Are you passionate about advancing law and policy solutions for communities facing environmental injustices? Are you a policy-minded and committed strategic thinker dedicated to countering systemic racism in environmental law and policy? The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) is looking for a seasoned legal professional to serve as Director of the Environmental Justice Initiative. We seek an experienced environmental justice (EJ) expert who can draw together ELI’s unique strengths and further our work devising legal, policy, and governance solutions to systemic racism in the United States. The Director of the EJ Initiative will direct the expansion of ELI’s Environmental Justice Initiatives. In collaboration with ELI’s senior Research and Policy staff, in consultation with ELI’s Environmental Justice Advisory Council, and with the guidance provided by ELI’s Board of Directors in their Statement on Racism and Environmental Justice and Accountability Roadmap, the Director, EJ Initiative will help identify opportunities to advance environmental justice in the United States across our areas of focus, and conduct outreach, strategy development, and project assignments.

Given the Covid-19 public health emergency and ELI’s commitment to prioritizing the health and wellness of its employees, this position will initially be teleworking only. However, once ELI resumes a normal in-office staff presence, this position will be based in our Washington, DC office.



ELI’s Research and Policy staff collaborates in interdisciplinary teams with communities, government agencies, and other nonprofits and thought leaders to work on a wide range of projects. We have been pioneers in advancing concepts of environmental rights and in designing approaches for ensuring environmental accountability globally and in the United States. In our U.S.-focused work, the Institute has a long record of working at the federal, state, and local levels.

Our programs prioritize issues that affect communities in fundamental ways, such as indoor air quality, green infrastructure, green storm water management, and working with technologists on cutting-edge technologies that may offer solutions in the environmental justice arena. We seek to enable community leaders and environmental justice advocates by giving them tools to navigate complex public processes and assert their policy preferences and rights, as in our decade-long program to aid Gulf of Mexico communities’ participation in restoration and recovery efforts in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster. We also assist government officials responsible for implementing and enforcing environmental laws.

Justice and empowering communities have long been motivating values for ELI’s work but environmental racism remains entrenched in our legal system. Now is the time for bold action to fundamentally reshape the system to give power to communities and ensure costs and benefits are distributed justly. ELI is now focusing at the systemic level on identifying legal and policy approaches that would realize this critical transformation.

In addition to ELI’s work in the United States, we also have longstanding international programs. Our international work is marked by engagement with partners to develop and strengthen legal mechanisms to protect the environment, drive rule of law, promote sustainable development, and manage conflict risks; develop and enhance institutions responsible for managing natural resources and the environment; build government, civil society, and private sector capacity; and conduct research on cutting-edge issues from environmental peacebuilding to migration with dignity, to marine spatial planning, among others.

ELI is committed to:

  • Listening to, collaborating with, and supporting community organizations and grassroots solutions to environmental harms and environmental injustice
  • Conducting work that advances environmental justice and equity in public and private governance
  • Sharing our resources widely and making them accessible
  • Acknowledging equity as key to effective environmental law
  • Providing transparency about our work, process, and partnerships.


For more information on ELI’s mission, visit and ELI’s EJ Initiative as well as the ELI Board’s Statement on Racism and Environmental Justice.



ELI’s Director of the EJ Initiative will work with a team of leading environmental lawyers skilled at identifying opportunities to improve the impacts of environmental law and policy. ELI is a collaborative environment and our Research and Policy programs are carried out by overlapping teams.  As for all of our staff, the Director of the EJ Initiative will be able to draw on the experience of many staff and on research associates and staff attorneys as needed.

  • Collaborate with Research and Policy team to systematize the grounding in equity of ELI’s research and policy programs.
  • Lead the effort to develop a strategy that leverages ELI’s partnerships, education efforts, and law and policy experience to combat systemic environmental racism in the U.S.
  • Lead and partner with the EJ Advisory Council to identify and strengthen linkages with key groups and coalitions seeking to advance environmental justice in their own work.
  • Work with ELI Development Team and senior staff to maintain relationships with funders, develop project proposals, and conduct other activities to secure sufficient funding to carry out high-quality programs and projects to support ELI’s EJ activities.
  • Perform, assign, and supervise high-quality policy research and analysis and develop written products on law and policy topics in a range of formats and for ELI’s many audiences.
  • Travel to domestic and potentially international destinations as projects require.



  • Ability to understand legal and policy challenges on a variety of environmental issues and devise strategies to address them.
  • Ability to form and nurture partnerships with communities and allies, and to participate in coalitions.
  • Ability to think strategically and design systematic approaches to reaching programmatic goals.
  • Excellent skills in policy and legal research, analytical writing, and verbal communication.
  • Ability to collaborate effectively with senior and junior staff, colleagues, and partner organizations, establish priorities and effectively manage multiple tasks at the same time with moderate supervision, and produce high-quality work products within budget while adhering to deadlines.
  • Ability to represent ELI publicly in a manner consistent with our mission and values.





  • A post-graduate degree in environmental law and policy with a strong academic record. A JD is desired but any candidates with strong background in environmental law will be considered.
  • Meaningful work experience in efforts on behalf of overburdened communities to overcome systemic racism in the environmental arena; at least 3 years’ relevant work experience is required; 5 or more years is highly desirable.
  • Practical legal or policy experience in the environmental field is required.



The annual salary is commensurate with experience. ELI’s total compensation includes excellent benefits including:

  • Health/Dental/Vision insurance
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Employer-paid life insurance & disability insurance
  • Long Term Care insurance
  • Pre-tax transportation benefit
  • Fitness Incentive
  • 403(b) Retirement Savings Account with employer match
  • Paid time off



Submit an application package via ELI’s online application system. Simply visit ELI’s employment page at to get started. Note that your submission must contain the following uploaded documents (Word or PDF format), as follows:

  • Cover letter, addressing your personal goals and interests, as well as your experience and interest in carrying out the duties outlined above.
  • Current CV or resume
  • List of 3 references
  • A writing sample of at least 5 pages


Candidates passing the initial applicant screening process may be requested to provide additional writing samples.

ELI will accept applications for this position until 11:59 pm EST Monday, March 19, 2021. However, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and the post may be filled prior to the closing deadline. You must use ELI’s online application system; ELI cannot accept applications submitted by email, USPS or other shipping service, or hand delivery.


ELI is an equal opportunity employer firmly committed to achieving an inclusive, diverse workforce that values every individual. We firmly believe that hiring individuals with varying perspectives and backgrounds contributes to our success as an organization, and we strive to create an environment that fosters inclusiveness. As such, minority candidates and candidates from traditionally underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.