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Staff Attorney, Oceans

San Francisco, CA
Washington, DC
Department:  Legal
Job Type: 
Full Time

Earthjustice seeks an experienced attorney to join and help lead our team of advocates working to protect and enhance ocean ecosystems.  The attorney selected for this position will focus on litigation while also engaging in other advocacy, such as policy and legislative work, relating to oceans.  This position will be based in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., or potentially in one of Earthjustice’s other regional offices in the contiguous United States.    

Essential duties and responsibilities of the staff attorney for the oceans program: 

  • Assist in leading our oceans program, which is currently comprised of four full-time attorneys who litigate cases in federal court aimed at protecting ocean resources. 
  • Maintain a litigation docket of cases relating to fisheries, water quality, and/or other issues affecting ocean.
  • Shape the ocean program’s wider litigation and other advocacy strategies both domestically and internationally. 
  • Build effective working relationships with clients and other environmental groups working on oceans issues; and work closely with the Earthjustice policy, communications, and fundraising teams.  
  • Help manage and develop the staff in the oceans program, working closely with them to hone their legal and strategic skills and fostering a high-quality legal program.

We seek the following qualifications and experience:

  • A member in good standing of the state bar where they are located. 
  • At least ten years of excellent experience in litigation and administrative advocacy.  Ideally the litigation experience would include substantial work in federal court. 
  • Detailed environmental and/or administrative law experience is essential.  Demonstrated ability to litigate cases independently and as the leader of a team.
  • Demonstrated interest in a public interest/public service practice as shown by previous legal employment by a public interest organization or governmental entity or by a robust pro bono practice in a private-firm setting.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills that will allow the successful candidate to work constructively with the oceans team here, and with other organizations, and to sustain strong relationships with client groups.
  • Strong ability to lead and supervise the work of others and to develop and mentor legal skills in others.
  • A strategic thinker who can work with others to design litigation approaches that are both visionary and practical.
  • Ability to join litigation with communications and policy advocacy.
  • Ability to participate in fundraising and to develop and sustain relationships with donors.
  • Willing to travel as needed.  
  • A sense of humor, a positive attitude, and a desire to be part of a team working to make the world a better place.

The Earthjustice work environment is casual, professional, open, and friendly.  We offer a competitive nonprofit salary and an excellent benefits package.  Employee health coverage includes medical, dental, prescription, vision, and alternative (such as chiropractic) care.  Health coverage is fully paid for staff members, with additional benefits available for family members.  We offer a generous vacation, sick leave, and disability benefit package.  We also offer employees twelve paid holidays per year, an excellent retirement plan after two years of employment, a flexible spending account, life insurance, pre-tax transportation benefits, and an employee assistance program.

Interested candidates should email a cover letter, resume, and legal writing sample to Carolyn McCormick of Peak HR Consulting at  To learn more about Earthjustice and our oceans program, please visit

Our Values

Earthjustice is driven by a passion for justice, partnership and excellence. Our core values lead us to seek a broad range of perspectives and backgrounds to achieve our mission and to maintain an inclusive environment where all staff are valued and respected.

As an equal opportunity employer, we are committed to employment practices that ensure that employees and applicants for employment are provided with equal opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information or any other factor that is not related to the position.

About Earthjustice

Founded in 1971, Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We take on the biggest, most precedent-setting cases across the country. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health; to preserve magnificent places and wildlife; to advance clean energy; and to combat climate change. We partner with thousands of groups, supporters and citizens to engage the critical environmental issues of our time, and bring about positive change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.