The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) is hiring an Environmental Justice lead to advance the Institute’s work with communities to provide law and policy solutions to environmental injustices and to develop and implement a strategy to draw together ELI’s unique strengths to counter systemic racism in environmental law and policy. We seek a policy-minded and committed strategic thinker to lead the further development of the ELI Research and Policy Department’s work devising legal, policy, and governance solutions to systemic racism.

The EJ lead will coordinate the expansion of ELI’s Environmental Justice Initiatives, which requires an understanding of how racism has been entrenched in environmental law and policy, and strong relationships with community leaders challenging this systemic injustice. In collaboration with ELI’s senior Research and Policy staff, and in consultation with ELI’s Environmental Justice Advisory Council, the EJ lead will help identify opportunities to advance environmental justice across sectors and issues, and conduct outreach, strategy development, and project and program 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 in areas such as climate change mitigation and resilience, governance, natural resource management, land conservation and smart growth, biodiversity loss and habitat destruction, ocean resource management, and air, water, and soil pollution.

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. We assist governmental officials responsible for implementing and enforcing environmental laws, as well as nongovernmental organizations that pursue environmental goals and help provide accountability.

Our programs have prioritized 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.

Our projects 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-old program to aid Gulf of Mexico communities’ participation in restoration and recovery efforts in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.

ELI’s international programs are 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 webpage.



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

  • Collaborate with Research and Policy team to systematize the grounding in equity of ELI’s research and policy programs.
  • Manage the development of a strategy that employs ELI’s decades-long experience advancing environmental objectives through partnerships, education, and law and policy reform to combat systemic environmental racism in the U.S.
  • Maintain a robust and vibrant EJ Advisory Council and in consultation with the council members, identify and strengthen linkages with key groups and coalitions seeking to advance environmental justice in their own work.
  • Strengthen existing partnerships and expand our networks to position us to be able to support those leading antiracist efforts in the environmental arena.
  • 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 policy research and analysis and develop written products on law and policy topics in a range of formats and for ELI’s many audiences. Perform, assign, and supervise project tasks, and produce high-quality project results consistent with project goals and design.
  • Travel to domestic and potentially international destinations as projects require.


  • Ability to understand legal and policy challenges on a variety of environmental issues, to quickly become proficient in new issue areas, and devise strategies to address them.
  • Ability to form and nurture partnerships with communities and those working directly with communities, and to participate in coalitions.
  • Ability to think strategically and design systematic approaches to reaching programmatic goals as well as designing project activities.
  • Excellent skills in policy and legal research, analytical writing, and verbal communication to present findings related to research programs.
  • 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 2 years’ relevant experience is highly desirable.
  • Specialized training and practical legal or policy experience in the environmental field is highly desirable.


The annual salary for this position is negotiable, based on experience but starting from $52,000. 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 go to 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, November 30, 2020. 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.