Skip to main content

Posted on November 9, 2022

Vice President, Litigation for Lands, Wildlife, and Oceans

Anchorage • Bozeman • Chicago • Denver • Honolulu • Houston • Juneau • Los Angeles • Miami • New York • Philadelphia • Sacramento • San Francisco • Seattle • Tallahassee • Washington, D.C. • Remote


Earthjustice is the nation’s largest, oldest, and most active public interest environmental law organization. Our team of over 550 staff—including over 190 litigators—wields the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect public health, address environmental injustice, defend magnificent places and irreplaceable ecosystems, transition our economy to 100% clean energy, and combat climate change. We partner with thousands of groups, tribes, individuals, and communities to address the environmental crises of our time. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Our Vice President of Litigation for Lands, Wildlife, and Oceans (VP) will lead the organization’s public lands, biodiversity, and oceans strategies, and work together with our other Litigation Vice Presidents and Senior Vice President of Programs to coordinate strategy across all twenty of our legal teams. The VP will also supervise our Biodiversity, Oceans, Northern Rockies, and Alaska litigation teams, as well as 1-3 additional litigation teams based on the VP’s location and professional background. As a member of Earthjustice’s Program Leadership and Senior Leadership Teams, the VP will also develop Earthjustice’s overall communications, lobbying, and administrative advocacy strategies and participate in decisions regarding organizational structure, budget, processes, and policies.

The position will report to Earthjustice’s Senior Vice President for Programs. We prefer candidates who would be based in one of Earthjustice’s sixteen office locations but will also consider candidates who wish to work remotely.

Experience: A minimum of 10 years of legal experience, preferably including substantial litigation experience. A minimum of 5 years of management experience, preferably including executive-level leadership experience.

More on the organization

For fifty years, Earthjustice has served as the legal backbone of the environmental movement. Our $135M annual budget supports 550 staff, including the nation’s largest team of environmental litigators, as well as state lobbyists, federal lobbyists, and communications professionals. Together, we have achieved a distinguished record of success in litigation and litigation-driven advocacy, as well as in informing and motivating our supporters and the general public. Our public lands, wildlife, and oceans campaigns include recent high-profile efforts to:

  • Defend our nation’s core environmental laws, including our successful defense of the Clean Water Act in the recent Supreme Court case of County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund.
  • Fight fossil fuel infrastructure, including our ongoing work on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux in their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  • Defend wildlife of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, including our successful effort to block a Trump-era hunting season for grizzlies and reinstate their Endangered Species Act protections.
  • Dramatically reduce onshore and offshore federal fossil fuel leasing through policy advocacy and litigation, including our successful efforts to overturn the largest offshore lease sale in history in the Gulf of Mexico and to reinstate the Obama-era coal leasing moratorium.
  • Stop destructive mining, including recent precedent-setting litigation against the Rosemont Mine in Arizona.

In the course of these campaigns and others, we have represented over 500 different clients, over a third of which focus on conservation and wildlife issues.

Earthjustice has embarked on a transformational effort to diversify its staff, address internal inclusion and equity, and increase attention to racial justice in our programmatic work and in our movement. We are committed to improving who we are, what we do, and how we do it, both internally (by creating an inclusive and equitable workplace) and externally (by fighting for justice through our advocacy work). While numbers don’t tell the whole story, they do illustrate it: 44% of our staff are people of color, 35% of our clients work on environmental justice matters, and nearly a quarter of our clients are community-based organizations.

Our headquarters are in San Francisco with offices in Anchorage, Bozeman, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, Houston, Juneau, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle, Tallahassee, and Washington, DC.

Job Responsibilities:

Program and litigation leadership (40%)

  • Lead Earthjustice’s public lands, biodiversity, and oceans strategies by developing advocacy campaigns that deploy all our organizational skillsets: litigation, administrative advocacy, state and federal lobbying, and communications.
    • Earthjustice’s public lands strategies seek to reform management of public lands to reflect their value as biodiversity refuges and carbon sinks rather than as properties to be exploited for fossil fuels, minerals, and timber.
    • Earthjustice’s biodiversity strategies seek to defend the web of life by protecting priority ecosystems, preserving, and restoring imperiled species, and addressing cross-cutting threats such as pesticide usage and water pollution.
    • Earthjustice’s oceans strategies seek to defend ocean wildlife, prevent over-exploitation of fish populations, and stop offshore fossil fuel production.
  • Serve as a member of the Program Leadership Team, which sets Earthjustice’s overall programmatic goals and objectives, and allocates resources for achieving them through litigation, policy advocacy, and communications.
  • Work with attorneys across the Litigation department to guide case selection, litigation strategy, and government advocacy so as to maximize our impact.
  • Serve as a media spokesperson on high-profile issues within the Lands, Wildlife, and Oceans portfolio.
  • Cultivate and maintain effective partnerships with clients and allied organizations.
  • Ensure that equity, racial, and social justice considerations inform every aspect of our programmatic work.

