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Vice President of Litigation

San Francisco, CA or Washington, DC


Earthjustice is the premier non-profit environmental law organization.  They take on the biggest, most precedent-setting cases across the country. They 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. The organization partners with thousands of groups, supporters, individuals and communities to engage the critical environmental issues of the time and bring about positive change. They are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Founded in 1971, Earthjustice has a distinguished track record of achieving significant, lasting environmental protections.  They achieve this by hiring people who share a passion for justice and a healthy environment.  With a current operating budget of $65MM and a committed staff of 350, Earthjustice is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Anchorage, Juneau, Los Angeles, Miami, Tallahassee, Honolulu, New York, Philadelphia, Denver, Seattle, Bozeman and Washington DC.

SCOPE AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The Vice President (VP) of Litigation has responsibility for overseeing the Litigation Department at Earthjustice, making our law practice the best it can be, and ensuring the Litigation Department is aligned with our vision, values and strategic priorities.  The VP’s portfolio focuses on the excellence of our representation, the training and development of our litigation staff, and the effective management of our law practice and the people within it. The VP partners with program leadership to set the strategic growth, direction and integration of the law practice. This work includes identifying strategic opportunities to strengthen the law practice, including building our legal capacity in key areas.  Reporting to the Senior Vice President of Program, the VP serves on both the Program Leadership Team and the Executive Team. 

Specific Responsibilities:

People and Management – 40%

  • Partner with key staff in other departments, including Human Resources, and with Managing Attorneys and their supervising Vice Presidents to ensure excellent management within our Litigation Department.  Responsibilities would include development of effective systems, policies and practices for performance feedback, recruitment, professional development and advancement, and manager accountability.
  • Partner with the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and team, as well as Human Resources, to ensure that our work on people and management in the Litigation Department advances the successful implementation of our DEI-related objectives.
  • Oversee and contribute to the development of robust training, mentoring, and career development programs for all lawyers and litigation department staff.
  • Facilitate a positive work environment that encourages teamwork, cooperation and collaboration between and among offices and programs.

Law Practice – 50%

  • Develop and implement best practices across all aspects of our law practice, including institutional alignment on cross-cutting issues of substantive law.
  • Reinforce Earthjustice’s commitment to maintain the highest possible professional standards in our legal practice by communicating regularly on the subject and ensuring practices, policies and accountabilities are in place to support this.
  • Ensure excellence in client and partner engagement, ensuring that communications meet or surpass expectations, and periodically evaluate client satisfaction.
  • Develop and enhance key capacities, such as our trial practice and court-watching functions.
  • Evaluate the administrative and legal support needs of offices and programs and recalibrate the allocation of resources as needed.
  • Identify and develop opportunities to better support lawyers through advances in tools, technologies and people resources, from case management to GIS.
  • Liaise with the Managing Attorney Group, setting priorities and driving law practice projects forward, maintaining accountability for decision-making.
  • Work with Managing Attorney Group chairs to set priorities and agendas, plan meetings and retreats, and drive projects to completion within the group.
  • Direct and oversee work done by the General Counsel and their staff on law practice risk management, ethics and other litigation matters and projects.

General Leadership and Management – 10%

  • Maintain close partnerships to problem-solve with Human Resources, IT, Finance, and other Operations teams to ensure the effective management and functioning of regional offices and teams.
  • Develop budget priorities for the litigation department in close collaboration with SVP of Program and work to ensure effective staffing of program priorities.
  • Serve on Executive Team, contributing institutional leadership on internal policy, practices and communications, risk management and financial health.
  • Serve on Program Leadership Team, helping to ensure effective implementation of the Strategic Plan and identify and resource high-level priorities, responding in real time to threats and opportunities that emerge.

Supervision

  • Supervision of Litigation Operations Manager, and indirectly Litigation Operations Specialist.
  • Develop scope of work, hire and supervise a management position to develop and execute onboarding, training and mentoring programs for lawyers and litigation department staff.
  • Supervise in house or contract counsel to support the law practice projects, as needed.
  • Supervision of one or more Managing Attorney.
  • Direct and oversee law practice-related work performed by the General Counsel.

