Energy Attorney – Associate

The Southern Environmental Law Center is accepting applications for an associate attorney position focused on energy law and policy.  This position will be based in SELC’s Charlottesville, Va. office. Start date is as soon as possible.

This is an excellent opportunity to join a highly successful, nationally recognized organization that is uniquely positioned to help our region and the nation meet the global challenge of climate change.  

The associate attorney position is an entry-level position open to recent law graduates, attorneys completing clerkships, and practicing attorneys.  Two or more years of relevant experience are strongly preferred.  The term for an associate position is two years, with the potential for a third year.  

About SELC: The Southern Environmental Law Center is one of the nation’s most powerful defenders of the environment, rooted in the South. With a long track record, SELC takes on the toughest environmental challenges in court, in government, and in our communities to protect our region’s air, water, climate, wildlife, lands, and people. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, the organization has a staff of 170, including 90 attorneys, and is headquartered in Charlottesville, Va., with offices in Asheville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Chapel Hill, Charleston, Nashville, Richmond, and Washington, D.C.  

SELC works in Congress and state legislatures to inform environmental laws; in regulatory agencies to implement environmental laws and policies; and in the courts to enforce the law, stop the worst abuses, and set important precedents. The organization works collaboratively with more than 100 national, state, and local groups to enhance their efficacy and achieve common conservation goals. Additional information regarding our work and staff is available at www.southernenvironment.org.

SELC believes that a broad range of ideas, life experiences, and backgrounds enriches our workplace, drives innovative thinking, and attracts highly talented people who seek a work environment that values the unique contributions of individual team members. We are eager to welcome new team members who share this belief. We still have much progress to make, but our goal is to create and maintain a staff that, at every level, reflects the rich racial and cultural diversity of the communities where we work and the clients that we serve. SELC is an Equal Opportunity Employer and committed to fostering a transparently inclusive workplace environment. We are looking for people to join us in this effort. Persons of all backgrounds—including people of color, women, people with disabilities, veterans, and LGBTQ candidates—are strongly encouraged to apply.

About the position: Thedriving goal of SELC’s Clean Energy & Air program is to bend down the arc of greenhouse gas emissions in the South’s energy sector while ensuring that the new clean energy economy will relieve, not reproduce, the environmental and financial disparities of the old one. We work across a range of venues, including state and federal court, state utilities commissions, environmental regulatory agencies, and legislative bodies. 

In Virginia, we have key opportunities to advance these goals, as in recent years the Commonwealth has made great strides towards policies to tackle climate change and advance clean energy.  This position will focus on ensuring these power sector policies deliver on their potential, on looking forward to decarbonize additional sectors of our economy, and on achieving this transition in an equitable manner.  Working closely with our Virginia-based energy attorneys, the associate attorney will advocate and litigate on energy policies at the state and federal level.  This attorney will have the opportunity to work on a variety of complementary matters to transition Virginia away from fossil fuels, including: 1) advocating in state and federal administrative and judicial proceedings, including in matters before the commission that oversees Virginia utilities; 2) engaging in policy development and analysis in various settings at the state and federal level, including state regulatory and legislative matters; and 3) engaging with renewable energy advocates, business leaders, environmental groups and other public interest organizations, policy makers, legislators, and regulators to overcome barriers to emissions reduction efforts and to ensure that the renewable energy transition is just, equitable, and benefits the health and economy of all communities. Just as this rapidly evolving work spans a broad range of matters, it also involves various types of advocacy.  For example, SELC energy attorneys regularly litigate before commissions or courts, collaborate with allied groups with different perspectives in pursuit of shared policy goals, and speak in public settings.  

Qualifications and Compensation: 

The term for an associate attorney position is two years, with the potential for a third year. Associates gain valuable experience and knowledge working with more senior attorneys on the range of matters described above. The ideal candidate for this position will have two or more years of relevant experience.

We are seeking talented, multi-faceted lawyers who have:

  • Strong commitment to addressing the causes of climate change and advancing clean, sustainable energy resources in the South.
  • Excellent academic credentials.
  • Background in environmental law and in energy regulation and policy.
  • Effective written and oral communication skills, including the ability to translate technical and legal issues into plain English.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills and an ability to build and maintain effective relationships with a diverse set of clients and partners.
  • Strong independent initiative and the ability to contribute effectively and to collaborate as a member of a team.
  • Oral advocacy experience and comfort speaking in varied settings, legal and non-legal alike.
  • A strong personal commitment to SELC’s mission, including SELC’s deep commitment to being an open, welcoming, diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization.

The salary range for the associate position is $72,000 – 78,000, depending on experience, and SELC offers an excellent benefits package. 

Applications: To apply, click ‘Apply Now’ to be directed to an online application process where you may upload your application materials.  Applicants must submit a cover letter, resume, writing sample, law school transcript or grade report (with date of birth and social security number redacted), and three references. 

There is no deadline for applications. We intend to fill this position as soon as possible and will accept and review applications until the position is filled.

SELC is an Equal Opportunity Employer and strongly encourages applications from persons of all backgrounds.