ABOUT THE WESTERN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CENTER

The Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) is a leading nonprofit, public-interest environmental law firm. WELC has been celebrated as an Outside Magazine Best Place to Work, Oregon Business Magazine Best Nonprofit, a Law360 Environmental Group of the Year, and a Better Business Bureau Torch Award winner for ethics. We envision a thriving, resilient Western U.S., abundant with protected public lands and wildlife, powered by renewable energy, defended by communities rooted in an ethic of conservation, and committed to equity, inclusion, and justice. We achieve this vision with steady, strategic, and bold legal advocacy that turns the wheels of power at all levels of government. WELC seeks a Wildlands and Wildlife Program Staff Attorney to join our team and advance our mission. We strongly encourage people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ candidates to apply.

POSITION SUMMARY

Location: Portland or Eugene, Oregon or Seattle, Washington; other remote locations in the Pacific Northwest will be considered

Timeline: Review of applications will begin on August 2, 2021, but the position will remain open until filled.

This Wildlands and Wildlife Program Staff Attorney is an exempt, full-time position responsible for three areas of focus:

  • First (0.6 FTE), engage in strategic, legal, and policy advocacy, including litigation, on behalf of WELC clients and partners on Western U.S. federal public lands and wildlife management issues in collaboration with the WELC Wildlands and Wildlife Program team.
  • Second (0.3 FTE), develop and maintain authentic relationships with historically under-represented communities, with a particular emphasis on Pacific Northwest (PNW) Indigenous Nations and communities. Through these relationships, the Staff Attorney will identify opportunities for WELC to develop new and strengthened collaborative partnerships and increase engagement with PNW forest collaborative efforts, and provide an Indigenous-informed perspective as WELC builds out its future advocacy strategies in solidarity with Indigenous Nations and communities to achieve mutually-identified goals and outcomes.
  • Third (0.1 FTE), work with WELC leadership to expand and deepen the organization’s commitment to equity, inclusion, and justice in the PNW. This includes development and implementation of a long-term strategy to engage, support, and learn from Indigenous Nations and communities. It also includes the design and implementation of a two-year fellowship program at WELC designed to provide on-the-job attorney training and experience to recent law school graduates centered on the confluence of WELC program advocacy and Indigenous issues.

In furthering these areas of focus, the Staff Attorney will provide a full range of legal services to clients, including litigation, and stay attuned to law, policy, and science developments relevant to the Staff Attorney’s work. This includes attendance at and participation in relevant conferences, continuing legal education courses, research, and monitoring of policy developments. The Staff Attorney will also develop and maintain strong, trusting, and effective relationships with WELC clients, partners, and allies, as well as the full range of stakeholders involved in the Staff Attorney’s docket.

Further, the Staff Attorney will have the opportunity to participate in organization-wide strategic planning and contribute to action to expand and deepen our commitment to equity, inclusion, and justice. The Staff Attorney will also support and coordinate with WELC leadership, development, communications, and finance staff to further the organization’s mission, including through advocacy updates, occasional assistance with fundraising activities, and representation of WELC in public and private settings, including conferences, partnerships, and meetings with foundation staff, private donors, and government decision-makers.

The Staff Attorney will also contribute to communications strategies with members of the media, public, elected officials, and others about WELC and the relevant matters under representation. The Staff Attorney will be encouraged and supported to identify and seize opportunities to share perspectives internally and externally and to be a leader on federal public lands, wildlife, and Indigenous legal and policy issues.

QUALIFICATIONS

We are keenly interested in considering a range of applicants with diverse lived experiences who approach the world with kindness, imagination, and vision. We will happily consider applicants who offer, with the exception of the first two qualifications set forth below, an equivalent or alternative set of qualifications to fulfill this position’s responsibilities.

  • Law degree from an accredited law school.
  • Admission to and good standing with a Western U.S. state bar or willingness to obtain membership to a Western U.S. state bar at the earliest opportunity.
  • Excellent research, writing, and oral advocacy skills.
  • At least three years of litigation, administrative, or other legal experience. Relevant experience obtained prior to the applicant’s law degree will also be considered.
  • Experience with and knowledge of federal public lands and wildlife issues. A degree or training in the biophysical sciences is not required, but an interest in and understanding of science and its interplay with federal public lands and wildlife law and policy is important.
  • Lived experience within or past working/organizing experience in partnership with Pacific Northwest or other Indigenous Nations and communities.
  • Ability and willingness to act as a lead attorney on cases and projects and use a complete set of legal advocacy tools including litigation, collaboration, administrative engagement, and policy development.
  • Experience or interest in collaborative conservation and collaborative processes and decision-making with varied, diverse stakeholders.
  • A commitment to conceptualizing and implementing legal strategies that further equity, inclusion, and justice, including through the just treatment and meaningful involvement of clients, partners, and front-line community groups and individuals.
  • Dynamic and empathetic skills to foster relationships with partners, agencies, and communities. Demonstrated ability to work in complex, potentially high-conflict, multi-dimensional arenas including effective work with a broad array of organizations, individuals, personalities, and interests.
  • Ability to work independently and proactively.
  • Ability to constructively work through challenging professional situations in a team environment, internally and externally.
  • Highly organized and intellectually curious.
  • Willingness to be flexible and adaptive when needed.
  • Demonstrated commitment to WELC’s mission and strategies and the public interest as well as a love for the land, waters, wildlife, and communities of the Western U.S.

BENEFITS AND COMPENSATION

Western Environmental Law Center is an equal opportunity employer. We offer a flexible, friendly, team-based environment with immediate opportunities to shape organizational strategies, competitive salaries ($64,000 – $100,000 for this position, depending on experience and location), and an excellent benefits package, including health, vision, dental, life, and disability coverage (with WELC paying 100% of an employee’s premiums), a 401(k) retirement plan with a 4% WELC match, 22 days combined of paid annual vacation and personal leave on top of 12 days of paid holiday leave, paid sick leave, and a paid long-term leave policy (3 months family/sabbatical leave for every 5 years of employment).

TO APPLY

We strongly encourage people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants to apply. In particular, we seek candidates with lived experience with and knowledge of Indigenous Nations and communities, ideally but not exclusively within the PNW. Please email the following as PDF attachments by August 1, 2021 to :

  • 1-2 page cover letter addressed to Susan Jane Brown, Wildlands and Wildlife Program Director;
  • Resume;
  • 3-5 professional references; and
  • 1-2 writing samples (preferably under 10 pages each) with at least 1 writing sample involving a legal memorandum, brief, or filing. An additional, non-legal writing sample is also welcomed to illustrate the candidate’s background, views, or ideas.

Cover letters should communicate the applicant’s commitment to WELC’s mission and advocacy and their motivation to work in this position and the public interest legal field. Applicants are strongly encouraged to tell us who they are as a human being, why they care about this work, and why they are interested in this position.

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