Location: Based in Canberra

Position: Full-time

Salary: Commensurate with experience

The opportunity:

The Environmental Defenders Office has an exciting opportunity for an experienced lawyer to join our team and lead our organisation’s legal service delivery in the Australian Capital Territory.

Applications close 12pm, Friday 9 October 2020.

Candidate profile:

We’re looking for an experienced lawyer passionate about working in the public interest during this decade of consequence. We are looking for someone who can not only oversee and take on the ACT’s public interest planning and environment practice, but also a lawyer with a vision for how to deliver access to justice to vulnerable members of the ACT community and First Nations people. You will need to be enthusiastic, flexible, take initiative and have the maturity to build a small local team. At a personal level you will be comfortable working with our distributed team across Australia.

Your experience/background:

  • 7years PAE, 5+ years PAE will be considered, including litigation and advisory experience.
  • Experience in environmental law or related disciplines, including administrative or human rights law
  • Experience working with First Nations people desirable
  • Keen to learn and make a difference in our changing environment.
  • Experience managing a team and working with a range of colleagues with varying levels of experience.
  • Ability to manage a small office, including applying for, administering and reporting on grants.


  • The chance to shape EDO’s practice in the ACT
  • A flexible and family-friendly workplace.
  • Extra leave over the Christmas period. 
  • 15 personal days per year
  • Ongoing professional development opportunities, including media training, as required. 

Key selection criteria:

Substantive skills and experience

  • 7 years PAE working as a lawyer preferred, outstanding applicants with 5+ PAE will be considered
  • Candidates must have, or be entitled to, an unrestricted practicing certificate in the ACT.
  • A strong understanding of environmental law and/or related disciplines including administrative law and human rights law. Knowledge of /experience with the ACT legal system highly desirable.
  • Demonstrated litigation experience, including the capacity to independently supervise and have carriage of legal proceedings
  • Demonstrated law reform, policy or academic experience or demonstrated understanding of the capacity of law reform to achieve systemic change
  • Demonstrated experience working with Aboriginal people and diverse communities and individuals highly desirable

Personal qualities

  • A champion of EDO Values
  • Ability to maintain and develop relationships with key stakeholders including within government, the community and legal profession.
  • Experience in staff supervision and mentoring of other lawyers, and emotional intelligence.
  • Ability to engage non-legal audiences to help them interpret and understand our goals.
  • Ability to work in a collaborative and distributed team environment.
  • Demonstrated awareness of and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds and orientations in both the delivery of our work and our internal culture.

About us:

We are a national, public interest environmental law organisation, the largest in Australia Pacific. Over our 30-year history we’ve developed a formidable track record of empowering communities and delivering effective protection of the environment through legal services.

With the 8 Environmental Defenders Offices around Australia merging in late 2019, we are now entering a period of substantial growth necessary to meet the growing demands of the public for public interest legal services to address environmental and public health issues such as climate change.

Our Values:

Commitment – We are committed to; a united organisation, to each other, to collaboration, to justice, to our communities and to creating a world where nature thrives.

Diversity – We are respectful of and welcome diversity of; staff, volunteers, offices, environmental regions, communities, stakeholders.

Integrity – We work effectively, efficiently, strategically, professionally and ethically; “justice is in our nature”.

Visionary – We lead change and environmental empowerment using innovation, creativity, and courage.

How to Apply

Applications should be submitted via email to [email protected] with ‘Application for position of Managing Lawyer ACT’ in the subject line.

Applications must include a CV and a letter that clearly addresses each of the selection criteria. Applications which do not address the selection criteria will not be considered.

For further information, contact Nicole Sommer, Director, on 0437284909 or via email at [email protected].

Applications close 12pm, Friday 9 October 2020.