Associate Attorney

San Francisco Bay Keeper

San Francisco Bay Keeper

Posted on Thursday, August 24, 2023

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 litigation. Baykeeper’s lawyers work 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 communities that rely on clean water and healthy ecosystems.

The Associate Attorney will work collaboratively with our staff of scientists, attorneys, and outside partners using advocacy and litigation to support Baykeeper’s mission. Specifically, the Associate Attorney will work on matters related to freshwater flows, including analyzing and advocating for water quality regulations to protect endangered species, native fish, ecosystems, and communities throughout the watershed. The Associate Attorney will also be responsible for investigating industrial and municipal sources of pollution and developing litigation to reduce the pollution burden on communities around the Bay Area.

The Associate Attorney will join Baykeeper’s existing legal team, comprised of a Managing Attorney, two Staff Attorneys, and an experienced legal volunteer.

Essential responsibilities include:

  • Engage in legal advocacy and litigation related to instream flows, freshwater regulations and requirements for fish and wildlife, and watershed wide water quality issues.
  • Review draft and final regulatory orders, permits, and administrative records regarding freshwater flows and protections for native fish and wildlife.
  • Assist in preparing comment letters and oral advocacy for regulatory agency meetings and hearings with Baykeeper staff and partner organizations.
  • Prepare and provide written and oral advocacy related to industrial and municipal pollution permitting under the Clean Water Act and state law to local officials and regulators.
  • Support legal advocacy and litigation to strengthen and enforce water quality laws and regulations.
  • Conduct investigations and litigation regarding industrial, municipal, and other polluters.
  • Work closely with science staff to ensure advocacy and litigation further our mission and are based upon the best available evidence.
  • Assist communications, fundraising, and HR staff with requested information, as necessary.
  • Contribute to a cohesive and collegial Baykeeper team.

Preferred qualifications include:

  • Pre-2022 law school graduate. (Applicants graduating after December 2021 will not be considered.)
  • Experience working in either environmental law, environmental justice, administrative advocacy, or litigation, including administrative agency litigation.
  • 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.
  • Strong communication skills and the ability to integrate technical and scientific information into legal and policy advocacy.
  • Willingness to attend occasional 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 humor.
  • Strong work ethic with a desire to engage at a collaborative, inclusive, and effective organization.
  • Desire to be part of long-term legal advocacy and litigation fighting for justice and finding solutions for freshwater flows throughout the San Francisco Bay watershed.

Work Location (Bay Area, hybrid)

The Associate Attorney is primarily a remote work position, though 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. The office is open for individuals who prefer not to work remotely.

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 an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices. We are 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 $70,000 to $85,000, depending on experience, with an expectation to work 40 hours per week (typically, Monday through Friday 9am - 5pm).

Baykeeper values its employees and employee retention, and we are committed to continuously building on our collaborative workplace environment. We support the physical and mental health of our employees, as well as a positive work-life balance, offering 17 days of vacation time, and 12 sick days accrued on a per-pay-period basis. We provide 12 paid holidays with flexibility for diverse religious/cultural observances, two paid days for social justice activism, and extra paid time off during the winter holidays. Employment comes with a generous benefits package, which currently includes employer-paid comprehensive medical, dental, and vision coverage for employees; life insurance policies 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.

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


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

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.

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