Staff Attorney

Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy

Location: St. Paul

WHO WE ARE: The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy has been the leading legal and scientific voice for Minnesota’s environment since 1974. We work in the courts, regulatory agencies and at the legislature to defend clean water and to create a livable climate for our children. MCEA is a nonprofit that seeks to support its employees through a commitment to a living wage, a good benefits package, and opportunities for professional growth and development. We value equity and respect in the workplace.

To act as counsel and provide legal services to Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA). MCEA is the state’s leading public-interest environment and energy law firm. We advocate in state and federal courts, administrative proceedings, and at the legislature to protect and defend Minnesota’s environment and the health of its people. The Staff Attorney will litigate in state and federal courts and administrative agencies and provide legal advice to MCEA and other clients.  In addition, as appropriate, the Staff Attorney will assist with legislative advocacy, act as a liaison to outside pro bono counsel, law clerks, concerned citizens and other advocacy organizations, work with the Legal Committee of MCEA’s Board, and provide assistance to MCEA’s Chief Legal Officer.


  1. Works with Chief Legal Officer and program staff to serve MCEA’s legal needs, including analyzing potential cases, researching and developing legal strategies, litigating, and providing day to day legal advice.
  2. Represents MCEA and other client organizations in administrative and court actions.
  3. Engages in legislative and administrative advocacy, including reviewing proposed legislation and rules, meeting with legislators and agency staff, and providing written and oral testimony.
  4. Works independently and as member of project teams, assuming responsibility for project leadership as well as tasks as assigned. Exhibits superb work discipline, including planning and implementing strategic actions, meeting internal and external deadlines, using good time management and organizational skills, and meeting all professional obligations and office requirements. 
  5. In conjunction with the Director of Public Engagement, devises and implements appropriate media strategies for cases and other advocacy projects.
  6. Stays abreast of emerging trends in environmental law and significant environmental cases.
  7. Assists development staff as needed in communicating with funders.
  8. Works and communicates with the Legal Committee of MCEA’s Board of Directors as required by MCEA policy.


  1. Sound judgment with the ability to balance independent action with adequate communication to Chief Legal Officer and project team members.
  2. Good working relationship with MCEA staff, other clients, partners, outside counsel, and affected communities.
  3. Demonstrated awareness of and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations.
  4. Positive contribution to the creation of a diverse, equitable, inclusive team-oriented work environment that celebrates differences.
  5. Clear, logical, and focused analysis and synthesis of issues and ability to identify and implement strategies that are practically, and politically feasible.
  6. Creativity in addressing legal and policy problems and the ability to be reflective in assessing one’s own performance and growth. 
  7. Excellent writing ability.


  1. J.D. degree and license to practice law.  (Current member of MN bar, or ability to promptly gain admission by motion or exam, required.)
  2. At least two years of legal experience.  (Environment and/or energy law experience preferred.)
  3. Experience in litigation.
  4. Excellent writing and analytic skills.
  5. Commitment to public interest environmental advocacy and environmental justice.
  6. Commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace and culture that values differences.

MCEA strives to create a mission-focused work environment that is fair and inclusive. We offer a competitive non-profit salary, including excellent benefits. 

MCEA highly values diversity and is an equal opportunity employer.

Please send cover letter explaining qualifications and interest, résumé, law school transcript, writing sample and references to by Monday, March 9, 2020.
Position will remain open until filled.
Established in 1974, MCEA uses law, science, and research to protect Minnesota’s environment, its natural resources, and the health of its people.

MCEA envisions clean water, clean air, healthy ecosystems, a sustainable economy, and improved public health for all Minnesotans. We are committed to growing our capacity and impact to achieve measurable progress toward this vision.