Management (Essential Functions)

  • Recruits and hires qualified candidates who fit position requirements and the work environment.
  • Promotes change in terms of the expected benefits, as well as removing or lowering the impact of potential obstacles.
  • Sets clear team direction that aligns with Earthjustice strategy, mission, and vision.
  • Develops staff by providing career development opportunities with appropriate training, encouragement, and supervision.
  • Provides staff with performance feedback and acts as a coach and mentor.
  • Promotes inclusive work environment for team and models inclusive behavior.

KEY SELECTION CRITERIA

  • An ideal candidate will possess the following knowledge, skills and abilities:
  • Deep experience with litigation and law firm management. Impact litigation experience preferred.
  • Proven track record for implementing structural and cultural change.
  • Excellent organization and planning abilities.
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills. 
  • Meaningful experience working to further diversity, equity and inclusion in a large organization, and a demonstrated understanding of DEI principles.
  • Demonstrates an awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds and orientations.
  • Contributes to the creation of a diverse, equitable and inclusive work culture that encourages and celebrates differences. 
  • Demonstrated ability to create and implement projects and work plans.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Experience and proficiency with public speaking.
  • Ability to think strategically.
  • Ability to see the big picture, anticipate emerging issues, envision growth and change, and develop systems that help staff do their best work.
  • Experience working with a board and staff to focus an organization on the right trajectory.
  • A leadership style that is collaborative and inclusive with good listening skills, high emotional intelligence, and the ability to interact effectively with people from different backgrounds.
  • High levels of energy and personal resilience.  Open to feedback and improvement.

Management (Essential Skills)

  • Ability to manage and lead a diverse team in a diverse environment with emotional intelligence and cultural competency.
  • Has self-awareness and understands the impact of behaviors and emotional intelligence in the workplace. Also understands teams’ strengths and areas for development.
  • Commitment to and experience in developing team skills and talents to meet the evolving needs of an organization.
  • Ability to work evenings, weekends and/or holidays as business operations demand.
  • The employee occasionally works in a variety of environments including outdoor events, public and private indoor spaces and may be exposed to elements consistent with these environments.

PERSONAL / PROFESSIONAL ATTRIBUTES:

  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.  
  • Experience successfully managing a creative and diverse staff.
  • Experience managing large department budget in a fiscally responsible manner.
  • Demonstrated ability to create and implement projects and work plans.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Experience with public speaking.
  • Ability to think strategically.
  • Knowledge of information technologies.
  • Excellent computer skills.  Ability to use a variety of computer and online systems.
  • Demonstrates an awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds and orientations.
  • Contributes to recruiting, hiring, developing and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce.

EDUCATION

  • Bachelor’s /Master’s/ JD required.
  • 10+ years’ experience working in a law firm, non-profit experience preferred.
  • 5+ years increasingly responsible management experience.
  • Experience and expertise in management and administration in a law firm setting.
  • Experience managing a budget.
  • Risk management understanding, and experience preferred.
  • Experience working with and/or managing large, diverse teams.

Compensation:

Earthjustice offers a competitive salary and an excellent benefits package.  Also offers an extremely congenial work environment and a casual dress code.

TO APPLY

Earthjustice has retained the services of DHR International Executive Search. Please submit your resume and expression of interest to earthjustice-vp-litigation@dhrinternational.com

Please reach out to jobs@earthjustice.org if you are having technical difficulties submitting your application. No phone calls, drop-ins, or hard copies.

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, gender expression, genetic information, or any other factor that is not related to the position.

For positions located within the City and County of San Francisco:  Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment-qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.

For positions located within the City of Los Angeles:  We will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring.

Accommodation

If you need reasonable accommodation in order to complete the application, interview or some other portion of the selection process for a job at Earthjustice, please contact Human Resources at jobs@earthjustice.org.

What You Should Know About Earthjustice

A short guide on who we are & what we do. Find out

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. 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 are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.