Lautenberg Chemicals and Health Legal Fellow

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 700 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and results are a way of life.


EDF envisions a world in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected to the environmental challenges we face and are engaged in creating durable, equitable solutions. We seek talented candidates who share the Core Values that allow us to experiment courageously in our work while staying true to who we’ve been as an organization for 50 years. Are you a results oriented individual who is passionate about creating environmental solutions that make a lasting difference in the world? Do you respect diverse perspectives, talents and contributions? Do you value innovation and enjoy designing and using a wide range of problem-solving tools? Do you embrace environmental goals with a sense of optimism while taking into account real-world dynamics? If you have integrity and a strong desire to uphold a commitment to science, rigorous analysis, intellectual honesty and ethical action, then EDF is the place for you.

Program Overview
EDF's Health Program is committed to improving the public's health by dramatically reducing exposure to toxic chemicals increasingly linked to chronic disease risks on the rise in the U.S. population. We work on a range of legislative, regulatory, scientific, and market-oriented projects aimed at improving chemical safety. EDF advocated for over a decade for reforms to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). In June 2016, the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, a major overhaul of TSCA, was signed into law, paving the way to a more health-protective chemicals management system for the US. A major priority for EDF's Health program is ensuring the new law is effectively implemented and leads to significant reductions in the public's exposures to toxic chemicals.

Overall Function 
Environmental Defense Fund's Washington, D.C. Office is seeking a highly qualified and deeply motivated attorney to serve as the Lautenberg Chemicals and Health Legal Fellow for a period of one year.  The Legal Fellow will work on projects related to the implementation of TSCA, as amended by the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act. Working within our team of attorneys, scientists, economists, and policy specialists, the Legal Fellow will assist with the development and implementation of legal solutions to protect public health and the environment from toxic chemicals.  The Legal Fellow will work in a high-intensity, fast-paced, multi-disciplinary setting within the Health program.  The Legal Fellow will report to Senior Attorney, Health and will also work closely with the Lead Senior Scientist for Health.

Key Responsibilities

  • The Legal Fellow works closely with the rest of the health program on legal and regulatory advocacy aimed at securing effective regulation of toxic chemicals to protect public health and the environment. The work ranges from strategy sessions about what legal arguments will be most effective in a specific briefing effort to intensive legal research on novel environmental law questions to the development of comments to advocate for and support the development of protective environmental standards.
  • Assist in researching, writing, and presenting legal and policy documents for federal court litigation, national   regulatory proceedings, and various policy venues.
  • Over the next   year, the TSCA litigation team expects to produce: briefs, motions, declarations, and other litigation documents; detailed legal and policy comments in response to regulatory proposals; legal memoranda analyzing legal authorities and various strategic options; administrative petitions and other formal administrative requests; and other written materials to influence decision-makers and engage in public education and outreach. The Legal Fellow will draft or assist with the drafting these types of materials in line with the team's overall strategy.
  • The Legal Fellow will also review administrative records, monitor EPA's actions, and engage in additional factual research, as well as drafting documents to present the facts.
  • The Legal Fellow will likely have the opportunity to engage in oral advocacy before federal policymakers. 
  • Additionally, EDF seeks to increase transparency surrounding chemicals and EPA's decision-making under TSCA, so the Legal Fellow may assist with disclosure efforts under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and similar laws.


  • Recent law school graduates interested in working on cutting edge regional and national chemical safety issues.
  • Law Degree and Licensed to practice law or actively seeking admission to Bar.
  • Excellent legal research, analytical, advocacy, and written and oral communication skills.
  • Ability to collect, analyze, and interpret various legal authorities and prepare memoranda of findings and advocacy pieces.
  • Ability to collect and analyze facts to supplement our evidentiary records for agency and court proceedings.
  • Ability to work both independently and as a member of teams with colleagues and partners of varied background and experience. Ability to prioritize and be flexible.
  • Results-oriented, self-starter with the ability to think strategically and work on fast-paced, dynamic issues.
  • Ability to establish and maintain strong working relationships with internal and external allies.
  • Computer proficiency, experience with Microsoft Word.
  • A passion for environmental and health protection, a commitment to rigorous analysis, creativity and a healthy dose of pragmatism.
  • Familiarity or experience with the following subject areas is desirable but not required: (i) TSCA or other federal environmental statutes; (ii) Administrative Law; (iii) chemical toxicity and exposure issues; or (iv) trade secret and confidential business information law.

Washington, D.C.

One-year Fellowship from Spring 2020 to Spring 2021

Full-time (35 hours/week)

Application Materials 
Interested applicants should attach their cover letter, legal writing sample (of 5,000 words or less), and resume to the EDF application, together with references and law school transcript.

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.