Staff management (35%)

  • Supervise 5-7 Earthjustice Managing Attorneys, as well as other staff as necessary. (Earthjustice Managing Attorneys lead teams of up to 40 litigation staff that develop and implement litigation and advocacy strategies in a geographic region or programmatic area.) Provide the leadership, coaching, and feedback that they need to succeed.
  • Recruit and evaluate candidates for Managing Attorney and other program positions.
  • Help Earthjustice achieve its goals for staff diversity, workplace equity, and inclusivity.
  • Foster a positive, respectful, and inclusive work environment that improves employee satisfaction, morale, and retention.
  • Build a learning culture in which teams celebrate victories, learn from setbacks, and share experiences to help each other succeed.

External engagement, including board relations, organizational partnerships, policy advocacy, and fundraising (20%)

  • Participate in all aspects of board relations, including providing updates and supporting the board litigation approval process.
  • In partnership with Earthjustice’s Communications team, educate and influence supporters and partners to achieve our programmatic and fundraising objectives.
  • Communicate as appropriate with policymakers through various public media, written materials, and face-to-face communications in order to influence policymaking at a state, local, and/or national level as appropriate.
  • Build Earthjustice’s brand and external profile through public speaking, thought leadership, and media relations.
  • Work with Earthjustice’s Development staff to identify and cultivate major donors, develop proposals and reports for foundations, and support other fundraising efforts.

Organizational Leadership (5%)

  • Serve as a member of Earthjustice’s Senior Leadership Team, which works with Earthjustice’s President and Board of Trustees to set organizational policies and strategy (including financial strategy) and drive organizational change.
  • Work with Earthjustice’s General Counsel and her team to ensure compliance with federal lobbying restrictions.
  • Build organizational culture by modeling Earthjustice’s values of justice, partnership, inclusion, and excellence.

Candidate Qualifications

Education and requirements:

  • J.D. from an accredited U.S. law school.
  • Licensed to practice law wherever located.

Experience:

  • A minimum of 10 years of legal experience, preferably including substantial litigation experience.
  • A minimum of 5 years of management experience, preferably including executive-level leadership experience.
  • Broad familiarity with environmental law and litigation, with deep expertise in federal laws applicable to public lands, wildlife law, and oceans protection.
  • A track record of success developing and executing campaign strategies that secure change through litigation, policy advocacy, and communications.
  • A network of relevant professional relationships (e.g. relationships with NGOs, government agencies, Indian tribes, and/or grassroots organizations) that can help Earthjustice achieve its goals.

Skills:

  • Excellent management skills, including the ability to coach leaders, mentor staff, provide effective feedback, lead change in a large organization, and foster communication, collaboration, and mutual respect.
  • Excellent legal writing and analysis skills.
  • Excellent communication skills, preferably including experience as a media spokesperson.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to build and maintain partnerships, understand and influence stakeholders, listen to and learn from others, and motivate and inspire co-workers.

Personal Traits and Attributes:

  • Passion for the role of Earthjustice and its mission, including our commitment to furthering racial and social justice through our programmatic agenda.
  • Excellent emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and cultural humility.
  • Comfort with communicating with and through the media and supporters.
  • Awareness of and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations.
  • Ability to contribute to the development and retention of a diverse workforce and an equitable and inclusive workplace and culture.
  • Willingness to travel as necessary.
  • A positive attitude, a sense of humor and a willingness to have fun.

Salary and Benefits

We offer a mission- and employee-focused work environment and a competitive compensation package, including excellent benefits. Earthjustice is an equal opportunity employer and highly values diversity.

Compensation: Salary is based on experience and location.

  • Salary range in San Francisco, CA, New York, NY: $289,700 - $321,900
  • Salary range in Sacramento, CA, Seattle, WA, Washington, DC, Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA, Honolulu, HI: $275,300 - $305,900
  • Salary range in Juneau, AK, Denver, CO, Philadelphia, PA, Anchorage, AK: $260,800 - $289,800
  • Salary range in Houston, TX, Tallahassee, FL, Miami, FL, Bozeman, MT: $246,300 - $273,700

To Apply

Interested, qualified applicants should submit an electronic copy of their resume and cover letter to the search consultants listed below:

  • Resume
  • One- to two-page cover letter that explains why you are drawn to this position and what prior -experience of yours lends itself to this role.

Earthjustice has retained the services of Russell Reynolds Executive Search. Please submit your resume and expression of interest to the Russell Reynolds Associates team at EarthjusticeLWO@russellreynolds.com.

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 given 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