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Climate Justice Lawyer (Remote)

Systemic Justice

Deadline 22.10.2023 €5,416/month (est.)

Systemic Justice is looking for a Climate Justice Lawyer (Remote)

Systemic Justice is looking for a colleague who can help build and run ground-breaking legal cases on climate justice with local communities fighting for racial, social, and economic justice in Europe.

Position type: Full-time (4 days per week, 32-hour work week)

Duration: 12 months with possibility of extension

Remuneration: 65.000 EUR annually

Location: Remote, based in Europe (CET time zone +/- two hours)

Please note: We encourage all potential applicants to review our Frequently Asked Questions prior to applying.

About the role

We are looking for a full-time Climate Justice Lawyer to join our legal team and be responsible for developing, coordinating, and conducting community-driven litigation projects on issues of climate justice within the Council of Europe.

The work involves handling all aspects of the litigation, in close collaboration with community partners and local lawyers, such as developing legal strategy and argumentation, coordinating legal research and evidence gathering, drafting filings, and preparing for hearings. The Climate Justice Lawyer would also have an instrumental role in guiding communities through this process, keeping them informed of developments and risks as they arise, and actioning the decisions they would like to take on the matter.

The Climate Justice Lawyer will work with the legal team to establish trust-based, equitable partnerships, and ways of collaborating with all community partners involved in litigation and will be responsible for handling their own casework. They will be the primary lawyer in their casework ensuring that the cases are managed and handled appropriately and in accordance with Systemic Justice’s community-driven litigation methodology. They will also manage relationships with local lawyers to ensure that communities are well-represented before national courts and that the case is being run in compliance with local rules.   

This is an exciting opportunity to build and run cases that are community-driven, and that are shaped by the movements and communities that are actively fighting for racial, social, and economic justice. You’ll build ground-breaking casework that is designed for impact and to push for change on communities’ own terms. Our work is rooted in our foundational values of anti-oppression, intersectionality, and justice. We are looking for someone who shares these values and for whom the prospect of operationalising these in our day-to-day legal work is an exciting prospect.

About Systemic Justice

Systemic Justice works to radically transform how the law works for communities fighting for racial, social, and economic justice. We are the first organisation in Europe that partners with communities on strategic litigation by taking a community-driven approach; that is Black-led; and has a majority BPOC team. We approach our work through an intersectional lens, and across the digital and non-digital context

Strategic litigation is a powerful tool that can be used alongside advocacy, campaigning, and policy work to help bring about systemic change. However, litigation is underutilised in movements working to address the structural inequalities in our society. Centring affected communities in joint litigation, Systemic Justice works to broaden access to judicial remedies for those fighting for justice and equality. This will help dismantle the power structures that underpin and fuel racial, social, and economic injustice.  

We work across three key areas to create and maintain the systems change that we need: building the power of organisations and movements fighting for justice and equality; launching community-driven litigation; and scaling impact by promoting equitable working models with the broader field of litigators.

What do we mean by Climate Justice?

Climate Justice is one of the thematic focus areas of Systemic Justice’s work, based on our community consultation process and the mapping of current litigation work in Europe. In this consultation process organisations, movements, and collectives working on racial, social, and economic justice identified climate justice as a priority area that is currently underserved by intersectional litigation work.

Climate Justice concerns issues at the intersection of the climate crisis and racial, social, and economic justice. It recognises that these struggles for justice are interconnected because the climate crisis and responses to it all too often reinforce existing forms of oppression. For example, marginalised communities are overly exposed to and are often placed in polluted or toxic environments, and they experience increased health costs as a direct consequence.

What you’ll do

Litigation project development

  • Ensure litigation is developed and run in a way that pushes for the changes that community partners working on racial, social, and economic justice want to see;

  • Build and maintain trust-based relationships with organisations, movements, and collectives working on climate justice, this can include ad hoc travel to meet with communities at key stages in the project development process;

  • Develop community-driven climate justice litigation strategies and plans with community partners in close collaboration with the Head of Legal and Systemic Justice’s Founder;

  • Recruit and manage a paralegal who will support with case work and legal administration (recruitment will be supported by the Head of Operations/HR and other colleagues);

  • Engage in community and partner knowledge sharing, making sure Systemic Justice community partners are resourced, informed, and supported to ensure sustained engagement in litigation projects;

  • Develop legal research projects that can support litigation project development and implementation;

  • Contribute to building and maintaining Systemic Justice's legal networks (such as pro-bono support, legal researchers, and local lawyer connections);

  • Support the further development and refinement of Systemic Justice’s community-driven litigation methodology based on learnings and feedback from the litigation projects.

