; 
  • Experience with legislative advocacy, administrative law, labor law, and procurement law
  • Strong community-building experience, including work with community organizers and grassroots organizations; and
  • Experience utilizing the 1991 Principles of Environmental Justice and the 1996 Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing



For 45 years, NYLPI has been a leading civil rights advocate for New Yorkers marginalized by 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

NYLPI offers a competitive salary based on years of relevant experience. A person in this role with seven to fifteen years of experience would earn $94,000 to $118,000. NYLPI offers comprehensive employer-paid benefits, including health insurance, short- and long-term disability and life insurance, an outstanding retirement savings plan, fifteen (15) days of vacation during the first year of employment, and holiday swapping policy to allow for the observation of holidays of your choice.  

Please send applications to [email protected] with the subject line “Attention: Senior Staff Attorney, Environmental Justice Program.”  Applications will be considered on a rolling basis and 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. Legal writing sample

NYLPI strongly encourages 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. 

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