Staff Attorney, Toxic Exposure and Health Program

Toxic Exposure & Health New York, New York Washington, District Of Columbia


Earthjustice is seeking a Staff Attorney to join the Toxic Exposure & Health Program.  The work of the Toxic Exposure and Health Program is at the heart of Earthjustice’s mission to defend the right of all people to live, work, and raise children in a healthy environment.  The attorney selected for this position will work closely with other professionals (attorneys, scientists, policy analysts, legislative advocates, communications experts) seeking to protect families, communities, and populations—especially those most overburdened or susceptible to harm—from toxic chemicals in the workplace, in consumer products, in the built environment, and in the outside environment.  The attorney also will partner with Earthjustice staff who focus on securing clean air, clean water, and sustainable food and agriculture. The successful candidate will be housed in either our New York City office or will work remotely based out of Washington, D.C. (note all Earthjustice staff are working remotely while offices are closed due to COVID-19), and may be called on to litigate around the country.

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We have approximately 140 attorneys working in fourteen regional offices around the country. Founded in 1971, we have a distinguished track record of using litigation and legal advocacy to achieve lasting environmental progress. 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 tackle the critical environmental issues of our time, and bring about positive change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Earthjustice’s Staff Attorneys are experienced attorneys who, on behalf of our clients, develop, file, and litigate cases that align with the goals and needs of the program or regional office in which they work. We compensate our Staff Attorneys in lockstep based on their geography and years of legal experience; some staff attorneys have fewer than ten years of litigation experience while others have been with us for decades, and many are nationally-recognized leaders in their fields.

Exposure to toxic chemicals is linked to chronic diseases and health conditions, many of which are on the rise as toxic exposures have increased. The goal of the Toxic Exposure & Health Program is to use litigation and other legal advocacy to ensure that all people have safe workplaces and neighborhoods, access to safe drinking water and food, and live in homes that are free of hazardous chemicals. In recent years, attorneys doing this work have won a groundbreaking lawsuit requiring EPA to improve its lead hazard standards, successfully petitioned the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ban a toxic class of flame retardants in consumer products, prevailed in a challenge to rules that would have allowed EPA to ignore the risks posed by legacy uses of toxic substances, such as lead in drinking water pipes, when it conducts chemical risk evaluations, and sued the United States Department of Defense for incinerating the dangerous and persistent chemicals known as PFAS without environmental review.

We expect the staff attorney we hire for this position to play a leading role in developing and leading litigation and seeking opportunities to further the Program’s work using litigation as well as other forms of legal advocacy.  The ideal candidate for this position will have experience with all aspects of complex litigation—including developing cases, motion practice, evidentiary hearings, oral argument, and appeals.  Prior experience with environmental law is not required, but prior experience with administrative law, as well as a demonstrated capacity to work effectively in a public-interest environment, is strongly preferred. While a science background is not required, candidates should be comfortable reading and working with scientific material.

The Staff Attorney’s time will be spent on substantive case/legal matter work (70%), supervision/mentoring (20%), and administrative matters (10%). 

Responsibilities

  • Develop cases and legal advocacy strategies to support the goals of the Toxic Exposure and Health Program, and the organization.
  • Litigate cases from beginning to end, taking the lead on all aspects of litigation.
  • Work with Earthjustice lobbyists and coalition partners to advance legislative and other advocacy strategies.
  • Supervise the work of associate attorneys, fellows, interns, and litigation assistants.
  • Cultivate new allies and engage in partnerships with, and representation of, community groups, workers, organizations, coalitions, and others.
  • Collaborate and manage relationships with co-counsel, clients, and coalition partners.
  • Support and contribute to a positive and collegial work environment and help to advance Earthjustice’s efforts to create a diverse and inclusive workplace that centers equity and justice. 
  • Serve as spokesperson for Earthjustice and, where appropriate, clients.
  • Work collaboratively and effectively with colleagues throughout Earthjustice, including Litigation, Communications, Development, and Policy and Legislation.

Qualifications

  • Law school graduate admitted, or willing to apply for admission, to the New York State Bar or the DC Bar.
  • At least seven years of litigation experience, including top-notch legal research, writing and oral advocacy skills, with a preference for attorneys with at least ten years of litigation experience.
  • Some science education or background, or, at a minimum, comfort parsing scientific information.
  • Initiative, good judgment, and a strong work ethic.
  • A commitment to public interest work and a passion for Earthjustice’s mission.
  • Ability to work both independently and in collaboration with others.
  • 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 workforce and 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.

Salary is based on number of years of litigation experience and location.
Salary range in New York, NY with 7+ years experience: $151,600+
Salary range in Washington, DC with 7+ years experience: $144,020+

For litigators and advocates committed to saving the planet and the people who depend on it, Staff Attorney at Earthjustice is the best job on the planet. Learn more about our Staff Attorney careers and work online here: https://earthjustice.org/about/jobs/staff-attorney.

To Apply 
Interested candidates should submit the following via Jobvite:

  • Resume
  • One or two page cover letter that addresses why you want to work at Earthjustice and/or what life experiences draw you to Earthjustice’s mission.
  • Writing sample, preferably a legal brief, that primarily reflects your work.  Please include a cover sheet explaining the extent of editing.
  • List of three professional references.

Please reach out to jobs@earthjustice.org 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.