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Corporate Accountability Attorney

POSITION TITLE: Corporate Accountability Attorney (Petrochemicals)

PROGRAM: Fossil Economy

SUPERVISOR: Fossil Economy Legal & Research Manager

LOCATION: Washington DC or Remote, United States

SALARY RANGE: $75,000 - $90,000


Petrochemical production (ranging from plastics to agrochemicals, and their chemical precursors) has become the fossil fuel industry’s lifeline to buoy demand for its products and sustain its entrenchment in the economy. Unless halted, ongoing expansion of petrochemical, agrochemical, hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage (CCS) infrastructure – facilitated by new public subsidies and political support – will lock in fossil fuel facilities that threaten frontline communities and public health and accelerate the triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and chemical pollution. . Yet, despite its central role, the petrochemicals sector remains comparatively unknown to the public at large and decision makers in political, legal, and financial fora.

Together with the program’s leadership and other relevant staff at CIEL, the Attorney will drive our work to hold the US petrochemicals sector at large, and enabling actors within it, accountable for their contributions to the converging planetary crises. The focus of this position will be to 1) help expose the role of the petrochemicals sector in contributing to climate change, plastic pollution, and other environmental harms; 2) develop legal theories to hold companies legally responsible for their impacts; 3) through research and analysis, build the knowledge base of corporate knowledge and historical malfeasance. 


Legal Strategy Development:

  • Develop and deploy theories of legal accountability to provide remedy and access to justice to affected people and communities by holding corporations, their industry trade associations, and/or financiers accountable for their impacts. 
  • Represent CIEL in coalitions, public meetings, workshops, hearings, press, and other instances as assigned
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with relevant partner organizations, and other actors/stakeholders to achieve CIEL’s project-related goals

Research and Analysis:

  • Undertake research into corporate actors and industry groups, drawing on public statements, corporate disclosures, and archival records, among other sources.
  • Produce reports, briefings, fact sheets, and other written materials as required to convey research and analysis to movement partners and media as appropriate. 
  • Maintain and build new relationships with coalition partners in plastics, climate, agriculture, and other movements. 
  • Balance long-term projects with rapid response research and analysis as necessary to respond to partner demands, press inquiries, and breaking news 


  • Support fundraising efforts, such as proposals and reports, as relevant.
  • Maintain timesheets and submit them on time.
  • Meet periodically as requested with supervisor and other team members
  • Participate in weekly staff and team meetings and other organizational activities, including an annual staff performance evaluation.
  • Meet target dates, prioritize tasks, and ensure high-quality work products.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • J.D. or equivalent degree with 3 years of relevant experience in a legal role focused on corporate accountability in a non-profit setting.
  • Demonstrated ability to distill key messages from technical information and translate them to different audiences and on different platforms.
  • Able to oversee and deliver multiple priorities by target dates and perform a wide variety of tasks over the course of the workday.
  • Able to work both separately and collaboratively, in close coordination across teams.
  • Comfort admitting what you don’t know and recognizing that seeking and receiving feedback is part of the learning process.
  • Awareness of how your words and actions affect others, openness to and respect for others’ perspectives.
  • Able to travel frequently for periods of up to 2 weeks

Desired Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of the fossil fuel and petrochemical sectors and familiarity with climate accountability litigation
  • Experience with international, environmental, and/or human rights law or similar fields
  • Proficiency in Spanish

A successful candidate will demonstrate the following competencies: 

  • Action-Oriented: Makes things happen. Takes on new opportunities and tough challenges with a sense of curiosity, proactivity, and constructiveness.
  • Nimble Learning: Approaches unfamiliar tasks proactively and with an open mind. Can quickly adapt to new situations and to draw on past successes and failures to solve current problems.  
  • Effective Communication: Understands the value of effective communication. Can deliver messages in a clear, compelling, and concise manner. Actively listens, checks for understanding, and adjusts content and style to meet the needs of different stakeholders.  
  • Collaborates: Brings people together to leverage their skills, talents, and knowledge to achieve a common purpose. Creates synergy resulting in a combined effort with greater results than what can be achieved by individuals.  
  • Resourcefulness: Is able to make the best of limited resources and find a way to get things done even when the odds are against them. Can look beyond the obvious for viable approaches to accomplish the goal. 

This is a full-time, exempt position based in the United States. This can be out of our Washington DC office, or elsewhere remotely depending on the location. You must have legal authorization to work in the United States without visa sponsorship. CIEL offers a strong benefits package including employer-subsidized health, dental, and vision; paid vacation, sick, and parental leave; a 5% contribution of gross annual salary into a 403(b) retirement account; a relocation stipend; dedicated professional development funding; and paid sabbatical leave after 7 years. CIEL is a 501(c)3 nonprofit in the US, and full-time employees qualify for the US Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program [1]

Application instructions: Applications will be considered on a rolling basis; the first application review will take place on June 8. Desired start date: As soon as able. Please submit a cover letter, resume, and any other required materials or responses. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted. No telephone calls, please. Note that CIEL does not sponsor visas of any kind. You must have prior authorization to work in the United States or Switzerland in order to be considered for this position.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement: In accordance with CIEL’s duty to provide and maintain a workplace that is free of known hazards and our commitment to safeguard the health of our employees, clients, and communities, CIEL requires US candidates to furnish proof of full COVID vaccination status in order to be hired for this position. ​​If you are not eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or vaccination is contraindicated by a licensed medical professional, you must provide documentation verifying this ineligibility or contraindication.

About CIEL: For 30 years, CIEL has used the power of law to protect the environment, promote human rights, and ensure a just and sustainable society. CIEL’s dynamic team of international attorneys and experts work together in a collaborative and supportive work environment to tackle some of the most interesting and challenging issues facing people and the planet. 

We are an equal opportunity employer, actively committed to the principles of multiculturalism and building an organization that is as diverse as the communities we serve around the world. We know that diversity and inclusion make us stronger, and we actively encourage qualified applicants with various backgrounds, identities, perspectives, and (dis)abilities to apply. If you need an accommodation or assistance with this application, please contact Human Resources at jobs[at]ciel.org.

  1. https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service

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