Earthjustice — Deputy General Counsel

Earthjustice, based in San Francisco, California, is seeking a deputy general counsel to work in the General Counsel’s Office.

About the Foundation

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, Houston, Los Angeles, Tallahassee, Miami, Honolulu, New York, Philadelphia, Denver, Seattle, Bozeman, and Washington, DC.

The Deputy General Counsel will be the lead legal advisor to all environmental program Vice Presidents, Managing Attorneys, Senior Attorneys, and other program staff.  They will also partner with General Counsel and other attorneys on the team on business issues and data security. The Deputy GC carries their own legal portfolio of matters and applies a legal expert level of knowledge to their work while working with an external network of experts to provide additional support to their work.  Tasks include law practice management functions of our public interest law firm, including conducting legal research, assuring compliance with legal ethical standards, assisting in improving lawyer onboarding/training, partnering with other leaders to assure appropriate tracking and reporting of the organization’s lobbying activities, and developing mechanisms for compliance in a number of other areas.  The Deputy General Counsel will manage the Senior Counsel for Conflicts and Lobbying Compliance.  The Deputy General Counsel should have a high level of understanding as to how legal technology is used in litigation. The Deputy General Counsel will have extensive impact on the organization, as the DGC’s work will substantially elevate professionalism in the organization over time.  The successful candidate should be a good planner, consensus builder, able to persuade others and get projects to a timely conclusion.

The Deputy General Counsel reports directly to the General Counsel who is based in Earthjustice’s San Francisco office.


Program Legal Advice (75%) 

  • Partner with other leaders to assure appropriate lobbying registration and reporting in each state and local jurisdiction.
  • Provide instruction and advice to regional offices on lobbying compliance.
  • Be primary legal advisor to Program on ethics compliance issues.
  • Provide legal advice on conflicts.
  • Conduct legal research on a variety of subjects, interpret laws, rulings and regulations and determine how they apply to Earthjustice.
  • Serve as lead legal advisor on projects to improve onboarding of new program lawyers.
  • Identify topics for appropriate legal compliance training for all lawyers in the areas of ethics, lobbying, c3 and c4 compliance, and other areas where needs are identified.

Supervisory Responsibilities (15%): 

  • Directly supervise the Senior Counsel, Conflicts and Lobbying Compliance Deputy who provides advice and training to program staff on lobbying, lobbying registration and reporting issues, and assists with conflicts and ethics issues.
  • Contribute to recruiting, hiring, developing, and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce.

 Contracts and Risk Management (10%): 

  • Review or draft contracts on an as-needed basis.
  • Update contract templates as needed.
  • Consult (and potentially select) external and internal experts.
  • As needed, select and supervise outside counsel; occasionally function as the client representative of Earthjustice.
  • Other job duties as assigned.
  • Assist the General Counsel with the ongoing identification and assessment of organizational risk exposure, ensure that staff are aware of organizational risks and provide advice and best practices to mitigate risk to the organization.



  • Demonstrated legal expertise, including significant exposure to litigation.
  • Ability to quickly grasp, research and assess a broad range of complex problems and present sensible solutions and alternatives.
  • Ability to summarize information and succinctly and clearly communicate analyses verbally and in writing to a range of internal clients.
  • Willingness to “roll up sleeves” and work with minimal support.
  • Strong attention to detail and care in executing written work.
  • Demonstrated integrity, strong work ethic, and sound judgment.
  • Outstanding communication skills, including the ability to translate complex legal concepts into layman’s terms and provide informative instruction to groups of staff.
  • Facility with developing collaborative relationships and managing and working with teams.
  • Strong ability to juggle multiple projects, prioritize, meet deadlines, and see tasks through to completion.
  • Ability to leverage technology, particularly database or web-based information platforms.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications
  • Support for Earthjustice’s mission and advocacy-based approach to solving environmental problems.
  • Demonstrated awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds and orientations.



  • J.D. and California State Bar admission in good standing, or admission to the state bar of the state of residence in good standing.
  • Minimum of 15 years of successful experience practicing law.
  • Experience with cost-effective management of outside legal resources.
  • Experience drafting and revising contracts.
  • Experience leading projects in a law firm or legal department context.
  • Solid knowledge of law firm best practices.
  • Solid level knowledge of legal technology.
  • Expert level of knowledge about best litigation discovery practices.
  • Experience in analyzing and addressing legal ethics matter.


  • Litigation-based practice experience.
  • Experience with technology used in law firms, including timekeeping and document management systems.
  • Knowledge of non-profit corporate law in the state of California.
  • Experience contributing to training and organizational learning.
  • Experience overseeing key elements of organizational risk assessment and management.
  • Working knowledge of federal tax law as it applies to §501(c)(3) and (c)(4) organizations in general and public-interest law firms in particular.
  • Non-profit experience.
  • International legal experience.

Salary and Benefits

We offer a competitive salary and excellent benefits that are comprehensive and competitive. We also offer an extremely congenial work environment and a casual dress code.

The annual salary ranges for the Deputy General Counsel role at Earthjustice:

  • San Francisco or New York-based range of $208,000 to $231,000
  • Washington, D.C.-based range of $197,000 to $219,000 (this range also applies to Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Honolulu)

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.

How To Apply

Interested, qualified attorneys should submit an electronic copy of their letter of interest and their resume to the following search consultants:

Steve John
John and Snyder, LLC
(415) 505-6685
Jason Snyder
John and Snyder, LLC
(415) 505-6687

All inquiries and/or application materials sent directly to Earthjustice will be redirected to John and Snyder, LLC for review, which may cause significant delay in evaluation and response.

On behalf of Earthjustice, we thank you for your interest in the Deputy General Counsel opportunity.


Posted on

January 18, 2024

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