Law Clerk

San Francisco Bay Keeper

San Francisco Bay Keeper

San Francisco, CA, USA
Posted on Friday, September 13, 2019

Baykeeper defends San Francisco Bay from the biggest threats and holds polluters accountable. For more than 30 years, using science, policy, and law, we’ve achieved 290 legal victories to stop pollution from industrial facilities, reduced sewage spills to the Bay by 75% from 10 cities, passed new state laws to keep fossil fuel pollution out of the Bay, and strengthened local regulation of toxic pollutants like mercury and selenium to protect the Bay’s wildlife and residents. Press coverage has called Baykeeper "one of the region's most active and most effective defenders of the marine environment."

The following positions are currently available at San Francisco Baykeeper:

Associate Attorney

The Position

Baykeeper is seeking an attorney to join our team working on high-impact legal advocacy and environmental enforcement. Baykeeper’s legal team works on a docket of 10-15 cases, using the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, California Fish and Game Code, the Public Trust Doctrine, and other state and federal laws, to achieve concrete legal justice for the Bay’s watershed and the surrounding communities that rely on clean water and healthy ecosystems.

The Associate Attorney will work collaboratively with our staff of scientists, attorneys, and our outside partners to strengthen water quality policies through advocacy and litigation. Specifically, the Associate Attorney will work on matters related to freshwater flows to protect the health of communities and ecosystems, restore native fish in the Bay and its watershed, and support our legal and investigation teams on industrial and municipal pollution enforcement, among other water quality issues.

Essential responsibilities include:

  • Support legal advocacy and litigation to improve freshwater flows into San Francisco Bay and protect water quality and fish for healthy fisheries and communities.
  • Support legal advocacy and litigation to strengthen and enforce water quality laws and regulations against industrial, municipal, and other polluters for a more resilient Bay and Bay Area communities.
  • Conduct legal research and policy analysis to support Baykeeper’s mission and fulfill program priorities.
  • Advocate in meetings and hearings before regulatory agencies and local officials.
  • Collaborate closely with science staff, work with the legal team (currently comprised of our Managing Attorney, two Staff Attorneys, and an experienced legal volunteer), and coordinate with outside counsel representing Baykeeper.
  • Assist communications and fundraising staff with requested information, as necessary.
  • Contribute to a cohesive and collegial Baykeeper team.

Preferred qualifications include:

  • At least three years of post-law school experience, including researching and developing cases, engaging in administrative advocacy, drafting briefs and comment letters, and/or working with technical experts and outside counsel on complex policy analysis.
  • Admission to the California Bar, or a willingness to apply for admission.
  • Knowledge of federal and state environmental laws, including Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.
  • Interest in science and a desire to protect health of fish and communities who depend on clean water.
  • Strong communication skills and the ability to integrate technical and scientific information into legal and policy advocacy.
  • Willingness to attend meetings around the Bay Area, Stockton, and Sacramento, and conduct research in the field, including in inclement weather and occasionally outside of normal business hours.
  • Ability to set and meet internal and external deadlines under pressure.
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment, integrity, and maintain respect of others in stressful situations; tendency to approach work settings with a problem-solving mindset, grace, and a sense of humor.
  • Strong work ethic with a desire to engage at a collaborative, inclusive, and effective organization.
  • Passion for Baykeeper’s mission with a commitment to justice and holding bad actors accountable.

Work Location

The Associate Attorney is primarily a remote work position, and the employee must live in the Bay Area or be willing to relocate at their own expense.

While working remotely, the employee must be online and focused on job duties during regular work hours, typically Monday-Friday 9am to 5pm, including availability for messages, phone calls, and online meetings throughout the day. Employee will be required to work at times in the Baykeeper office as needed for meetings, legal filings, or other in-person coordination. Baykeeper’s office is in downtown Oakland, convenient to 19th Street BART station and other public transit.

Physical Demands

The physical demands of this position include utilizing computer equipment, traveling to and actively participating in public meetings, verbal communications with partners, counsel, media representatives, and others both in person and by video and telephone, occasional travel by boat to conduct visual and sensory inspections on and around the Bay. These demands are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Baykeeper is committed to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace where we learn and work together to protect the Bay and Bay Area communities. We strongly encourage women, people of color, gender-diverse individuals, people with disabilities, and other applicants from underrepresented backgrounds in the environmental movement to apply.

Compensation, Benefits, and Values

This is a full-time, exempt position reporting to the Managing Attorney. The salary range for new staff in this position is $60,000 to $75,000, depending on experience, with an expectation to work 40 hours per week (typically, Monday through Friday 9am - 5pm with occasional evenings and weekends).

Baykeeper values its employees and employee retention, and we are committed to continuously building on our collaborative workplace environment. We value a healthy work-life balance and offer a competitive benefits package, which currently includes employer-paid comprehensive medical and dental coverage for employees; an employer 401(k) contribution as the budget allows following one year of employment; options for pre-tax flexible spending accounts for medical, transit, and dependent care costs; professional development opportunities and training, including coverage of California bar dues and reasonable MCLE costs; and generous paid time off for a diverse range of holidays and social justice activism.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Baykeeper is also currently a qualifying employer under the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.


If you are interested in this position and meet most of the preferred qualifications, please send a cover letter, resumé, and recent legal writing sample (no longer than 25 pages) in PDF format to, subject line “YOUR LAST NAME, Associate Attorney.” If your materials indicate a potential match for our requirements, we will contact you. References and/or sample professional material may be requested from selected candidates. Please, no phone calls or emails regarding this job opening. Position open until filled, with an anticipated start date in October.

Please note: Your cover letter is critical to the application process because it helps our hiring team assess your writing skills and your passion for our mission. In your 1-page cover letter, please briefly describe: 1) What makes you interested in working for Baykeeper and 2) What experiences make you a good fit to serve as Baykeeper’s next Associate Attorney?

We want to ensure that people with a wide range of lived experiences and backgrounds hear about and apply for this position. Please help us share the job opening widely. 

Law Clerk

San Francisco Baykeeper is seeking law clerks to work on our citizen enforcement program in San Francisco. Baykeeper defends San Francisco Bay against its biggest threats and holds polluters accountable. Law clerks will assist Baykeeper attorneys on all aspects of our enforcement program under the Clean Water Act and other state and federal environmental laws. Tasks include investigating pollution complaints, legal research, drafting legal documents, attending hearings and public meetings, and patrolling the Bay on the Baykeeper boat.


Litigation and Enforcement

  • Research and investigate new pollution cases;
  • Research and draft memos on case law, statutes, and regulations;
  • Assist in-house attorneys and outside counsel in drafting legal documents;
  • Attend court hearings and settlement negotiations as appropriate;
  • Assist with filing, correspondence, or document review as needed. 

Administrative Advocacy

  • Represent and advocate on behalf of Baykeeper at local agency hearings;
  • Research and prepare comments on agency regulations and permits;
  • Draft memos on technical and legal aspects of water quality regulations;
  • Assist with press releases, outreach efforts, and public events


  • At least one year of law school;
  • Excellent legal research and writing skills;
  • A solid academic record;
  • Ability to thrive in a friendly, informal setting;
  • Demonstrated commitment to environmental protection;
  • Significant knowledge of environmental and administrative laws a plus.

How to Apply

We accept Law Clerk applications on the following rotating schedule:

  • Summer application period: August 1 to January 10; 
  • Fall application period: February 1 to July 30; 
  • Spring application period: August 1 to October 31. 

To apply, prepare a cover letter, resume, a current transcript, and a 5-10 page legal writing sample to

Please, no phone calls or emails to the office regarding this position.