Skip to main content

Managing Attorney- Midwest

Chicago, IL


Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization.  We take on the biggest, most precedent-setting, and most impactful 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, individuals and communities to engage the critical environmental issues of our time, and bring about positive change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Founded in 1971, Earthjustice has a distinguished track record of achieving significant, lasting environmental protections. We achieve this by hiring people who share a passion for justice and a healthy environment.  Our headquarters are in San Francisco with offices in Anchorage, Juneau, Los Angeles, Tallahassee, Miami, Honolulu, New York, Philadelphia, Denver, Seattle, Bozeman, Washington, DC, and Chicago.

Earthjustice seeks a Managing Attorney for its new Midwest Regional office in Chicago, IL.  This office will serve as a focal point for work throughout the Midwest, likely including work across a full array of Earthjustice’s program areas - Climate & Energy (C&E), Healthy Communities (HC), Lands, Wildlife and Oceans (LWO), and Sustainable Food and Farming (SFF).  The Managing Attorney will supervise the work of staff assigned to the Midwest Regional program, and oversee the day-to-day operations of the office.  The managing attorney will also develop and maintain relationships with clients, partners, and funders, and serve as the primary public face of the Midwest Regional office.

Our Midwest Regional office will help to lead the fight for healthy families, homes, workplaces, and communities; for protection and preservation of waters, wetlands, wild places and wildlife; for clean air; and for sustainable energy and climate solutions.  We anticipate significant near-term growth in the office across the spectrum of Earthjustice’s programmatic areas of focus.  We expect that this work will target issues that are of unique significance across the Midwest states, and/or that reflect the priorities of communities in the region that are affected by pollution and other environmental impacts.  Earthjustice will be new to much of this work in the Midwest, and the Managing Attorney for the Midwest Regional office will play a critical role in helping to develop and shape this body of legal advocacy.   

Over the next several years, the Midwest office may house as many as 20 staff, including Midwest Regional program staff under the direct supervision of the Managing Attorney, as well as separately managed program and non-program staff (such as Coal Program attorneys, who report to the Managing Attorney for the Coal Program, and Communication staff who report to the VP for Communications).   

Responsibilities

Program (Essential Functions):

  • Lead the Midwest office in shaping its litigation and legal advocacy docket and related strategies, consistent with institutional priorities and strategic plan objectives. 
  • Build effective working relationships with clients, communities, environmental groups, and other partners across the Midwest.
  • Work collaboratively with the Earthjustice Policy and Legislation, Development, and Communications teams, as well as local communications and policy experts as needed, to advance programmatic and institutional goals.
  • Cultivate and maintain relationships with key funders to support the work of the Midwest Regional office, working in partnership with our development department.
  • Serve as a primary public face of the office and the organization in the Midwest, including by working effectively with the news media, government officials, and donors.
  • Ensure that the office maintains a high quality legal program that is consistent with the values, policies and priorities of Earthjustice.
  • Serve as an active member of the Managing Attorneys group, to help provide institutional leadership and set broader institutional priorities and direction.

  Management (Essential Functions)

  • Manage and lead a diverse team in a diverse environment with emotional intelligence and cultural competency.
  • Directly supervise staff and oversee the administrative functions of the office.
  • Manage, mentor, and develop the professional and administrative staff, helping them to hone their legal and professional skills to reach their full potential.
  • Manage institutional change within the Midwest Regional office, for example by implementing new policies and initiatives consistent with the objectives of a growing organization.
  • Communicate institutional vision, policies, objectives and initiatives to staff within the Midwest Regional program, to keep them abreast of organizational changes and developments.
  • Develop practices and policies within the Midwest Regional office that promote a respectful and inclusive workplace, and that foster community and teamwork among a diverse group of lawyers and non-lawyers.
  • Recruit and hire qualified candidates to support and grow a diverse and highly effective Midwest Regional office team. 
  • Provide staff with consistent and ongoing performance feedback, and act as a coach and mentor, while providing career development opportunities with appropriate training, encouragement, and supervision
  • Promote inclusive work environment and model inclusive behaviors for the Midwest Regional Office and for cross-organizational teams.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications

Program (Essential Skills):

  • Outstanding litigation skills, including the ability to supervise a complex litigation docket and to guide litigation across a range of subject matters, while nurturing the development of budding litigators.
  • Strategy and vision that encompasses a wide range issues, and leverages multifaceted pragmatic approaches to ensure positive and consistent results.
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills with experience working with political and community leaders, and the media.
  • Litigation experience in the Midwest, and/or familiarity with the public interest, environmental, or professional legal community in the region is a significant plus.
  • Commitment to making Earthjustice and its Midwest regional office a highly effective, cutting-edge litigation and legal advocacy shop.
  • Entrepreneurial approach with proven ability to identify new opportunities that have lasting impact while also working effectively as part of regional and national teams.
  • Proven ability to productively and respectfully partner with other organizations, including community-based organizations, to achieve objectives, and to maintain respectful long-term relationships with clients and partnering agencies.
  • Commitment to fundraising and developing ongoing relationships with donors, especially individual donors and foundation representatives.
  • Proven ability to manage operations, including budgets and programs.
  • Willing to travel as needed.

Management (Essential Skills):

  • Experience in and commitment to managing diverse staff by fostering mutual respect, effective internal communication, collaboration, and consensus-based decision-making.
  • Demonstrated experience and interest in coaching, guiding, and mentoring a diverse workforce (including attorneys) at different levels of their careers to continuously improve their effectiveness and reach their full potential.
  • Deep appreciation for and meaningful experience in cultivating a diverse workplace that lives the values of justice and inclusivity, and that is sensitive to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds and orientations.
  • Understanding of how racism and institutional bias affect present-day legal systems, and how race dynamics can impact supervisory relationships and organizational culture.  Demonstrated history of successfully intervening in problematic dynamics to deepen inclusive values and justice is considered a plus.
  • Significant experience recruiting, hiring, developing and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Education And/Or Experience

  • Highly effective litigator with substantial experience in environmental or public interest law, and 10+ years of litigation experience.
  • Admitted to the Illinois bar, or accomplishing admittance within one year of employment.
  • Excellent management skills with at least 5 years of managing litigation or legal advocacy teams in a diverse and inclusive environment.
  • Self-awareness and understanding of the impact of behavior and emotional intelligence in the workplace.

To Apply

To apply for the position, please submit a substantive cover letter describing your interest and experince as it relates to the requirements of the position to:  Lauren I. Gumbs, Senior Partner, Gumbs + Partners, via e-mail - applications@gumbspartners.com.  

The application screening process is ongoing until a candidate is hired.

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