Staff Attorney – Wildlands and Wildlife Program

Website Western Environmental Law Center

Public interest environmental law center

Job Opening Announcement: Wildlands and Wildlife Program Staff Attorney
Reports to: Wildlands and Wildlife Program Director
Location: Pacific Northwest, ideally in Eugene, Oregon, Portland, Oregon, or Seattle, Washington, but other locations in the region, including remote, will happily be considered.
Timeline: Job opening posted May 22, 2023; we will review applications on a rolling basis beginning on June 5, 2023 until the position is filled.


The Western Environmental Law Center is a leading nonprofit, public-interest environmental law firm rooted in the landscapes and communities of the Western U.S. Founded in 1993, WELC has been celebrated as an Outside Magazine Best Place to Work for the last four consecutive years (#9, #13, #3, #21), Oregon Business Magazine Best Nonprofit, Law360 Environmental Group of the Year, and Better Business Bureau Torch Award winner for ethics.

We envision a thriving, resilient Western U.S., abundant with protected public lands and wildlife, powered by renewable energy, defended by communities rooted in an ethic of conservation, and committed to equity, inclusion, and justice. We achieve this vision with steady, strategic, and bold legal advocacy using the right tool, in the right place, and at the right time to turn the wheels of power at all levels of government.

We seek a Wildlands and Wildlife Program Staff Attorney to join our team in the Pacific Northwest. We strongly encourage people of color, persons with disabilities, women, LGBTQ+ applicants, and people of diverse lived experience to apply.


The Wildlands and Wildlife Program Staff Attorney is an exempt, full-time position. The central focus of this position is strategic, legal, and policy advocacy centered on the public lands, wildlife, and communities of the Western U.S. with a primary focus on the Pacific Northwest. The position’s responsibilities will be allocated among the following core areas:

  • Litigation and administrative action pertaining to public lands and national forests, water resources, wildlife conservation, and community protection (0.6 FTE).
  • Engagement in legislative, rulemaking, and policy efforts relating to public lands, water resources, and wildlife, including engaging with communities where appropriate (0.3 FTE).
  • Action to support WELC efforts to build power and alignment with people and communities of diverse lived experience in the Pacific Northwest, in particular Tribal and Indigenous communities (0.1 FTE).

As with all WELC positions, this position is designed to accommodate a successful candidate’s distinctive skills, experiences, and interests to complement WELC’s strategic focus. It is for this reason in particular that we seek candidates with diverse lived experience. Given the dynamic moment we find ourselves in, this position’s focus and time allocations will also evolve in response to changing social, political, ecological, and economic circumstances.

In advancing this work, the Staff Attorney will provide a full range of legal services on behalf of WELC. To assist in all these efforts, the Staff Attorney will stay apprised of relevant law, policy, social, and other developments. The Staff Attorney will work collaboratively with staff across the organization, seeking opportunities for cross-team advocacy between our Wildlands and Wildlife and Climate and Energy teams.

In all endeavors, the Staff Attorney will be responsible for developing and maintaining strong, trusting, and effective relationships with clients and partners and the full range of stakeholders involved in the Staff Attorney’s responsibilities including through coalition building and engagement. Given the importance of leveraging legal advocacy in service of advancing a progressive discourse, engagement in communications strategies with members of the media, public, elected officials, and others about WELC and matters relevant to the Staff Attorney’s docket will also prove essential.

The Staff Attorney will be encouraged and supported to identify and advance opportunities to shape WELC’s strategic direction, to share perspectives internally and externally, to mentor and be mentored, and to be a trusted and respective leader in their field and within their scope of work. The Staff Attorney will support and coordinate with WELC leadership, development, communications, and finance staff, including through advocacy updates, occasional assistance with fundraising activities, and representation of WELC in public and private settings, including conferences, partnerships, and meetings with foundation staff, private donors, and government decision-makers.

