US Environmental Justice Law and Policy Fellow

Washington, District of Columbia, United States | Environmental Justice, United States | Partially remote

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About the Fellowship

In partnership with grassroots legal empowerment advocates, Namati empowers communities to address environmental justice in Maryland, Washington, DC, and the larger Chesapeake region. Legal empowerment advocates are activists and organizers who demystify law, assist people in exercising their rights, and infuse law into community action. Our legal empowerment advocates include Rhonda Hamilton, who has led her neighborhood in Buzzard Point of DC in fights against pollution and gentrification, and Terrel Askew, a young organizer in Baltimore who works with communities to protect air quality and housing rights. 

We are searching for a one-year law and policy fellow to assist our ongoing U.S. environmental justice work in two main areas: 1) supporting our casework through legal and policy research and, 2) working with case evidence and data to identify systemic deficiencies in environmental governance. 

The Fellow will support the team in the following ways: 

  • Conduct case-level legal and policy research to support community advocates 
  • Work with community advocates to understand regulations; support them in making complex legal information accessible to their communities
  • Work with community advocates and Namati’s program staff to collect and organize grassroots case evidence 
  • Analyze grassroots case evidence and data; identify reform opportunities and regulatory gaps; develop grounded recommendations for policy change

 

Here’s what you might have tackled in the last week -

  • Worked with program staff and a legal empowerment advocate to identify legal hooks for challenging air pollution arising from open coal piles in Baltimore, including researching environmental law as well as health and zoning / land use laws
  • Prepared accessible materials regarding legal pathways to EJ remedies for discussion with community members
  • Worked with a legal empowerment advocate to collect case level data; for example, input from residents and historical record of complaints and any responses 
  • Drafted a policy paper describing advocates’ and communities’ observations of poor dust and particulate matter regulation and initial reform suggestions, which will be shared with members of a regional EJ coalition developing policy reform priorities

 

About You

  • Passion for community-based environmental justice work: You have a passion for addressing the human rights and social justice dimensions of environmental problems. You have outstanding communication skills and experience engaging in a respectful and meaningful manner with diverse audiences.
  • Aptitude for investigation and analysis: You have a demonstrated track record of skilled research and writing. You can analyze and integrate diverse information from varied sources to create evidence-based policy positions. 
  • Skilled with communication: Your written and verbal communications demonstrate both clarity of thought, analysis and sensitivity to audience and context. Importantly, you can communicate complex information in a way that is accessible to non-expert audiences. 
  • Familiar with environmental regulation: You have an understanding of law and regulation on environment, and you are familiar with the institutions that regulate these areas. Even better if you have a regional knowledge of the issues and regulations impacting residents in places like Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and Washington DC.
  • Collaborative and service-oriented: You greet everyone you encounter with a collaborative spirit, kindness, and empathy. You are known as a team-player who brings an “all hands on deck” mindset to all projects -- you’re happy to contribute however you can to advance Namati’s mission.
  • An eye for detail: You are able to multitask using sound judgment while remaining detail-oriented. You’re extremely thorough and will follow through on complicated, multi-step processes. You work quickly and efficiently and can produce excellent, on-point work product in short timeframes. You’re known for producing high quality content on deadline.
  • Growth orientation: You’re always seeking to better yourself and your work, and you will push yourself to the peak of performance to help fulfill our mission. In service of that growth, you welcome and delight in feedback from supervisors, peers, and anyone else

Nice to have 

  • Data orientation: You are comfortable working with various types of case evidence and data. You are familiar with CRM-type software such as Salesforce.

 

Location 

This position is open to any location in the United States. Due to COVID-19, Namati remains a remote-first organization for the foreseeable future and until further notice. 

 

Compensation and fellowship length

This is a part or full-time, year-long fellowship opportunity. We will consider a shorter fellowship length (minimum 4 months) if a candidate is able to work at a full-time capacity. We are flexible with the start date.

Please note at this time we are only able to accept applications from individuals whose fellowship will be paid for through their schooling (e.g. experiential learning for academic credit) or independent fellowship funding (e.g., scholarships, university provided fellowship funding), and we’re unable to make significant changes to the scope of this fellowship based on individual funding requirements.

As appropriate, we’re happy to work with you and your institution so you can receive academic credit or financial support for this fellowship. Simultaneously, we recognize that interested interns/fellows may approach us during the process of actively applying for external sources of funding; due to the high volume of interest in our opportunities we look for our finalists to demonstrate that they can be resourceful and creative in securing funding and will not make excessive requests of our teams for support.

 

To Apply

Please complete our online application form. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. No phone calls, please. Namati is an Equal Opportunity Employer. 

Please note we strongly prefer for your application materials (resume and cover letter) to be uploaded in one PDF.

 

 

About Namati 

Namati is dedicated to placing the power of law in the hands of people.

For billions of people around the world, the law is broken. It’s an abstraction—or worse, a threat—but not something they can use to exercise their basic rights.

Namati advances justice by equipping people to know, use, and shape the laws that affect them.

Namati and its partners are supporting legal empowerment advocates (known more commonly as community paralegals, barefoot lawyers, or grassroots legal advocates outside the U.S.) – in ten countries. These paralegals equip their communities to protect common lands, enforce environmental law, and secure basic rights to healthcare and citizenship.

In all ten countries, their grassroots work has led to improvements to entire systems:  a new anti-bribery policy for the health sector in Mozambique, for example, improved sand-mining regulations in India, and greater protection for women’s rights in Sierra Leonean land law.

Globally, Namati convenes the Legal Empowerment Network, more than 2,200 groups from 160 countries who are learning from one another and collaborating on common challenges. This community successfully advocated for the inclusion of access to justice in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

As we move into our next phase, we’re growing our global team of passionate, results-oriented, big-hearted advocates, united by a common mission and a strong culture:

  • Our mission is our North Star. It’s why we all wake up every day. We pour our hearts into this work.
  • We’re innovators and changemakers. We are a young, energetic social enterprise and we know that our work is urgent. We believe in being nimble and doing what works.
  • Our work makes real, tangible, measurable progress in people’s lives. We take abstract concepts – rule of law and human rights – and make them concrete, helping people find solutions that improve their lives every day.
  • We walk our talk. Our movement is about legal empowerment and we bring this spirit of empowerment and collaboration to all our partnerships. We hold humility as a core value: we lead when necessary and follow when necessary.
  • We are a truly global organization. Our offices are located in Delhi, Freetown, Maputo, Nairobi, Washington DC, and Yangon, and our staff come from all corners of the world. We are united by our common mission.
  • We see our people as our most valuable resource. We bring on individuals of the highest caliber and character and we mentor, train, and support our staff.
  • We hold one another in the highest esteem. Our work relationships are built on deep abiding respect and love.

For more about what it’s like to work at Namati, please see our Cultural Principles.