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Environmental Justice Legal Fellow

Date Posted: 7/1/2021
Department: Legal
Type of Employment: Full-Time

Two-year fellowship beginning September 2022

Status: Full Time/Temporary

Reports To: Staff Attorney

Location: Iowa

Iowa Environmental Council seeks a third-year law student, a new attorney, or an attorney seeking to move into public interest law to work with us to develop a proposal for a fellowship through Equal Justice Works, Skadden, or a similar program


The Iowa Environmental Council is a 501(c)3 nonprofit environmental law and policy organization that educates, advocates, and builds coalitions to make Iowa a better place to live, work and explore. We provide a highly collaborative, supportive, and flexible work environment.


The applicant will work with IEC to develop and apply for fellowships through a program such as Equal Justice Works (www.equaljusticeworks.org), Skadden (www.skaddenfellowships.org), or a similar program. The project applicant will propose a project to address a particular problem relating to the disproportionate impacts of environmental degradation and/or climate change on people of color and disadvantaged communities in Iowa through advocacy at the state and/or local level. The Fellow will report to the Staff Attorney.


The applicant must submit a project proposal of at least 300 words that includes:

  • a description of the environmental justice problem to remedy;
  • a description of the disparate impacts resulting from the problem; and
  • the set of proposed actions the fellow would take to address the problem.

For example, the proposal may address disproportionate impacts due to lead in drinking water, nutrient pollution, or climate change impacts. IEC will work with the applicant to expand the proposal in developing the full fellowship application.


The Environmental Justice Legal Fellow will be responsible for:

  • Identifying and developing policy recommendations to reduce disproportionate impacts on people of color and disadvantaged communities within the scope of the proposed project.
  • Acting on environmental justice opportunities for legal and administrative agency action at the state or local level within the scope of the proposed project.
  • Working with IEC program staff to research, highlight, and advocate on issues that have disproportionate impacts on people of color in Iowa, such as displacement by severe weather events or utility shut-offs.



  • Equal Justice Works requirements:
    • J.D. or LL.M. degree from an Equal Justice Works Member Law School and licensed to practice law in the State of Iowa.
    • You may not have held a full-time (more than 30 hours/week), permanent, public interest lawyer position previously, though applicants coming from bridge/gap fellowships or clerkships are eligible.
    • Experienced private-sector lawyers who have demonstrated a commitment to public interest law and have the relevant skills and initiative to carry out the goals of the project are encouraged to apply.
    • Candidates may not have participated previously in any major fellowship program such as the Skadden Fellowship Program, Echoing Green Fellowship, Soros Justice Fellowship, etc.
  • A passion for IEC’s mission and environmental justice work.
  • Strong organizational skills; ability to manage multiple projects without losing sight of the “big picture.”
  • Excellent communication skills; ability to write and speak in a clear and compelling fashion.
  • Strong analytical skills.
  • Self-motivation and initiative.
  • An eagerness to work collaboratively in a dynamic team environment.


  • Prior experience in policy development, advocacy or organizing.
  • Existing relationships with community-based organizations.
  • Flexible daytime schedule to attend meetings and other events as needed.


  • Paid Vacation, Sick Leave, Family Leave, and Volunteer time
  • Health and Dental Insurance
  • Life and Long-Term Disability Insurance
  • Flex Savings Account
  • Simple IRA

Compensation:  $50,000 for entry-level attorney         

The Iowa Environmental Council is an Equal Opportunity Employer dedicated to building a culturally diverse and pluralistic community engaged with working in a multicultural environment, and strongly encourages applications from all qualified applicants.

Please send cover letter, project proposal, and resume to Kitty Jacobson, jacobson@iaenvironment.org, by July 30, 2021.

How to Apply:

1. View job description

Choose the job opening above that you are interested in and click "More Information" to view the full job description.

2. Cover letter & resume

Please include a cover letter and resume with your application. Cover letters may be addressed to the hiring manager listed in the job opening.

3. Response

If you are a final candidate for the position, you will be contacted by the hiring manager. No phone calls or emails please.