Case management

  • Manage the running of Systemic Justice’s climate justice litigation projects, from opening and managing case files, filing, and structuring documents and data, to drafting, finalising, and overseeing version control of filings and submissions, and ensuring comprehensive documentation throughout the process;

  • Ensure case management and strategy development are carried out in a transparent, accessible, structured, and accountable way;

  • Investigate and evaluate potential legal options for communities, conduct legal research, and write legal memoranda, in collaboration with community partners, pro bono and/or local lawyers, and other key partners;

  • Ensure that community partners are well informed, supported, and engaged throughout the litigation process, and in a position to make all the key decisions in relation to the litigation, including through the holding of workshops and meetings to build the knowledge of community partners.

Building knowledge and power

  • Organise and participate in drop-in calls, workshops, and trainings to respond to the needs of organisations, movements, and collectives working on racial, social, and economic justice when it comes to the law and strategic litigation;

  • Support Systemic Justice’s work in designing and producing resources and tools on topics related to strategic litigation and how it can support communities working on racial, social, and economic justice, including through providing input, research and drafting support for such resources and tools, and collecting and implementing feedback from community partners;

  • Support the running of annual needs assessments to receive feedback on resources, tools, and activities such as workshops, trainings, and drop-in calls that organisations, movements, and collectives need when it comes to strategic litigation.

Institutional knowledge and collaboration

  • Participate in internal activities relevant to building legal knowledge within the Systemic Justice team around climate justice and strategic litigation;

  • Keep Systemic Justice team members informed on the progress of litigation projects, and where they can support this work;

  • Participate in internal activities relevant to building and delivering on Systemic Justice’s values, working principles, and organisational strategy (such as retreats, team meetings, etc.).

What we hope you’ll bring

  • Master’s degree in law in Europe (Council of Europe), preferably with a focus on human rights (including economic, social, and cultural rights) and/or environmental law;

  • Recent experience providing direct legal representation to individuals and handling or leading litigation in practice areas relevant to climate justice, such as just transition, loss and damage, framework litigation, discrimination and equality claims, restorative and reparative justice, and human rights claims. This means having professional experience of providing legal advice and direct legal representation in the context of contentious litigation, and providing comprehensive legal assistance including drafting, presenting oral arguments, conducting research and analysis, and managing all information relating to the matter;

  • Experience with and a demonstrated commitment to pushing for racial, social, and economic justice through the courts;

  • Excellent communication skills with a demonstrated ability to explain complex legal matters to a variety of audiences; experience in delivering and facilitating trainings and workshops will be considered an asset;

  • Strong interpersonal communication skills;

  • Ability to work cooperatively with people of all backgrounds;

  • Experience providing compassionate and trauma-informed legal representation;

  • Excellent legal research and writing skills.

  • Ability to meet deadlines while maintaining attention to detail;

  • Comfort navigating a startup non-profit, including the ability to manage multiple tasks effectively and to work well in a rapidly growing organisation;

  • Fluency in written and spoken English. Proficiency in another major European language will be considered an asset.

In addition to this, the successful candidate is highly organised, keen on taking initiative, and has an excellent eye for detail.

Deadline and how to apply

The deadline for applications is 22 October 2023 at 23.59 CEST.

We are organising an information call, where anyone interested in applying can join and learn more about our organisation, the role, and the process. The call will take place on 9 October at 19.00 CEST (click here to register).

We expect to do the first interview online and a second interview in person. We expect to be able to offer the position to the selected candidate by end of November for a start date as soon as possible.

Your application should consist of your CV, and – instead of a traditional cover letter – a written response to these three questions:

  • Tell us about a time when you worked on litigation that pushed for racial, social, and economic justice. What was your role in the case, what did you learn from the process, and what was achieved following the case?

  • What does strategic litigation mean to you, and what role has it played in your work so far?

  • If a community partner indicated that they wanted to “end environmental racism,” what would be your process for getting a clearer picture and deeper understanding of what they mean? How would you go about identifying potential litigation opportunities for the community partner?

Our work is rooted in our foundational values of anti-oppression, intersectionality, and justice. We invite anyone who does not have lived experience with systems of oppression to reflect on their suitability for this role before applying, and to address this as an introduction to their responses to the above questions if they choose to apply.


Period: 12 months with possibility of extension

Remuneration: 65.000 EUR annually

Location: Remote, in Europe (CET time zone +/- two hours). We are unfortunately not able to assist with work permits.

Contract and payroll: While Systemic Justice is registered in the Netherlands, our team is employed on local employment contracts in the jurisdictions they live and work via an employer of record service. Payroll is also run locally.

Staff meet-ups: Our team meets in person three times a year to discuss strategy, organisational development, team well-being, and more. In addition to this, individual team members meet bilaterally or in smaller groups when needed.

Work week: Systemic Justice operates with a four-day (Monday to Thursday), 32-hour work week.

Flexible schedules: We are generally online and available from 11-16 CET, but are otherwise flexible about working hours to accommodate the best individual balancing of personal and remote-work life. This role includes some travel depending on the needs of the communities we are working with.

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