Associate Attorney Program
Earthjustice's associate attorney program offers an exceptional opportunity to develop the skills necessary to become an effective public interest attorney. Associates participate in cutting-edge litigation to protect people and the environment. With the mentorship of some of the best environmental litigators in the nation, associates take on significant responsibility for driving the work of Earthjustice forward.
While the associate attorney experience differs from office to office, associates generally work as part of a team of attorneys to develop and pursue strategic litigation, primarily in federal but also in state courts. In addition, associate attorneys typically become involved in other aspects of public interest advocacy, including working with the media and helping to develop and maintain successful coalitions.
Associates work with more experienced attorneys on major cases and during their tenure typically take on primary responsibility for some cases. Associates conduct legal research and prepare memoranda on issues relating to ongoing or potential litigation projects, work to develop potential cases, interact with clients, draft motions, briefs and other pleadings, argue motions, assist with discovery, work with experts, and prepare comments on proposed agency actions and environmental impact statements.
What qualifications do we look for in associate attorney candidates?
- A recent law school graduate, a recent judicial clerk, or a lawyer with one to five years of experience.
- Excellent research, writing and oral advocacy skills.
- An outstanding academic record.
- Demonstrated initiative.
- Collegiality and teamwork.
- Excellent work ethic.
- Sound judgment.
- Sense of humor.
- The ability to work well with colleagues and clients from diverse backgrounds.
Although we value candidates with a demonstrated commitment to the environment and the public interest, we will consider any promising candidate with a strong legal background, whether in government, public interest, or private practice.
The term for the associate position is three years, with potential for extension. Many use the position as a springboard to other environmental litigation career opportunities. Others are promoted to senior associate and staff attorney positions, and some have become managing attorneys at Earthjustice. Decisions to promote an associate attorney depend on organizational considerations (such as overall staffing demands and budgetary resources) as well as an associate’s own skills and performance. For currently open associate attorney positions, visit our Career Opportunities section.
From Current And Past Associate Attorneys, About The Program:
“I served as an associate attorney in Earthjustice’s San Francisco office from 1997 to 2000.
“One of the best parts of the job was the ability to handle significant cases immediately. My very first oral argument—at Earthjustice, and in my career—was on an issue of nationwide first impression in the Ninth Circuit. At a law firm, a new associate would never be given that level of responsibility, but it sure makes you learn fast.
“I also loved the opportunity to interact with so many mature environmental organizations in various litigation coalitions. The subject matter knowledge and tactical intelligence of our clients made me really come to understand representation as a lawyer-client partnership, and to learn how to enlist clients as fully as possible in developing the best facts, arguments, and strategies to win.”
“I joined Earthjustice in September 2013 as an associate attorney in the Northern Rockies office in Bozeman, Montana.
“I came to Earthjustice because I wanted to work with lawyers who are holding the line for vulnerable communities and ecosystems in the defining environmental battles of our time. I also wanted to learn from the very best public interest litigators at the start of my career.
“My experience as an associate attorney has exceeded my expectations. My colleagues have a passion for justice and the environment that is matched only by their dedication to excellence in their litigation practice.
“It has been an incomparable education to collaborate with them and our clients, and I feel privileged to be part of Earthjustice’s work to defend wild places, wild creatures, and public health in the Northern Rockies.”
Earthjustice is driven by a passion for justice, partnership, inclusion, 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.
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, 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.