fbpx Job opening: Staff attorney | Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy

POSITION TITLE: Staff Attorney

ACCOUNT TO: Supervising Attorney

JOB STATUS: Full-Time Exempt

LOCATION: 1919 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55104

CLOSING DATE: Open until filled, with a preference for applications received before July 21, 2023.



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.

Our staff of lawyers and advocates work in the courts, with administrative agencies, and at the legislature to enact, strengthen, and enforce smart environmental laws. We currently work across four different program areas: Water, Climate, Northeastern Minnesota, and Healthy Communities.

At MCEA we respect the individual strengths, views, and experiences of all employees and understand that we thrive in our differences. We are committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in our culture, policy, and practice.



MCEA, the state’s leading public-interest environment and energy law firm seeks an attorney with a minimum of 4 years of experience to join our team of powerful, mission-driven, in-house litigators. The Staff Attorney will litigate in state and federal courts and administrative agencies and provide legal advice to MCEA and other clients. Interest and experience in energy law, especially practice before the Public Utilities Commission, is preferred for this position. In addition to litigation, the Staff Attorney, as appropriate, will assist with legislative and administrative advocacy, coordinate with 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 leadership and development staff.



  1. Works with Supervising Attorney and program staff to serve MCEA’s legal needs, including analyzing potential cases, researching and developing legal strategies, litigating, identifying experts and developing expert reports, 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 comments/testimony.
  4. Works independently and as a 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. Researches and develops strategies to leverage developing caselaw and new legislation to pursue unique legal theories to help protect Minnesota’s environment and the health of its people.
  6. Leads and participates in meetings with advocacy groups, government agencies, and academic scholars to deepen MCEA’s knowledge about emerging environmental issues.
  7. In conjunction with the communications staff, devises and implements appropriate media strategies for cases and other advocacy projects.
  8. Stays abreast of emerging trends in environmental law and significant environmental cases.
  9. Staff attorneys do not have any direct reports, but are expected to provide leadership, direction, and mentoring to law clinic students, law clerks, and other interns. 
  10. Assists development staff as needed in communicating with funders.
  11. Works and communicates with the Legal Committee of MCEA’s Board of Directors as required by MCEA policy.



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



  • J.D. degree and license to practice law.  (Admission to MN bar or ability to take February 2024 exam required.)
  • Four or more years of post-JD legal experience. (Experience in energy law and practice before the PUC preferred.)
  • Experience in litigation.
  • Excellent writing and analytic skills.
  • Commitment to public interest environmental advocacy and environmental justice.
  • Commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace and culture that values differences.


Salary & Benefits:

MCEA strives to create a mission-focused work environment that is equitable and inclusive. MCEA highly values diversity and is an equal opportunity employer. We are proud to support our employees through a range of strategies, including generous benefits for employees and dependents, paid family leave, and others. Salary range for this position is $79,000 – $85,000.

MCEA currently has a hybrid work agreement with all employees. Each month there are required in-person meetings.

We believe everyone deserves consideration, regardless of where you went to school, where you grew up, and what opportunities you’ve had in the past. MCEA is an equal opportunity employer.



Please send cover letter explaining qualifications and interest, résumé, law school transcript, writing sample and references to HR@mncenter.org by Friday, July 21, 2023. Position will remain open until filled, with a preference for applications received before July 21, 2023.