Staff Attorney and Director of Tribal Partnerships

Lands, Wildlife, and Oceans Denver, CO; Seattle, WA; Bozeman, MT; San Francisco or Los Angeles, CA, California

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.

Founded in 1971, Earthjustice has a distinguished track record of achieving significant, lasting environmental protections.  We achieve this by hiring people who share a passion for justice and a healthy environment.  Our headquarters are in San Francisco with offices in Anchorage, Juneau, Los Angeles, Tallahassee, Miami, Honolulu, New York, Philadelphia, Denver, Seattle, Bozeman, and Washington, DC.

Earthjustice seeks an experienced attorney with expertise in Indian law to broaden and deepen our ability to partner with and represent tribes and tribal communities in litigation and other advocacy to protect public health and the environment.  Earthjustice is proud of our record of productive partnership with tribes and tribal communities.  For example: 

  • We represent the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its litigation against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which threatens water quality on the Tribe’s reservation in North Dakota.
  • We represent the Tohono O’Odham Nation, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and the Hopi Tribe in a challenge to the proposed Rosemont open-pit copper mine, which would be situated on public lands in Arizona that have profound cultural and religious significance to the Tribes.
  • We represent the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin in litigation aimed at protecting sites of great cultural, religious, and historic significance to the Tribe from harm due to a proposed sulfide mine situated on the banks of the Menominee River.
  • We represent the Quinault Indian Nation in successfully opposing oil shipping terminals proposed for Grays Harbor, on the Washington coast, that threatened waters and ancestral territory of critical importance to the Quinault people.
  • We represent the Pikuni Traditionalist Association, an association of cultural leaders of the Blackfeet Nation, and the Blackfeet Headwaters Alliance, a grassroots organization whose membership includes many Blackfeet tribal members, in opposing oil-and-gas leases in Montana’s Badger-Two Medicine region, an area adjacent to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation that holds immense cultural significance for people of the Blackfeet Nation.

Each of these cases is being litigated by attorneys located in one of Earthjustice’s ten regional offices.  The work of the Director of Tribal Partnerships is intended to complement the work being done out of our regional offices, providing leadership to develop cross-cutting strategies with our tribal partners and giving us added capacity and expertise to work on matters of concern to tribes and tribal communities.  This attorney will supervise a new associate attorney position that will be fully dedicated to this work.  The staff attorney and associate will work together, litigating cases themselves and in collaboration with attorneys located in regional offices, as well as providing consultation and advice on other cases litigated by regional office staff.  They also will conduct outreach with tribes and tribal communities, often in collaboration with Earthjustice regional office staff, to identify matters of concern to current and potential Earthjustice clients and to ensure our partnerships are as effective as they can be.  

We strongly prefer that the person selected for this position be based in one of Earthjustice’s regional offices located in the Western United States – in either Bozeman, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Seattle.  For an extraordinarily well-qualified candidate, we also would consider other locations. 


  • Develop and implement strategies for deepening and broadening Earthjustice’s ability to partner with and represent tribes and tribal communities. 
  • Develop new cases in a strategic fashion; conduct factual investigations; develop legal theories; draft pleadings and briefs; and otherwise manage new and existing cases in state or federal courts and administrative agencies.
  • Litigate cases from beginning to end, performing all aspects of litigation.
  • Cultivate new clients, allies, and coalition partners.
  • Collaborate and manage relationships with co-counsel, clients, and coalition partners.
  • Supervise the work of associate attorneys and litigation assistants.
  • Serve as a spokesperson for Earthjustice, clients, and partners.
  • Help develop and execute effective media strategies.
  • Integrate communications and legislative advocacy into litigation and other legal strategies.
  • Work effectively with other departments within Earthjustice, including our communications, development, and policy and legislation departments.
  • Support and advance efforts to ensure a diverse, equitable and inclusive work culture that encourages and celebrates differences.
  • At least six years of litigation experience, including experience litigating on issues of relevance to tribes and tribal communities.  Expertise in federal Indian law preferred.
  • Experience representing or working in partnership with tribes and/or tribal communities.
  • Excellent litigation skills, including legal research, writing, analytical, and oral advocacy skills.
  • Ability to manage a litigation docket effectively, including ability to work independently and to prioritize tasks and deadlines.
  • Strong skills in communicating litigation and advocacy goals and messages to the media. 
  • Ability to work independently and in collaboration with client partners and in leading a litigation team.
  • Strong and demonstrated initiative, good judgment, creativity, and work ethic.
  • Ability and willingness to travel as needed, including for case work, court appearances, and meetings with clients and partners.
  • Commitment to serving the public interest and a passion for the role of Earthjustice and its mission.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to work well collegially.
  • Demonstrated awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations.
  • Commitment to help create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work culture that encourages and celebrates differences.

We offer a mission- and employee-focused work environment and a competitive compensation package, including excellent benefits.  Earthjustice is an equal opportunity employer and highly values diversity.

To Apply

Earthjustice has retained the services of Swan Legal Search for this job search.  Interested candidates should submit the following to Delia Swan via email at:

Interested candidates should submit a:

  • Resume.
  • One- or two-page cover letter that addresses why you would like to assume the role of Director of Tribal Partnerships and in which geographic location(s) you would be willing to reside.
  • Writing sample, preferably a legal brief or memorandum that primarily reflects your work.
  • List of three references. 

Please reach out to if you are having technical difficulties submitting your application. No phone calls, drop-ins, or hard copies.

Earthjustice is driven by a passion for justice, partnership 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, gender expression, genetic information or any other factor that is not related to the position.

For positions located within the City and County of San Francisco:  Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment-qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records. 

For positions located within the City of Los Angeles:  We will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring.