For consideration, please submit your resume, cover letter, short writing sample (10 page max) & 3 professional references through our online application system.
The Senior Staff Attorney will play an integral role in developing and implementing The Wilderness Society’s (TWS) programmatic litigation and legal strategy as part of a cross-functional legal team that works in service of the organization and its programmatic priorities in an integrated and collaborative manner.
TWS’s legal team plays a unique and crucial role in integrating legal strategy throughout our multi-disciplinary approach to achieving enduring conservation gains. This includes building eventual legal cases from the ground-up through engagement in agency decision-making processes, utilizing the law to advance protective policies and outcomes, and establishing a strong record for eventual administrative challenges or litigation. As in-house counsel, the Senior Staff Attorney will implement TWS legal engagement in public land management decision-making, including bringing legal expertise to priority place-based and policy campaigns and supporting litigation, working in close coordination with TWS regional, agency policy and planning, government relations, and external affairs staff, partners, Native American tribes, and outside legal counsel. **The preferred location for this position is Denver, CO. Other TWS office locations may be considered**
(Note: TWS does not represent itself in the courts but actively supports and partners with our litigating counsel.)
This position plays an important role in supporting an inclusive organizational culture that is grounded in trust and accountability to shared goals and outcomes. TWS has made diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic priorities for the organization, and the Senior Staff Attorney will integrate these priorities throughout our legal work. Across our team, we aspire to be campaign oriented, nimble, collaborative, innovative, transparent, and supportive of staff – our greatest asset.
Essential Duties & Responsibilities
- Help develop and implement overarching legal strategy to achieve TWS strategic framework and priorities, including achieving net zero fossil fuel emissions from federal public lands, protecting 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters, and transforming conservation policy and practice so that all people benefit equitably from public lands.
- Identify and evaluate opportunities for TWS engagement in litigation in service of TWS strategic framework, priorities, and overarching legal strategy.
- Advise TWS staff, internal and external campaigns, and partners on strategic development of the administrative record for priority planning, rulemaking, and other decision-making processes to prepare for litigation.
- Independently lead TWS legal engagement in high-priority administrative decision-making processes likely to lead to administrative challenges or litigation, working with internal and external campaign teams and outside legal counsel to establish standing, build a robust administrative record, support local partners, communities, and tribes, develop legal claims, and coordinate advocacy and media campaigns with legal strategy.
- Help manage and coordinate with outside legal counsel, including overseeing claim development, briefing, and other aspects of active litigation and coordinating closely with TWS staff engaged in the underlying decision-making process.
- Represent TWS in administrative appeals, objections, and other quasi-judicial proceedings, as appropriate.
- Perform other related duties as needed.
Experience, Competencies, and Education
- Juris doctor with active bar membership.
- Minimum 5 years’ experience in legal and policy work, with litigation experience preferred.
- Experience engaging in local, state, tribal, and/or federal agency decision-making, including through the effective application of environmental laws and policies, preparation of technical comments, and utilization of experts, and in challenging agency decisions through administrative remedies and litigation.
- Ability to review and comment on policy, legislation, agency proposals and environmental review documents, identify key legal vulnerabilities, important record-building opportunities, and other political opportunities or pressure points.
- Ability to work successfully within complex multi-disciplinary campaign settings and help oversee multi-party litigation.
- Basic understanding of administrative and public land laws and policies, with experience in energy and climate law (e.g., onshore oil and gas leasing) preferred.
- Excellent analytical and verbal and written communication skills.
- Track record of working successfully in teams representing a rich mix of talent, backgrounds, and perspectives—across race and gender.
- Willingness to travel for short durations.
- Outstanding legal and interpersonal skills.
- Enthusiastic, highly motivated, and trustworthy.
- Experience working with or representing Native American tribes and/or under-served communities, or in environmental justice.
- Commitment to embedding equity throughout legal strategies and litigation efforts.
- Highly organized and with the ability to manage a complex array of programmatic, partner, and organizational demands.
The Wilderness Society offers a competitive salary and benefits package, including: health, dental, vision, life and disability insurance; sick and vacation leave; a sabbatical program; and a retirement plan. TWS is an equal opportunity employer and actively works to ensure fair treatment of our employees and constituents across culture, socioeconomic status, race, marital or family situation, gender, age, ethnicity, religious beliefs, physical ability, veteran status or sexual orientation.
As an organization, we aspire to being inclusive in the work that we do, and in the kind of organization we are. Internally this means working as a team that listens to different points of view, recognizes the contributions of every employee and empowers each employee to bring their whole selves to work every day. Externally this means ensuring that public lands are inclusive and welcoming, so that our shared wildlands can help people and nature to thrive. We are committed to equity throughout our work, which we define as our commitment to realizing the promise of our public lands and ensuring that all can share in their universal benefits.
To learn more about our commitment, please see http://wilderness.org/our-commitment-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-wilderness-society