Associate Attorney @ Sierra Club

Application Info

Associate Attorney


Job Title: Associate Attorney
Department: Legal Department, Environmental Law Program
Reports to: Managing Attorney
Location: Oakland, CA
Duration: 2-year position, beginning September 2024

Context: At the Sierra Club, we believe in the power of interdependence. Together, we remain committed to the fight for a healthy climate built on a foundation of environmental, racial, economic, and gender justice – a future where all people benefit from a healthy, thriving planet and a direct connection to nature. As the climate crisis and deeply entrenched systemic racism all fuel injustice, we will continue to fight for a bold, transformational agenda that recognizes the interconnectedness between our planet, our humanity, and our future. By recognizing that our destinies are tied, we continue to name that all things are fundamentally connected, and the overlap between ecology, race, gender, and representative government will move to either advance our collective humanity or to oppress it. Sierra Club has close to 800 staff across the country and a network of 64 local chapters that are led and fueled by thousands of volunteers. We are also proud to be a unionized employer, with three labor unions representing more than half of our employees.

Scope: The Sierra Club Environmental Law Program (ELP) seeks an associate attorney to begin work at Sierra Club national headquarters in Oakland, California starting in September 2024. As part of the national Sierra Club’s legal team, the associate attorney helps coordinate all aspects of the Sierra Club’s legal work. Working with senior and staff attorneys, the associate attorney evaluates proposed environmental litigation and prepares formal written recommendations for the Sierra Club’s decision makers; provides legal advice to Sierra Club chapters around the country; helps strategize and implement programmatic legal campaigns; and, during the associate’s second year, participates as counsel in select litigation matters aimed at advancing the Sierra Club’s national campaigns.

The Environmental Law Program primarily directs legal strategy for the Sierra Club’s campaigns, including Beyond Coal, Beyond Dirty Fuels, Clean Transportation for All, and Our Wild America. We litigate cases and coordinate legal work among campaigns, state-level chapters, and partner coalitions.

Job activities include but are not limited to:

  1. Evaluate proposed environmental litigation so that national volunteer and staff leadership can decide whether the Sierra Club should participate.
  2. Oversee and maintain an overview of the Sierra Club’s litigation docket; help resolve problems that arise in individual lawsuits.
  3. Provide support to chapters who wish to pursue legal tactics, such as assisting chapters in formulating legal strategies and objectives, securing effective, low or pro bono outside counsel, and ensuring that legal tactics are part of a well-integrated campaign strategy.
  4. Help to ensure that Sierra Club litigation furthers the principles of equity, inclusion, and justice, consistent with the Jemez Principles (see below), including through the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of clients, partners, and front-line community groups and individuals in a way that demonstrates humility, patience, and respect.
  5. Assist in litigating cases that seek to advance the goals of the national priority campaigns (see above) under the supervision and mentorship of senior and staff attorneys during the associate’s second year.

The successful candidate must have the following skills and experience:

  1. Law school graduate by September 2024 admitted to or willing to apply for admission to the California Bar.
  2. 0–3 years of post-law school graduation experience.
  3. Excellent writing and analytical skills.
  4. Strong interpersonal and consensus building skills, including the ability to work collaboratively with clients and colleagues from a variety of backgrounds.
  5. Passion for the Sierra Club’s mission to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment.
  6. Demonstrated commitment to furthering equity, inclusion, and justice, both internally and externally.
  7. Committed to evolution.You are committed to continuously deepening and evolving your own understanding of systems of oppression through study, openness, and humility. And you easily recognize your own relationship to privilege and power, examining and shifting your behaviors as appropriate.
  8. Uplifting and additive. You see mistakes as opportunities for growth; problems as catalysts for solutions, and inspire others along the journey. You carry a constructive approach, can-do attitude, a sense of humor, and authentic kindness wherever you go.

The strongest candidates will also demonstrate the following skills, experience and competencies:

  1. Knowledge of environmental law

Compensation and Benefits
The salary range for this position is $92,039 to $115,316

As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, the Sierra Club currently is not a qualifying employer under the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

The Sierra Club offers a competitive salary package commensurate with skills and experience plus excellent benefits that include medical, dental, and vision coverage, and a retirement savings 401(k) plan.

This is a category 5 exempt position.

Sierra Club values the expertise and talents of foreign nationals. Sierra Club sponsors both nonimmigrant and immigrant visas when certain criteria are met, based on immigration laws and organizational needs. Such sponsorship is at the discretion of the Department Head and Sierra Club People Department in consultation with the employee’s manager. The Sierra Club cannot guarantee the approval of a visa petition. The Sierra Club is an equal opportunity employer committed to workforce belonging.

How to Apply

To Apply

Please submit your resume here.

We are accepting applications until September 15, 2023, and we hope to complete the hiring process soon thereafter.

The Sierra Club provides equal employment and advancement opportunities to all staff members. Employment decisions are based on merit, qualifications, lived experience and skills. The Sierra Club does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, immigration status, socioeconomic status, ancestry, age, size, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, familial status, veteran status, disability, AIDS/HIV status, medical condition, prior conviction, arrest history, traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles, or any other characteristic protected by law.

The Sierra Club values applicants who are people that identify as Black, Indigenous, and other minoritized groups; women; queer, transgender, gender non-conforming, and gender fluid people.

Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.


Oakland, California, United States




2023-08-03 00:00