Fellow – Environment Program

2019-2020 Environment Fellowship

Title: Fellow – Environment Program

Location: New York, NY

Duration: Temporary full-time position for approximately 6 months with possibility of status change to regular/non-temporary full-time employment (based on performance)

Start date: Fall 2019

Deadline for application: September 13, 2019



The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice

The Vance Center advances global justice by engaging lawyers across borders to support civil society and an ethically active legal profession. The Vance Center is a unique collaboration of international lawyers catalyzing public interest innovation. A non-profit program of the New York City Bar Association, we bring together leading law firms and other partners worldwide to pioneer international justice initiatives and provide pro bono legal representation to social justice NGOs.

The Environment Program promotes conscientious stewardship of natural resources and the human rights obligations underpinning a sustainable environment and climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Program collaborates with local, regional and international environmental NGOs, providing them with legal representation on projects that concern pressing environmental issues around the world. Areas of focus for the Program include human rights and the environment, climate change, protection of environmental defenders, international humanitarian law and environmental protection, biodiversity conservation, toxic pollution, and water source and river protection. The Program works to promote the rights of indigenous peoples and other communities through projects that seek to build legal capacity and knowledge about international norms and standards that govern their rights.

The Program also supports special rapporteurs of the U.N. Human Rights Council and the U.N. International Law Commission in furtherance of their mandates in areas such as human rights and the environment, children’s environmental rights, and environmental protection during armed conflict. The Program provides legal assistance to international organizations that promote global environmental rights, conducting multijurisdictional research and analysis of complex legal issues to ensure protection of the fundamental principles of environmental law.

The Vance Center recruits private law firms from the Vance Center Committee to work alongside our program staff on the projects. However, Program staff also engage in substantive legal work, including legal research and analysis, advocacy, and litigation.


Job Function

The Environment Fellow will be an integral part of the Environment Program and is expected to work on all aspects of the Program. This role will be under the supervision of the Environment Program Director.



  • Conduct research and analysis on environmental law, with a particular focus on international frameworks for environmental protection, and in some cases, domestic laws in countries where the Program has projects.
  • Research and write background papers on countries where the Program is looking to engage.
  • Research and contact new clients, particularly environmental NGOs in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
  • Engage with clients and law firms.
  • Assist in coordinating and managing projects.
  • Draft materials for publication on the Program’s activities, cases, or current events.
  • Plan and organize events, in the United States and abroad.
  • Undertake some administrative duties.



  • J.D. or LLM graduate. Specialization in Environmental Law or Public International Law is a plus.
  • 1-2 years experience in Environmental Law, with some knowledge of the international frameworks for environmental protection.
  • Excellent research, writing, and communication skills.
  • Fluency in English. Fluency in Spanish is highly desirable.
  • Strong organizational and time-management skills and great attention to detail.
  • Ability to work quickly and well under pressure, to juggle multiple tasks, and to meet tight deadlines.
  • Excellent computer skills.
  • Must be authorized to work in the U.S.


Application instructions:


Please email a resume, a short writing sample on an environmental law issue, and a list of three references to vancevolunteers@nycbar.org. In the subject line please write "Environment Program Fellow".  Applications will be considered as received and selection will take place on a rolling basis. The deadline for applications is September 13, 2019. No phone calls please.

The Cyrus R. Vance Center is a proud equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. It is the policy of the Organization to ensure equal employment opportunity without discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, creed, age, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, gender (including gender identity and sexual harassment), sexual orientation, disability, arrest or conviction record, pregnancy, credit history, salary history, caregiver status, marital status, partnership status, or status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking and sex offenses, religion, sex, genetic information, military status, unemployment status or any other characteristic as protected by law. With regard to the Americans with Disabilities Act and other related laws, the Organization will endeavor to make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities.