San Diego Coastkeeper is seeking a staff attorney to join our team.  Founded in 1995, San Diego Coastkeeper protects and restores fishable, swimmable, drinkable waters throughout San Diego County through legal and policy advocacy, science, education, and community outreach.  The attorney selected for this position will focus on policy advocacy and litigation in our efforts to protect, enhance, and restore San Diego’s waterbodies and water resources. This is a full-time, exempt position reporting to the Executive Director, who is also an attorney.


  • Conduct detailed research and draft comment letters and petitions for review on policies, permits, and regulations related to water quality and water supply issues and represent San Diego Coastkeeper at administrative agency hearings and other meetings and advocacy events.
  • Conduct factual investigations and develop legal theories for possible advocacy or litigation work, draft Clean Water Act notices of intent to file citizen lawsuit, pleadings and briefs, interview witnesses and draft declarations, and otherwise manage new and existing cases in state or federal courts and administrative tribunals.
  • Assist in managing relationships with co-counsel, experts, and coalition partners.
  • Supervise the work of sample teams and legal interns, as applicable, who are part of San Diego Coastkeeper’s litigation and advocacy team.
  • Working with the Executive Director, develop legal and policy strategies to support and advance San Diego Coastkeeper’s mission.
  • Organizational support for legal and policy work, including: contributing to organizational communications in writing and in person; attending regular staff meetings and organizational functions; and assisting development staff with identification of funding opportunities, grant writing, and reporting.


  • Applicants must be law school graduates, with admission to the California bar or sitting for the February 2018 bar exam.
  • 1-3 years of litigation and policy advocacy experience preferred.
  • Experience in administrative and pre-trial proceedings (e.g., regulatory comments, discovery, including document production and preparation of fact and expert witnesses, motion practice); evidentiary hearings; and appellate litigation preferred.
  • Superb research, analysis, writing, and oral advocacy skills.
  • Initiative, good judgment, and a strong work ethic.
  • A commitment to public interest environmental work and a passion for San Diego Coastkeeper’s mission.
  • Ability to work both independently and in collaboration with others.
  • Knowledge of the Clean Water Act is preferred.
  • Knowledge of water supply issues, in particular as related to Southern California, is preferred.
  • Prior experience with third-party citizen lawsuits is desirable.

Equal Employment Opportunity  

San Diego Coastkeeper is an equal opportunity employer, highly values diversity, and provides advancement opportunities to everyone. Employment decisions are based on merit, qualifications and ability. Compensation commensurate with experience.  Benefits include health, dental, and vision insurance, paid time off, and a great team of co-workers.  Some evening and weekend availability is required.


If you are interested in and qualified for this position, please send your résumé and a cover letter to [email protected], subject line “YOUR LAST NAME, Staff Attorney.” If your materials indicate a potential match for our requirements, we will contact you. Please, no phone calls or emails to the office regarding this opening. Position open until filled.