WPLC is seeking to hire a movement-inspired staff attorney for our Albuquerque, New Mexico Office. Please see our posting below and send the required documents to director@waterprotectorlegal.org no later than May 30, 2020.

Water Protector Legal Collective

Water Protector Legal Collective is an independent Indigenous-led nonprofit that provides legal support, advocacy, and knowledge sharing for Indigenous centered and guided environmental and climate justice movements. WPLC was the on-the-ground legal team that provided criminal defense and offense for more than 800 water protectors arrested resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, and remained on site in North Dakota until 2019 to see these criminal cases through. In fall 2019 we relocated our office to Albuquerque, New Mexico and have been involved in legal trainings, and international human rights advocacy for Indigenous struggles from northern Canada to the Mexico border.

The staff attorney position is based in Albuquerque and requires extensive travel. The staff attorney will work in close coordination with the WPLC staff, board, volunteers, and movement partners to expand WPLC’s legal program.

The staff attorney will help do outreach to Indigenous movements and peoples across Turtle Island to assess legal needs, develop and present legal trainings, for example in legal self-defense; intervening in the permit process; legal observation and documenting human rights violations; and more. The staff attorney may help create systems for legal support and mass defense of particular movements. They will help document human rights and civil rights violations, and provide legal research. Depending on experience level and movement needs, the staff attorney may provide advocacy and direct representation of water and land protectors and human rights defenders and/or recruit, coordinate and support cooperating attorneys in doing so.

The staff attorney will recruit and supervise interns, law clerks and legal worker volunteers, and help provide training and support for them.

The staff attorney will also work with other staff to increase awareness of WPLC, developments and outcomes of legal cases, and advocate to defend the earth and advance Indigenous sovereignty. Along with the directors, they will be expected to do public speaking on behalf of the organization.

Law office management responsibilities include participating in staff meetings, facilitating decision-making among legal staff, and where direct representation is undertaken, maintaining accurate case files, monitoring the status of cases, and implementing and utilizing appropriate technological tools and protocols that ensure the office remains in compliance with the ethical rules governing client confidentiality.

WPLC is committed to investing in the education and training of the right candidate, and will work to provide opportunities for learning and professional development wherever possible.

Requirements: Attorney licensed or eligible for reciprocal admission in New Mexico (NM shares reciprocal admission with thirty-six states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands); or eligible for and willing to take the New Mexico bar exam. Cultural competency and experience working with Indigenous peoples. Commitment to the mission and vision of WPLC.
Preferred: Experience in criminal defense, mass defense, civil rights, impact litigation, environmental law and/or federal Indian law.

Salary and benefits: This is a full-time, exempt position with a salary of $65,000 – 75,000 per year DOE. Benefits currently include health insurance and generous vacation and leave policy.

To apply: Submit a resume or cv, writing sample, cover letter explaining our interest and qualifications for the position, and three references to: director@waterprotectorlegal.org