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Environmental Justice Law Fellow (CEI Program)


WHO WE ARE: Founded in 1966, CRLA’s mission is to fight for justice and individual rights alongside the most exploited communities of our society. CRLA provides legal services to over 42,000 low-income people annually through a network of regional offices and cross-cutting programs. The Community Equity Initiative (CEI) program addresses environmental justice issues in some of California’s most underinvested communities. 

Position: CEI EJ Fellow

Experience: Law Graduates, 0-3 years of experience
Application Deadline: Open until filled
Location: Modesto or Fresno Office
Term of Employment:Temporary (Long Term), Full-Time
Other: FLSA Exempt, Union Position

Position Description:

CEI utilizes a community lawyering model to address environmental justice issues in disadvantaged communities.  The model calls for creative, innovative advocacy that uses a multipronged approach to address the issues and their systemic roots.  Approaches such as community leadership development and advocacy around policies are important to the work as traditional legal advocacy.  The CEI EJ Fellow should be creative and willing to partner with community residents to address the issues and their underlying causes.


The CEI program covers a wide array of legal areas ranging from access to services such as water and broadband to the inequitable distribution of resources and citing of hazardous land uses. CEI’s client communities are Disadvantaged Unincorporated Communities (DUCs) that suffer the consequences of historic underinvestment and discriminatory policies.  They bear the burden of unjust and inequitable conditions and decisions. 


The CEI Fellow will work with the Legal Program Director and staff to develop and implement creative advocacy strategies to address community-identified environmental justice issues in the San Joaquin Valley, particularly in DUCs. Primary responsibilities include legal advocacy/litigation support, factual research, community outreach, education, community leadership development, and analysis of pending policies.

Essential Responsibilities/Duties:

  • Provide legal services (advice, negotiation, litigation & administrative advocacy) to low-income client communities in accordance with program priorities and case handling policies.
  • Take on significant statewide impact activity, including group litigation.
  • Monitor and attend governmental hearings and other public meetings.
  • Advocate in legislative, administrative, and regulatory forums, as permissible.
  • Develop community leadership and support community residents’ capacity to participate in public decision-making.
  • Develop and implement community-specific strategies in client communities.
  • Prepare and provide community education regarding legal rights.
  • Coordinate advocacy in substantive areas through collaboration with other organizations, communities, and advocacy groups.
  • Raise awareness of successes and challenges facing DUCs through media, presentations, and participation in issue- and community-based coalitions.
  • Work with and supervise the work product of Community Workers and Support Staff relating to all clients being advised or represented.
  • Develop specialized knowledge in a substantive area of environmental justice and community leadership development and act as a resource for other CRLA staff.
  • Participate in training programs, case reviews, staff meetings, and other CRLA activities.
  • Collaborate with members of the private bar as necessary.
  • Maintain contemporaneous time records in the case management system.
  • Maintain great working relationship with staff.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Required Education and Experience:

  • Demonstrated commitment to working with low-income clients.
  • Demonstrated commitment to environmental justice.
  • Admitted to practice law before the court of any state.
  • Admitted to practice law in the State of CA or willing to take the next CA Bar Exam.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication.
  • Ability to manage a caseload with minimal supervision.
  • Good people skills and the ability to maintain positive relations with a diverse population.
  • Willingness to work some evenings and weekends, and to travel regionally.


Preferred Education and Experience:

A highly qualified and desirable candidate would also have the following:

  • Experience with issues related to the environment, local governance, land use, planning, leadership development, or civil rights.
  • Experience working with low-income families and communities.
  • Experience in a non-profit legal services environment.
  • Bilingual (English & Spanish)

This job description is not designed to contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required for this job. Duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice.

Compensation & Benefits:

Based on a competitive public interest union salary scale; generous benefits package includes Medical, Dental, Vision, Disability, Life Insurance, and 401K retirement plan contribution. Fourteen (14) paid Holidays, generous vacation and sick leave policy, some professional dues paid by CRLA, and if qualified - participation in the School Loan Reimbursement Assistance Program (LRAP).

To Apply: 

CRLA invites all applicants to include in their cover letter a statement about how their unique background and/or experiences might contribute to the diversity, cultural vitality, and perspective of our staff and legal services practice.

 Click Here to Apply 


Submission Deadline: 
November 29, 2021
Organization Information: 
California Rural Legal Assistance
1020 15th St
Modesto, CA 95354
United States