• Senior Solicitor / Special Counsel – International Program 
  • Location: Australia wide 
  • Term: 12 months with possible extension 
  • Full-time (Part time at 0.8 FTE will be considered) 
  • Remuneration: SCHADS Level 6-8: FTE $94-109k + 10% super + 17.5% Annual Leave Loading 
  • Pacific Island peoples are particularly encouraged to apply 
  • Reporting to: Manager, International Program 

Read the position description:

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. 

The opportunity

We have a rare opportunity for a tenacious and ambitious litigator to work strategically with international and regional players to take on some of the biggest environmental issues facing our Pacific Island partners:  illegal logging, unsustainable mining, deep seabed mining and climate change. 

The role is a Senior Solicitor or Special Counsel position (depending on experience) with our International Program. Our International Program operates at the critical intersection of indigenous rights, human rights and environmental protection. We centre indigenous perspectives in the work that we do.  

Our International Program is focused on strengthening public interest environmental law in the Pacific, particularly in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji. This involves working hand in hand with lawyers in the Pacific to run cases in local courts, analyse policy and law, and conduct community outreach training. It also requires collaborating with international donors, environmental lawyers, journalists and human rights organisations to maximise the impact of our work.  

The position is initially a 12-month contract position with the possibility of extension depending on funding. It is a full-time position but proposals to work part time will be considered.  The initial focus of this role will be to accelerate progress in respect of our forestry litigation work.  

Potential applicants are encouraged to obtain further information on the work of EDO from our website Our work – Environmental Defenders Office (edo.org.au)

Candidate profile

We are looking for an independent and strategic thinker, a skilled communicator and experienced litigator, and someone who can demonstrate an ability to think outside the box and deliver effective results for partners and clients. At a personal level you will be comfortable working with diverse communities, and in remote and isolated areas. You will have resilience, tenacity, and compassion. 

You will have the ability to lead a small team and work collaboratively with solicitors and partners across Australia, the Pacific and internationally. You will have strong relationship building skills and be confident in developing trusted relationships with a diverse range of clients and other stakeholders, including government, partner organisations and media. 

Ideally you should be of Pacific Island heritage or have a strong connection and understanding of the Pacific Islands.  

Selection criteria


  • 5 years (Senior Solicitor) or 8 years (Special Counsel) post admission litigation experience, with at least 2 years practicing in environmental law, human rights law, administrative law, civil enforcement and/or criminal enforcement.  Pacific Island applicants with extensive litigation experience but who do not meet the post admission requirement are still encouraged to apply.
  • An unrestricted practising certificate in an Australian jurisdiction and/or Papua New Guinea, or the ability to obtain practising certificates in these jurisdictions 
  • Cross cultural competency and/or experience, in particular experience working with indigenous organisations
  • Ability and willingness to travel internationally 
  • The ability to work with limited supervision on advice and casework, including litigation 
  • Experience in supervising and mentoring legal staff 
  • Capacity to develop own practice 
  • Demonstrated ability to work productively and to deadlines 
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain good relationships with clients and partners 
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including an ability to communicate clearly in plain English 
  • Commitment to the protection of the environment and public interest environmental law  


  • Understanding of policy and law reform and community outreach issues and ability to undertake related work 
  • Experience in program management, including fundraising and donor management, budgeting, contract drafting and negotiation 

Personal qualities and cultural competency 

  • A champion of the agreed values of the EDO 
  • Personal leadership, tenacity, and resilience 
  • Demonstrated ability to drive program development, strong initiative, and self-motivation 
  • A strong sense of ethics and understanding of professional obligations 
  • Demonstrated ability to bring out the best in others and mentor other lawyers, and high emotional intelligence 
  • The ability to give and receive regular formal and informal feedback in a timely, constructive, respectful, and consistent manner 
  • 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 
  • An ability to engage non-legal audiences to help them interpret and understand our goals 
  • 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) Committee 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 are 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 particularly encourages applications from Pacific Island people, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, workers of all ages, people living 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 on Tuesday, 8 March 2022. Applications should be emailed to [email protected] with “Application for position of Senior Solicitor – International Program” in the subject line.