The Staff Attorney is a normal 40-hour week position based out of an existing WELC office or a remote home office in the Pacific Northwest, primarily working during Monday to Friday business hours, though some night and weekend hours may be required depending on case needs. Limited travel is required, including overnight and weekend travel. The position also involves standard office physical demands. WELC will provide all reasonable accommodations to the extent possible or required pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act.


We are keenly interested in considering a range of applicants with diverse lived experiences who approach the world with kindness, empathy, imagination, and vision. We will happily consider applicants who offer, with the exception of the first two qualifications set forth below, an equivalent or alternative set of qualifications to fulfill this position’s responsibilities.

  • Law degree from an accredited law school.
  • Admission to and good standing with a U.S. state bar or willingness to obtain membership to a U.S. state bar where the attorney is located at the earliest opportunity.
  • Lived experience within or past work experience in partnership with people and communities of diverse backgrounds and experience, in particular in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Six to twelve years of attorney experience, although we will happily consider exceptional candidates with less experience.
  • Experience with and knowledge of public lands, wildlife, and community challenges and opportunities, in particular in the Pacific Northwest.
  • A commitment to conceptualizing and implementing legal strategies that further equity, inclusion, and justice, including through the just treatment and meaningful involvement of clients, partners, and frontline community groups and individuals.
  • Dynamic and empathetic skills to foster relationships with partners, clients, agency staff, and community members. Demonstrated ability to work in complex, potentially high-conflict, multi-dimensional arenas involving a broad array of organizations and interests.
  • Excellent research, writing, and oral advocacy skills.
  • An interest in and understanding of science and other technical fields and their interplay with public interest environmental law.
  • Ability and willingness to act as a lead attorney on cases and projects and use a complete set of legal advocacy tools including litigation as well as policy and administrative advocacy.
  • Eagerness to mentor, support, and help develop newer attorneys.
  • Ability to work independently and proactively, including a willingness to be flexible and adaptive when needed.
  • Desire to work on and be part of a team. This includes, among other things, giving and receiving feedback and input to/from colleagues and active, constructive engagement in organizational discussions to advance the organization’s mission and contribute to its cohesion.
  • Highly organized and intellectually curious.
  • Demonstrated commitment to WELC’s mission and strategies and the public interest as well as a love for the land, waters, wildlife, and communities of the Western U.S.


Western Environmental Law Center is an equal opportunity employer. We offer a flexible, friendly, team-based environment with immediate opportunities to shape organizational strategies, competitive salaries (starting salary range of $80,000 – $102,000 commensurate with 6-12 years legal experience and location).

WELC offers an excellent benefits package, including health, vision, dental, life, and disability coverage (with 100% employer paid premiums), a 401(k) retirement plan with a 4% employer match, and 22 days combined of paid annual vacation and personal leave on top of 13 days of paid holiday leave, paid sick leave, and a paid long-term leave policy (3 months sabbatical leave for every 5 years of employment).

WELC also employs “Flexible Fridays” during the summer months whereby time is used at the Staff Attorney’s discretion to engage in “deep work” that requires cognitive attention free of distraction, to wrap up tasks, plan ahead, or rest, relax, and recreate to sustain personal and professional resilience.


We strongly encourage people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants to apply. Please submit the following as PDF attachments through our ApplicantPro portal at :

  • 1-2 page cover letter addressed to Sarah McMillan, Wildlands and Wildlife Program Director;
  • Resume;
  • 3 professional references; and
  • 1-2 concise writing samples, with at least 1 writing sample involving a legal memorandum, brief, or filing. An additional, non-legal writing sample is also welcomed to illustrate the candidate’s background, views, or ideas.

Cover letters should communicate the applicant’s commitment to WELC’s mission and advocacy and their motivation to work in this position and public interest environmental law generally. Applicants are very strongly encouraged to tell us who they are as a human being, why they care about this work, and why they are interested in this position.

For more information about WELC, please visit

To apply for this job please visit

Background Image: American Rivers | Scott Bosse