Staff Attorney

Location: DC, CO, MT preferred

Type: Full-Time

Industry: Non-Profit

Please note: The preferred locations for this positions are Washington, DC, Denver, CO or Bozeman, MT.  Other organization office locations & remote work may be considered.  Salary will differ based on candidate’s location.

Job Summary

Our established non-profit client is seeking a Staff Attorney to join its team. The Staff Attorney will be a member of the organization’s Legal Team and play an integral role in developing and implementing the organization’s programmatic legal work. The Legal Team serves as in-house counsel for the organization’s conservation work and integrates legal strategy throughout our multi-disciplinary approach to achieving enduring and equitable conservation gains. The Staff Attorney will engage in agency decision-making processes to build a strong record for eventual administrative challenges or litigation and bring legal and policy expertise to priority place-based and national campaigns and related litigation. The Staff Attorney will work in close coordination across organizational departments such as strategy and policy, field and landscapes, conservation campaigns, and external affairs, and collaborate with partners, Native American tribes, and outside legal counsel.

Note: The organization does not represent itself in the courts but actively supports and partners with litigating counsel.

Ensuring an equitable workplace, an inclusive and accessible work environment, and a diverse work force are critical priorities for the organization. Addressing systemic inequities is not only woven into our internal organizational culture but is also integral to what work we do and how we do it. The Staff Attorney will integrate these priorities throughout our legal work. Across our team, we aspire to be campaign oriented, nimble, collaborative, innovative, transparent, and supportive of staff – our greatest asset.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to the following areas:

  • Develop and implement legal strategies to achieve the organization’s strategic framework and priorities, including achieving net zero fossil fuel emissions from federal public lands, protecting 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters, and transforming conservation policy and practice so that all people benefit equitably from public lands.
  • Lead organization’s legal engagement in priority national policy campaigns and place-based agency decision-making processes likely to lead to administrative challenges or litigation, working with internal and external campaign teams and outside legal counsel to establish standing, build a robust administrative record, support local partners, communities, and tribes, develop legal claims, and coordinate advocacy and media campaigns with legal strategy.
  • Embed equity and social justice throughout legal strategies, litigation efforts, and organizational culture.
  • Identify and evaluate opportunities for organization’s engagement in litigation in service of organizational priorities.
  • Help manage and coordinate litigation with outside legal counsel, including overseeing claim development, briefing, and other aspects of active litigation.
  • Represent organization in administrative appeals, objections, and other quasi-judicial proceedings, as appropriate.


Experience, Competencies, and Education

  • Juris doctor with minimum 4 years’ experience in legal and policy work; some litigation experience preferred.
  • Experience engaging in local, state, tribal, and/or federal agency decision-making, including through the effective application of environmental laws and policies, preparation of technical comments, and utilization of experts, and in challenging agency decisions through administrative remedies and litigation.
  • Ability to review and comment on policy, legislation, agency proposals, and environmental review documents, and identify key legal vulnerabilities, important record-building opportunities, and other political opportunities or pressure points.
  • Ability to help develop and deploy offensive and defensive legal strategies to achieve identified outcomes.
  • Ability to work successfully within complex multi-disciplinary campaign settings and help oversee multi-party litigation.
  • Basic understanding of administrative and public land laws and policies, with experience in some combination of natural climate solutions, renewable energy development, just transition, hardrock mining, federal Indian law, tribal co-management, National Environmental Policy Act, National Landscape Conservation System, Federal Land Policy & Management Act, land management planning, Antiquities Act, and/or National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act preferred.
  • Experience working with or representing sovereign Native American tribes and/or under-served communities, or in environmental justice preferred.
  • Excellent analytical and verbal and written communication skills.
  • Track record of working successfully in teams representing a rich mix of talent, backgrounds, and perspectives – across race and gender.

Desired Characteristics

  • Outstanding legal and interpersonal skills.
  • Enthusiastic, highly motivated, and trustworthy.
  • Demonstrated commitment to centering equity and social justice throughout their work.

Physical Demands

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools, or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl; talk or hear. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision.

Work Environment

Work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is not exposed to adverse weather conditions.

The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

This job description is intended to convey information essential to understanding the scope of this position and it is not intended to be an exhaustive list of experience, skills, efforts, duties, responsibilities or working conditions associated with the position.

The organization has instituted a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all staff reporting to an organization office or engaging in in-person work meetings.  There is an exception to the vaccine mandate for any staff who have an objection because of a medical or religious reason.  We will do our best to devise a reasonable accommodation that respects your objection while balancing the competing demands of your specific position.

The organization offers a competitive salary and benefits package, including: health, dental, vision, life and disability insurance; sick and vacation leave; a sabbatical program; and a retirement plan.  The organization is an equal opportunity employer and actively works to ensure fair treatment of our employees and constituents across culture, socioeconomic status, race, marital or family situation, gender, age, ethnicity, religious beliefs, physical ability, veteran status or sexual orientation.

The organization aspires to being inclusive in the work that we do, and in the kind of organization we are.  Internally this means working as a team that listens to different points of view, recognizes the contributions of every employee and empowers each employee to bring their whole selves to work every day.  Externally this means ensuring that public lands are inclusive and welcoming, so that our shared wildlands can help people and nature to thrive.  We are committed to equity throughout our work, which we define as our commitment to realizing the promise of our public lands and ensuring that all can share in their universal benefits.

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