Senior Lawyer – Climate and Nature Litigation – Remote Working
We are seeking to hire an ambitious and passionate litigator to join The Lifescape Project and to play an integral role in managing and delivering our growing climate and nature litigation work.
About The Lifescape Project
The Lifescape Project is a small but growing charity which undertakes projects that protect and restore wild landscapes, helping to provide a future for all life on earth. We focus on projects looking at new ways to solve complex environmental problems, bringing together the skills and expertise of a multi-disciplinary team. Our projects focus on leveraging the skills and expertise of specialists across five disciplines: science, law, economics, technology and culture.
The Lifescape Project is a registered charity with a board of eight trustees from diverse professional backgrounds, twelve employee team members, a varying number of part and full-time placement students/interns, numerous contractors delivering specialist services, and a large number of volunteers providing their professional skills pro bono. Lifescape has multiple ongoing projects seeking to restore and protect wild landscapes by combining its five core disciplines. You can read more about our project work here and hear our Managing Lawyer, Elsie Blackshaw-Crosby, talk to the UK Environmental Law Association about some of our legal work here.
Job purpose and key responsibilities
The successful candidate will have day to day responsibility for our global litigation work alongside and under the supervision of Elsie Blackshaw-Crosby our Managing Lawyer, who leads our overall legal programme work. The successful candidate will therefore have experience of managing litigation in the UK and/or EU.
The successful candidate will be in an exciting position of joining our team as we develop and aim to expand our work on our two litigation programmes, with the intention that they will help shape their future direction and take on increased management responsibility as the team grows.
Through the Forest Litigation Collaborative (FLC) we use litigation and quasi-legal actions to protect forest ecosystems, including combating the rise of forest biomass energy and its wrongful treatment as a ‘zero-carbon’ energy source. This involves collaborating with local NGOs and lawyers across the globe, whilst engaging in legal thinking spanning policy, public law, corporate law, consumer law and other areas, in order to develop and execute the most effective strategy possible.
In the UK, the FLC is pursuing an OECD complaint against Drax Group plc for greenwashing and we have various significant regulatory and legal challenges in the pipeline. In the EU, the FLC is leading a group of NGOs from across the EU in an annulment action against the European Commission which seeks to block forest bioenergy and forestry projects from inclusion under the Sustainable Finance Taxonomy. These are just two examples of our several ongoing cases.
The successful candidate will work closely with our Managing Lawyer to manage much of the day to day work on these important challenges and be actively involved in developing our FLC strategy. This will involve:
- working closely with our FLC partners and Elsie to devise impactful litigation strategies;
- general case management of our legal challenges including instructing, managing and working closely with external counsel and managing other NGOs involved in legal actions;
- detailed legal research to build case theories in the UK and EU;
- substantive legal drafting of pre-action correspondence and pleadings etc;
- critically analysing legislative and policy proposals relevant to the FLC and drafting associated responses to government consultations as well as technical reports giving guidance to NGOs on their correct application, etc;
- working with other NGOs to keep up to date with developments which may impact our work and identify opportunities to use litigation to tackle our core issues.
Our Litigation for Nature project uses litigation to protect wild ecosystems or components thereof, while simultaneously promoting the restoration of these wild ecosystems where they no longer exist or are in a poor state. Successes to date include a judicial review of beaver culling licensing in Scotland and halting unlawful developments in strategically important protected areas. Continuing to fight against systemic threats to keystone species is an important focus and the successful candidate will lead on developing our overall Litigation for Nature strategy.
The successful candidate will have day to day responsibility for managing our Litigation for Nature programme with close support from Elsie. This will involve similar responsibilities as described above for the Forest Litigation Collaborative project.
The successful candidate will also assist in developing overall litigation strategy/direction, identifying and pursuing funding opportunities, and will take an active role in developing and implementing communication strategies to publicise the projects in which they are involved.
This job description is not exhaustive and the selected candidate will be required to undertake other relevant tasks including providing legal input where relevant on some of our non-legal projects.
The position will be line-managed by Elsie Blackshaw-Crosby who leads Lifescape’s overall legal programmes, and will work closely with her, including at times alongside our CEO. The lawyer will also have a close working relationship with Mary Booth at Partnership for Policy Integrity, who co-founded the FLC.
The lawyer will have key relationships with Lifescape’s other employees, volunteers, interns, and pro bono professional advisers across a range of legal and non-legal projects. This includes line management of a trainee lawyer seconded from Clifford Chance. If we continue to expand as planned, our intention is to promote this role to Managing Lawyer of our litigation work which will involve the management of junior lawyers joining the litigation team in the future. Any such promotion would of course be subject to finding the right candidate and the candidate’s performance allowing the promotion.
The Lawyer will work closely with other environmental organisations collaborating with us on our projects.
This position will be remote-working and will involve some UK and international travel. The full team gets together in person at least three times a year and the nature of the work means that we are in very regular contact on Teams etc, ensuring a strong connection amongst the team.
Applicants resident in the UK and the EU in time zones +/- 3 hours GMT with appropriate qualifications and experience will be considered. Salary and benefits will be adjusted according to country of residence based on cost of living and cost of employment.
Education and training
- Law degree (essential)
- Legal professional qualification in UK or EU law (essential)
- 4+ years’ experience practicing as a litigation lawyer in the UK or EU (highly desirable)
Experience and knowledge
- Experience in litigation in the UK or EU (essential);
- Sound understanding of international and national environmental law, particularly in the UK or EU (highly desirable);
- Experience and understanding of how EU law is developed and the functioning of EU-level bureaucracy (desirable);
- Public law experience, including judicial review (desirable);
- Consumer protection law experience (desirable);
- Experience in laws relating to financial regulation (desirable);
- Experience in energy law (desirable);
- Experience in working with industry regulators and wider regulatory laws (desirable);
- Experience managing highly skilled individuals and teams including external counsel (highly desirable);
- Experience working with civil society organisations (desirable); and
- Knowledge of legal systems of multiple countries (desirable).
Note: we welcome applications from lawyers at commercial law firms wanting to move to the charity sector, including those who may not have public law experience.
The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate all of the following competencies (all essential):
- Passion and commitment to combatting biodiversity loss and climate disaster;
- Fluent English/at CEFR Level C2;
- Outstanding written and oral communication skills;
- Ability to manage a team or individuals to meet project goals;
- Demonstrated rigorous legal analysis and drafting skills;
- Flexibility in switching between numerous and complex tasks and ability to prioritise tasks;
- Willingness and ability to take on significant responsibility and manage teams of professionally qualified advisors and volunteers;
- Ability to work collaboratively within a team but also to execute work independently and take the initiative when appropriate;
- Ability to speak on behalf of Lifescape at official meetings, stakeholder forums and other relevant public events;
- Ability to convey to a lay audience complex legal and procedural issues while getting Lifescape’s core messages through;
- Commitment to non-profit/public interest advocacy; and
- Ability to build productive working relationships and collaborative partnerships with civil society and national civil servants, politicians, academics and other key players in environmental law.
Salary and benefits
- Full time and permanent position with a salary of £40,000-43,000 per annum depending on experience.
- Flexible working is welcome and can be agreed with the successful candidate, as can temporary international remote work outside country of residence.
- Benefits including 36 days of annual leave (28 not including public holidays), additional wildlife exploration/engagement leave of 2 days p.a., expenses paid annual Lifescape retreat and two in person staff meetings per year, full pension, remote work and training budgets, and provision of computing equipment.
To apply, please email a cover letter and CV (each a maximum of 2 pages) to email@example.com. The first round of applicants will be considered from 20 November 2023. The role will commence as soon as possible.