Staff or Senior Attorney – Environmental Justice
The Southern Environmental Law Center is seeking a Staff or Senior Attorney to work across SELC’s six-state region as an Environmental Justice attorney. The preferred location for this position is SELC’s Chapel Hill, NC office, but other locations can be considered. Please state any office preferences in your cover letter or the application itself.
This is an excellent opportunity to be part of an organization that is successfully addressing some of the most important and challenging environmental justice issues in the South and the nation. This position is open to practicing attorneys with five or more years’ experience. SELC is enhancing and expanding our role as a strong and reliable advocate for environmental justice across our region as a top priority of our ten-year Strategic Plan. We are integrating environmental justice into our work, across all our program teams and offices. To accomplish those goals, we have created an Environmental Justice Initiative to coordinate this work. We are seeking an experienced attorney to join our Environmental Justice Initiative and enhance our capacity to bring cases and implement policies that move the South toward environmental justice. This attorney will work at the intersection of civil rights and environmental matters throughout SELC’s six-state region.
This attorney will assist in building SELC’s capacity to address environmental injustice in the region through bringing their own civil rights, environmental justice, and equity experience to bear internally and externally. This attorney will enhance internal capacity to achieve environmental justice, by continuing to elevate important environmental justice research, legal, regulatory, organizing, and outreach strategies, as well as historical context across SELC environmental program areas. They will help develop new cases, advise, or add strategic litigation capacity on behalf of grassroots organizations, communities, and established non-profits that seek to rectify environmental injustices. This representation will primarily be on behalf of groups that are led by and made up of communities of color. This attorney will work closely with SELC’s Environmental Justice Initiative Leader, geospatial team, communications staff, and other attorneys across our region.
SELC currently has a hybrid work model with at least three days working in the office each week and up to two days working remotely. This is a full-time, exempt position.
There are three primary categories of responsibility:
The attorney can expect to :
1. Help identify the most pressing environmental injustices in our region and seek out significant cases or impactful approaches that leverage changes in law and policy.
- Identify legislative, executive, and regulatory opportunities to advance environmental justice at the state and federal level.
- Work as a partner on regional environmental justice strategy with the leader of SELC’s Environmental Justice Initiative, SELC attorneys and other staff working on environmental justice matters.
- Engage in select litigation on environmental justice matters; these matters may be in state, federal, administrative, or quasi-judicial proceedings.
- Conduct research to support EJ legal and policy work.
2. Help integrate Environmental Justice considerations and priorities throughout SELC’s legal and policy advocacy work.
- Work with staff to incorporate Environmental Justice legal and policy work across program areas and initiatives, this may include preparing and delivering internal presentations and materials to staff on environmental justice tools and/or supervising preparation or delivery of internal presentations and materials on environmental justice and EJ tools.
3. Develop New Relationships, and strengthen existing ones, with communities of color and other underserved communities across our region.
- Partner with SELC’s Environmental Justice Initiative Leader to connect underserved communities with Inflations Reduction Act grant opportunities.
- Prepare and deliver external presentations that align with SELC’s EJ initiative, that raise the profile of SELC, and where desired by our partners, amplify partner issues.
- Represent SELC in public settings including coalition and community meetings, hearings, and with press, with an emphasis on amplifying the issues of community partners that align with SELCs mission to protect human health and the environment.
- Engage in outreach; for instance by attending grassroots convenings by communities of color or organized convenings of advocacy groups for communities of color like the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference, Southern Unity for Racial Justice and Equity Conference, the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network Summit to table for SELC to hear about attendees interest in public health and the environment and to share about SELC’s environmental justice initiative and to find points of collaboration.
- Provide guidance on how to engage in outreach to SELC staff.
- Convene and collaborate with environmental advocates, community organizations, neighborhood associations, and loosely formed groups seeking to achieve environmental justice.
- Five or more years of practice with litigation experience, and an interest in engaging in select strategic litigation to advance environmental justice.
- Strong work ethic and initiative.
- The ideal candidate will be a skilled and multi-faceted lawyer with excellent academic credentials, a background in environmental justice law, policy, and regulation, effective communication and interpersonal skills, a demonstrated ability to work well in a collegial setting, and a strong personal commitment to SELC’s mission.
- The candidate will also have a history of working with communities of color and an understanding of, and experience with meaningfully involving impacted communities in decision-making.
- Needs to be an active listener and collaborator and have experience working with community-based organizations.
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 over 200, including more than 100 attorneys, and is headquartered in Charlottesville, VA., with offices in Asheville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Chapel Hill, Charleston, Nashville, Richmond, and Washington, DC.
At our core, we are place-based, rooted in our region, and connected with the communities and clients we serve. We believe in an equitable and inclusive workplace that reflects the rich racial and cultural diversity of our region and allows diverse perspectives to come to the forefront. We approach our work with the highest level of integrity, holding ourselves to high standards with an emphasis on honesty, accountability, and thoughtfulness. We value collaboration and camaraderie, realizing we are strongest when we work together and knowing that everyone has a critical role to play. We strive for impact through a strategic, bold, pragmatic, and ambitious outlook that is dedicated to achieving powerful results. We believe in these values and in the power of SELC. We hope you consider joining us. Learn more at https://www.southernenvironment.org/.
Compensation & Benefits:
SELC offers salaries competitive with other leading environmental nonprofits nationally and provides an excellent benefits package. The minimum salary for this position based on the minimum qualifications is $103,283. We will consider a wide range of experience for this position; thus salary is commensurate with experience.
SELC is a PSLF (Public Service Loan Forgiveness) eligible employer.
SELC will also provide relocation reimbursement for those relocating for an SELC position, up to a specific dollar amount and contingent on the move being at least 50 miles from the current primary address. For more details about our benefits package, please visit our Careers page.
To apply, click on the ‘Apply Now’ button below to be directed to an online application where you may upload your application materials. Applicants must submit a cover letter, resume, law school transcript, one writing sample, and three professional references. Interested persons should apply immediately, we will accept and review applications until the position is filled.
SELC is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to fostering an inclusive workplace environment. We are eager to welcome new team members who share this commitment. 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. Persons of all backgrounds—including people of color, women, people with disabilities, veterans, and LGBTQ candidates—are strongly encouraged to apply.