• Location: Australia-wide offices under our flexible working arrangements. Our list of office locations.
  • Term: 12 months (with possible extension)
  • Full time: 37.5 hours per week (0.8 considered)
  • Remuneration: SCHADS Level 6-8 FTE $94-110K + 10% super + 17.5% Annual Leave Loading
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are particularly encouraged to apply

Job title: Senior Solicitor/Special Counsel – Freshwater

Reporting to: Managing Lawyer – Safe Climate – Nature

This is a unique opportunity for a talented and experienced solicitor to join the EDO Nature team to advance flagship litigation and advice work for nature across Australia.

Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) is the largest environmental legal centre in the Australia-Pacific, dedicated to protecting our climate, communities and shared environment by providing access to justice, running ground-breaking litigation and leading law reform advocacy.

As the region’s legal experts in our field, we aim to be a brave, unified, and focused team, committed to inclusion and excellence in all that we do. We strive to be a diverse and inclusive workplace supporting a highly skilled, engaged, and effective team, where everyone can feel that they belong.

Download the position description:

The opportunity

We are recruiting for a Senior Solicitor or Special Counsel to join the Nature team within our Systemic Change Program.  The Nature team consists of two practice areas, both with a national focus – Freshwater and Biodiversity.  

While the role will centre on leading litigation and advice on Freshwater matters, it will also involve working on Biodiversity matters.  EDO’s legal engagement on water issues facing Australia is trailblazing and a point of distinction with other legal organisations.

The Senior Solicitor / Special Counsel role will allow you to think creatively about delivering systemic change for improved nature protection across Australia.  This currently includes a focus on water resources in the Murray-Darling Basin, Aboriginal peoples’ cultural rights to water, and preservation of native forests.

The role may be based anywhere in Australia, but will require travel as necessary for court and other engagements.

Candidate profile

You will have extensive PAE working as a senior lawyer, ideally in environmental law, with the confidence and experience to successfully manage complex litigation and associated teams. You will have initiative and the ability to work independently at a high level of responsibility, with minimal supervision, and will exercise delegated authority with excellent critical judgment.

Lawyers who think outside the box and want a chance to think creatively about delivering systemic change for the environment and our diverse client base, including Aboriginal groups, are strongly encouraged to apply.

Key selection criteria

Core skills

  • An unrestricted practicing certificate or entitlement to one
  • A minimum of 5 years PAE working as a solicitor
  • 8 + years PAE highly desirable
  • For Special Counsel, supervisory skills and development of legal and non-legal staff, as well as managing a wide range of matters
  • Strong problem-solving skills and ability to make sound judgments and decisions under pressure, based on consideration of different views
  • Expertise in environmental law – water and forestry law particularly desired
  • Knowledge of policy and scientific issues associated with freshwater and/or biodiversity desired
  • Demonstrated ability to work productively and to deadlines
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills suited to a range of audiences

Substantive experience

  • Demonstrated extensive litigation experience with high level and complex matters in administrative or environmental law and/or related disciplines
  • Demonstrated experience in supervising legal staff in delivering on advice and litigation work, including responsibility for reviewing and approving court documents and associated work
  • Capacity to undertake law reform or policy, experience desirable
  • Demonstrated experience working collaboratively with diverse communities and individuals highly desirable

Personal qualities and cultural competency

  • A champion of the agreed values of the EDO
  • Strong initiative and self-motivation
  • Commitment to the protection of the environment and public participation in environmental decision-making
  • A strong sense of ethics and understanding of professional obligations
  • 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
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a collaborative and team-based environment.

Our culture and benefits

  • We care deeply about creating a workplace where our team members feel valued, respected and empowered. We are committed to providing equal opportunity regardless of gender identity, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or life stage. 
  • The chance to be part of the largest environmental legal practice in the Australia-Pacific. 
  • A very flexible and family-friendly workplace. 
  • Option to work from home and the office. 
  • Paid Parental Leave. 
  • 15 Days Personal/carer’s leave. 
  • Extra leave over the Christmas period. 
  • Access to EAP. 
  • Ongoing professional development opportunities. 
  • EDO proudly has a JEDI (Justice, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion), and a Mental Health Ambassador Committee, and is developing a First Nations Indigenous Peoples Program with the aid of indigenous-led consultancies. 

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”. 

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

How to apply

All offers of employment may be subject to satisfactory background checks including a National Police Check, disclosure of previous or current disciplinary action, referee checks, proof of eligibility to work in Australia and qualification checks.

EDO welcome applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, workers of all ages, people with disabilities and people who identify as LGBTQIA+.

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.

Applications close at midday on Monday 6 June 2022 and are to be forwarded to [email protected] with ‘Application for position of Senior Solicitor / Special Counsel – Freshwater’.