New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), a community-driven civil rights organization, seeks a Director for its Environmental Justice program.
Through our Environmental Justice work, NYLPI seeks to eliminate the unfair burdens of environmental hazards borne by communities with low incomes and by Black, Latinx, and other communities fighting marginalization — and to dismantle structural racism to create a more equitable and sustainable city, state and society. 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, launches strategic litigation, and shapes policy. We support grassroots organizing and leadership and strengthen communities’ ability to assert their right to a healthy and sustainable environment. We are creative and determined in our legal and policy approach, whether we are eliminating toxins and environmental dangers from schools and homes, or working to restructure the waste system to protect neighborhoods from being used as garbage dumping grounds.
Examples of NYLPI’s current work include:
- Strategic advocacy with the PEAK Coalition to replace highly polluting and expensive fossil-fuel “peaker” plants sited in environmental justice communities with community-led renewable energy projects;
- A long-standing and highly effective campaign to transform New York City’s garbage and recycling systems, eliminating millions of miles of unnecessary truck traffic and greenhouse gases while creating good green local jobs and improving the air quality in our most polluted neighborhoods;
- Helping lead the push to transform Rikers Island from a notorious mass incarceration center to a hub for renewable energy innovation with green jobs for BIPOC communities and people most devastated by the jail’s impact.
Throughout, we engage our community partners in our work and seek to amplify the voices of people most directly affected, and to follow their lead.
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 cases and campaigns. The Environmental Justice Director will provide strategic leadership, identifying systemic environmental-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. The director will maintain a bold and collaborative advocacy culture with program staff and will 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.
Reporting to the Legal Director, the Environmental Justice Director is responsible for the day-to-day management, professional development, and evaluation of the legal and advocacy staff in the Environmental Justice program. NYLPI’s interdisciplinary staff includes lawyers, community organizers, policy experts, and other advocates who combine forces with 80 member firms, 900 pro bono attorneys, and thousands of community members.
The Environmental Justice Director will collaborate across NYLPI’s programs and with community, pro bono, and coalition partners. With NYLPI’s Development team, the Environmental Justice Director will pursue grants and report to funders on our work.
The Environmental Justice Director frequently speaks publicly about NYLPI’s work, presenting testimony, interviewing with the media, helping to shape public reporting and social media content related to our campaigns and cases, and taking other opportunities to educate the public and pursue environmental justice as a thought leader.
Demonstrated commitment to environmental justice advocacy and work toward racial justice
- At least five years of experience with legal, policy, and/or administrative advocacy
- Significant management, supervisory, and/or leadership experience in nonprofit or public sector legal and/or policy and advocacy programs, or equivalent experience demonstrating strong skills in those areas
- Proven record with demonstrable results in successful advocacy campaigns and coalition work, including growing and maintaining strong relationships with partner organizations
- Excellent writing, analytic, and public speaking skills and ability to be flexible in approach and strategy
- Excellent leadership skills, strategic judgment, entrepreneurial spirit, and the drive to originate and effectuate challenging campaigns
- Experience working with broad coalitions of community members and community-based organizations and in planning and executing effective comprehensive campaigns
- For attorney applicants, relevant litigation experience, including federal and complex civil litigation
- Proficiency in Spanish
Salary and benefits
Salary: $100,000-$130,000, DOE. NYLPI offers comprehensive employer-paid benefits, including health insurance, short- and long-term disability and life insurance, an outstanding retirement savings plan, and fifteen (15) days of vacation during the first year of employment. NYLPI provides a “holiday swap” program allowing staff flexibility to exchange federal holidays for holidays of their choosing.
Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis, with interviews starting as early as October 26, 2020. Please send applications to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
3. Two writing samples, including at least one sample for a general audience addressing the need for progress on a systemic issue relating to civil rights. For applicants who are attorneys, the second sample should be legal analysis on a subject relevant to civil rights and/or environmental justice.
4. Three references (including daytime telephone numbers)
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.
For more than 40 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.