Our Associate Attorneys help save the planet.
There is no better place to grow as a litigator. Our core values of justice, partnership, excellence and inclusion guide us in every aspect of our work.
What Our Associate Attorneys Do
Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We only take cases that serve the public interest by creating positive change for our planet and its people. We do our work in a wide variety of forums, including not only every level of federal and state judiciaries, but many other forums as well, ranging from public utility commissions to local administrative proceedings.
The day to day work of an Earthjustice associate attorney varies depending on the specific team to which they belong and their experience level. That work includes legal research and writing, developing facts, commenting on regulatory actions, interacting with clients, conducting discovery, working with expert witnesses, preparing for and participating in evidentiary hearings, drafting motions and briefs, and presenting legal arguments in court. Associates also work with our communications strategists and lobbying teams.
Hear From Our Team
On their experiences of working at Earthjustice
“I came to Earthjustice from a career doing intellectual property litigation, so environmental law was a big shift for me. What really drew me to this work was a deep concern about the state of the Earth. I felt that while there are a number of issues that I feel passionate about, no other issues can be addressed if we have no Earth to live on, and people are too sick from toxic chemicals to advocate for their rights.”
“After graduating from law school, I accepted a fellowship working in sustainable development on island nations. That experience allowed me to see the effects of climate change firsthand. I decided that I wanted to use my legal skills to fight climate change domestically and protect the marine ecosystem on which we all rely.
“I heard about Earthjustice’s associate attorney program and knew that was what I wanted: a program that would take people who didn't have much experience with environmental law and teach them how to be great advocates and lawyers.”
“One of the really compelling moments I remember on a case was at a court hearing on a preliminary injunction, introducing evidence on the issue of irreparable harm. Our client was very impassioned because he got to talk about why he cared. He said that if we don't speak up, who will? After the hearing, he explained that just being heard — being able to tell his story and being heard by the federal district court judge — really meant a lot.”
“Our clients are a really passionate, diverse set of organizations and people who are incredibly knowledgeable about the issues on the ground, and I've learned so much from them as a new lawyer.
“Collaborating closely with them has driven home for me that as excited as I am to be here, I’m just starting out on this work. I’m reminded every day that our clients are our guides and leaders, and the advocacy they’ve been doing for years inspires me and helps me understand what it means to be a great lawyer.”
“I started with Earthjustice fresh out of law school, and I don’t think any other first job gives newer attorneys the ability to learn faster or have a greater impact. I'm not languishing in a research pit somewhere.
“Right now, I do work that gets filed under my name. I meet with clients and partners across Florida and Puerto Rico. I’ve testified before the Florida Senate. The responsibility I feel is really incredible.”
“I've been fortunate to have supervisors and managers who truly care about my development and my growth as a young attorney.
“They make a point to identify assignments and cases that will be a significant aid to my development. Working alongside these amazing attorneys, I’m able to learn from their wide range of experiences.”
“I like that Earthjustice goes wherever the fight is. The venue doesn’t need to be glamorous; it may even be openly hostile. But if that’s where our clients want us to be — or, if that’s where we need to be to preserve our rights down the road — that’s where we are. I think having fourteen regional offices helps with this. We can keep our finger on the pulse of local issues, and join challenges at their inception. ”
“I am from North Carolina, where there are a host of environmental justice issues. I always imagined myself getting involved in that work in some way. At Earthjustice, I am not only fulfilling my purpose, but genuinely striving to make a difference in the lived experiences of people overburdened with institutionalized discrimination and other forms of oppression.
“It is unfathomable to me that some places are deemed sacrificial zones, and my daily work is doing something to chip away at that narrative.”
What We Look For
We look for candidates who have excellent research and writing skills, a record of academic achievement, good judgment, a desire to take on challenges, and an ability to work well in a team environment with clients and colleagues from diverse backgrounds. We evaluate every Earthjustice job applicant to make sure they have the functional skills, cultural competency, and emotional intelligence to succeed.
While most associates come to Earthjustice with 0–4 years of legal experience, you should check our individual job listings for more details. Past environmental law experience or a demonstrated commitment to public interest work is a plus, but not required.
Salary and Benefits
We offer outstanding benefits and competitive salaries that range from roughly $68,000 to $100,000, depending on experience and geographic location.
Term of the Position
Associate attorney positions are 3-year terms with the possibility of promotion to a senior associate attorney position with an additional 3-year term. Earthjustice promotes some senior associates to staff attorney positions, while others take their experience and apply it in impactful careers outside of Earthjustice. Promotions depend on a number of factors including work performance, staffing needs, program priorities, and budgetary resources.