General Counsel

  • Full Time
  • Washington, DC
  • Applications have closed

Website Greenpeace USA

Greenpeace is a global, independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. For over fifty years, Greenpeace has fought to save the planet from the threat of global warming, destruction of ancient forests, deterioration of our oceans, and the threat of a nuclear disaster loom large. As an independent organization, Greenpeace does not accept funds from any corporations or government entities. Greenpeace is headquartered in the Netherlands, with offices all around the world in over fifty countries.


We know that we’re in a historic moment in this country. From threats to the planet’s systems, to the corporate hijacking of our democracy, to attacks on our core social values, we are at a juncture that will determine the kind of society and world we want. Decisions made now will have repercussions long into the future.   In this moment we need transformational leaders who understand the power of mobilizing people to achieve bold systemic change.   Greenpeace, Inc., a 501(c)(4) organization, (GPUS) is searching for a dynamic leader to join its Strategic Leadership Team as the General Counsel. The General Counsel also advises Greenpeace Fund, Inc., a 501(c) 3 entity.

Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, the General Counsel is charged with providing independent, strategic legal guidance and management of organizational legal risks and opportunities. The General Counsel is an expert on nonprofit law and partners with leadership to develop a strong legal framework in support of organizational effectiveness, innovation, compliance and risk mitigation.   Additionally, the General Counsel directs outside counsel in litigation and advises on a wide range of matters with emphasis on nonprofit corporate, tax, employment, contract, campaign finance, intellectual property and environmental matters. The General Counsel also provides leadership and guidance on governance issues to the Board of Directors.

The General Counsel creates and maintains strong working relationships with skilled outside attorneys across multiple practice areas and movement coalitions; fosters positive working relationships with Greenpeace attorneys across the globe; leads, retains and develops a high-functioning and service-oriented team of in-house attorneys and a governance coordinator.

This role will be a great fit for you if you are a highly experienced and skilled in-house attorney with a strong work ethic and deep passion for and commitment to social and environmental justice. You must strategically think about the big picture and how to always improve our legal systems and practices. You thrive and remain steady under pressure, are a master manager of priorities and projects, and can manage a team to deliver high quality outcomes, all with great attention to detail.

This is a full time, exempt, benefits eligible position based in Washington, DC.

The General Counsel is responsible for:

Legal Guidance and Compliance

Advise Senior Management Team, Boards of Directors and other staff on legal risks and mitigation measures
Ensure organizational compliance with federal, state and local laws, including non-profit corporate and tax, lobbying, and campaign finance for 501(c) 4 and 501(c)3 entities; providing ongoing legal guidance to develop corporate structures and as needed
Lead and drive successful litigation strategies, in coordination with outside counsel, to defend the organization and activists, including in SLAPP suits, and to advance environmental and human rights
Optimize and oversee compliance, including working closely with People & Culture Team, and Finance Team to support and provide legal guidance on HR policies, compliance with labor laws, financial regulation and clean financial audits
Advise activists on legal risks and constitutional rights
Support fundraising work to ensure timely charitable fundraising registrations and compliance with fundraising regulations
In advising Boards of Directors and supervising Senior Governance Coordinator, ensuring best organizational governance practices are established and followed
Ensure ongoing registration and protection of organizational intellectual property rights
Ensure high-quality contract and publication review systems to protect organizational interests
Advance organizational environmental mission through creative legal initiatives, including leading any new initiatives as needed to capture opportunities, optimize legal practices and mitigate legal risk
Team Building and Management

Develop and strengthen a team-orientation to support programmatic goals, while mitigating legal risk
Encourage a culture of high performance, continuous learning and commitment to quality by setting and modeling high standards, including through establishing and monitoring staff performance and development goals, regular performance feedback, supporting career development opportunities, fostering a collaborative environment of growth and learning and facilitating a healthy work/life balance.
Mentor and manage staff with a commitment to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Justice principles
Oversee departmental financial processes including the annual budgeting and quarterly forecasting report
Required Skills & Experience

Minimum 7 years of legal experience with 3 years in an attorney management role, including a track record for translating strategic thinking and legal analysis into action plans, outputs and results
Outstanding judgment and creative problem-solving skills, including negotiation and conflict                 resolution skills
Excellent leadership and management skills; experience in building, mentoring, facilitating, and coaching a team of professional staff
Ability to thrive and make decisions in a fast-changing and deadline driven environment, including managing multiple priorities and projects, anticipating future needs and maintaining attention to detail
Exceptional and persuasive written and verbal communicator, including experience working with non-lawyers and explaining complex legal concepts in a comprehensive way
An intrinsic and unwavering support for equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace and beyond
Commitment to progressive values and peaceful direct action as a means to change
Ability and willingness to travel domestically and internationally as needed
Juris doctor (JD) and current state license to practice law
Preferred Skills & Experience

At least 10 years of legal experience with 5 years in an attorney management role
In-depth knowledge of U.S. political landscape, culture, social movements and socio-economic environment
Experience in providing legal counsel and leadership to non-profit advocacy organizations
Experience in environmental, human rights or direct legal representation of activists a plus
If you want to save the world from climate change and believe in environmental justice, please submit an application on our careers page. Applications will be review on a rolling basis and will conclude once we have found the best candidate.

Greenpeace is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, class, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, family/marital status, religion or other protected classes. We strongly encourage applications from marginalized communities. If you require assistance applying to this opportunity, please contact

Only applicants eligible to work and live in the United States without any legal restrictions need apply for this opportunity.