Job Title: Bertha Justice Legal Fellow
Organisation: EarthRights International
Location: Washington, D.C., USA
Closing Date: 4 December 2020
Salary: US $55,000
Contract Type: Fixed Term
Working Pattern: Full Time
Sponsors international candidates? Yes
EarthRights International (EarthRights) is now seeking applications for the position of 2021-2023 U.S. Bertha Justice Fellow. This fellowship is supported by the generosity of the Bertha Foundation, whose “Be Just” initiative is intended to “train the next generation of social justice and movement lawyers by funding two-year Fellowships at the best public interest law centers around the world, where emerging lawyers receive practical training from renowned professionals.” The fellowship is geared toward attorneys with less than two years’ experience in public interest law.
Over the past 20 years, EarthRights has built a reputation as one of the leading legal organizations representing communities and individuals from around the world whose rights, livelihoods, and homelands are harmed by corporations, financial institutions, and governments. Our lawyers have worked closely with our clients, co-counsel, partner NGOs, campaigners, and others to bring groundbreaking lawsuits and pursue legal advocacy to provide remedies and ensure legal accountability. Our cases have set legal precedents, brought millions of dollars of compensation to survivors of human rights violations and industrial pollution, and changed the behavior of corporations and international institutions; a recent case, Jam v. International Finance Corporation, set important U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
The Bertha Justice Fellowship is an exciting opportunity to be part of a dynamic and cutting-edge legal team. Under the guidance and direction of the General Counsel, the Fellow will work with other EarthRights attorneys to develop and implement legal strategies to protect human rights and the environment. The Fellow will be based out of EarthRights’ Washington, DC office, but may work in coordination with legal staff in other country offices in Peru and Southeast Asia. Travel is possible as part of the fellowship, depending on the needs of EarthRights’ work. Because EarthRights is a nonprofit with limited resources, the Fellow may be expected to assist with shared administrative, development, and communications tasks as well. At times, the Fellow may be expected to work outside normal hours to complete projects and represent clients.
In addition to the experience provided through working as a member of the EarthRights legal team, the Fellows will gain experience as fully integrated members of our legal team while receiving substantive mentorship and training opportunities. Fellows will also have the opportunity to attend international meetings with other lawyers within the Bertha network.
Role and Responsibilities
Conduct legal research on U.S. law, international law, and other legal regimes.
Prepare legal memorandums, court briefs, and filings for U.S. and other legal systems.
Work in collaboration with partner NGOs and communities to assist in the development of legal and advocacy strategies.
Research new legal strategies to defend the human and environmental rights of frontline communities.
Communicate EarthRights’ work through web content and media contacts.
Conduct policy advocacy with the U.S. legislative and executive branches.
Responsibilities may also include
Travel domestically to attend court hearings and appear in court on behalf of clients.
Travel internationally to meet with individual rights-holders, communities, and NGOs.
Speak on behalf of EarthRights in various venues.
Collaborate on EarthRights publications and assist in EarthRights events.
Take initiative to develop and coordinate new projects.
Supervise law student interns on legal research projects.
Assist other EarthRights programs as needed, including shared administrative, development, and communications tasks.
Experience, Skills and Qualifications
A recent U.S. law degree and either admission to the bar of a U.S. state or an application in process
For foreign-trained lawyers, a U.S. LLM degree may qualify if the lawyer is admitted to a U.S. bar, or has an application in process, and is prepared to practice in the United States
A demonstrated commitment to using the U.S. legal system to serve frontline communities and/or to protect human rights and the environment
Fewer than two years’ post-law-school experience working in public interest law (excluding judicial clerkships)
Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work in teams
Strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
Proficiency in one or more languages other than English, especially Spanish as well as Burmese (Myanmar), Thai, Portuguese, French, and/or Chinese
A background in international human rights law, international environmental law, corporate accountability, and/or indigenous peoples’ rights
Experience in regional studies, development, environmental sciences, or other fields related to issues of human rights, environmental protection, and indigenous peoples
Experience with U.S. litigation
Knowledge and experience with regional and international legal mechanisms for the protection of human rights and the environment
Strong research and writing skills
Good judgment and initiative
By December 4, 2020, candidates should send an email with the subject line “U.S. Legal Fellow” to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following documents, in MS Word or PDF format, each attached separately. You must use the designated subject header, or your application may not be received:
Do not send a cover letter. Instead, send in a single document brief answers to the following questions, no more than 250 words each. Do not write your name anywhere on the document. In referring to any prior experiences or contacts, please do not identify your law school or any individual by name. Please write in single-spaced, 12-point Garamond font, with 1-inch margins.
Please share how your background and/or personal and professional experiences have shaped your most important values as a lawyer, and informed your decision to apply for this fellowship with EarthRights.
Which areas of EarthRights’ work would you most like to focus on during your fellowship? After the two-year fellowship, how would you see yourself working to advance the issues that you care about?
If you had the power, what one change in law or policy would you make in order to advance the issues that you care about, and why?
Resume or CV (no longer than 2 pages)
Transcript from U.S. law school (unofficial transcripts are okay). If there is anything on your transcript that you believe would benefit from further explanation, you may also submit an optional supplementary explanation (no more than 250 words).
Do not send references. These may be requested at a later point in the process.
Once your application has been submitted, please go to this link and fill out the demographic survey questions: https://forms.gle/BqqSc8e1GW2jD87F7
This information will not be linked to your individual application in any way, but helps EarthRights evaluate our efforts at recruiting a diverse set of applicants.
We will acknowledge applications received, and will contact those candidates selected for the interview stage by mid-December or early January. Interviews will be conducted in January. Due to the volume of applications, not all applicants will receive an interview. Additional materials may be requested at later points in the process. It is our intention to make initial offers by late February.
More about EarthRights International here. Please be sure to indicate that you saw this position via WIAN.