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  • Legislative Counsel

    • Employer: Defenders of Wildlife
      Location: Washington, DC
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: No value
      Open Until Filled: Yes



    JOB TITLE:   Government Relations Legislative Counsel

    GRADE: 27

    SALARY: $63k-80k

    FLSA:  Exempt

    DIVISION/SITE:  Headquarters, Washington DC

    DEPARTMENT:  Government Relations and External Affairs

    REPORTS TO:  VP of Government Relations and External Affairs

    LAST REVISED:  September 2019

    Basic Summary:

    This professional position is responsible for advancing Defenders of Wildlife’s legislative and administrative interests before Congress, the Administration and the media.  The position is also responsible for providing legal support through analysis, guidance and legislative drafting assistance.  Issue priorities are drawn from Defenders’ current priorities, including endangered species; wildlife; national forests, wildlife refuges and other public lands; national environmental policy act (NEPA) defense; and related appropriations issues.  Responsibilities include: direct lobbying; developing legislative and advocacy campaign strategies; leading and/or participating in inter-departmental campaign teams;  leading and/or representing Defenders’ interests in national issue-based coalitions; working with and monitoring Congressional committees; drafting letters, fact sheets and testimony; obtaining legislative and political information; and generally assisting the advocacy work of Defenders’ Government Relations and External Affairs department.

    Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

    Legislative Advocacy

    ·         Play a leading role in clarifying and advancing Defenders’ legislative/administrative goals for assigned issues

    ·         Lead and regularly work in coalitions with advocacy staff at partner organizations to strategize politically, craft messaging, determine legislative targets, and provide input on resource allocations for national issue campaigns

    ·         Build an effective network of congressional, coalition and public support to advance assigned issues while employing sound political judgment

    ·         Identify and implement effective legislative/administrative strategies and projects to advance assigned issues, utilizing strong legislative judgment

    ·         Marshal, leverage, and organize inter-departmental and, where possible, external resources on assigned legislative/administrative issues through ongoing campaign planning, project management, team building, and coalition participation

    ·         Implement, as appropriate, various aspects of issue campaigns through activities including: direct lobbying; coalition representation; legislative, policy and legal analysis; multi-party negotiations; bill drafting; direct and grassroots lobbying materials development; action alert drafting; testimony and public presentations; media representation; and drafting press materials and legislatively focused Web content

    ·         Closely monitor legislative developments in assigned issues and disseminate timely information about those issues throughout the organization

    ·         Provide timely responses to requests for progress reports, funding proposals, budgets and other information requested by departments including: Government Relations, Communications, Integrated Marketing, and Development

    ·         Contribute to the development of Defenders of Wildlife’s legislative Report Card through activities by identifying potential votes and drafting vote descriptions

    ·         Contribute to Defenders’ positive image on Capitol Hill, with outside organizations, and in the media

    ·         Perform all other related duties as assigned.

    Legal Support

    ·         Research and draft legislative memoranda on federal bills and proposed administrative rules and regulations as assigned

    ·         Provide legal analysis for legislative issues as needed for the department; help to determine what issues need to be elevated to internal or external legal counsel and coordinate with counsel on elevated issues

    ·         Conduct review of lobby ethics questions as they arise; draft department memos on broadly applicable ethics issues and help to maintain a questions and answers series on frequently asked questions/issues

    ·         Support department legislative drafting needs and coordinate with legal department and/or outside counsel on drafting as needed

    ·         Act as department resource regarding matters of legislative procedure. Conduct research on new and evolving legislative procedure issues.



    JD Required


    4+ years of Capitol Hill or other legislative experience, preferably involving natural resource issues.  Experience in one or more of the following areas:

    1.       working with wildlife conservation issues and knowledge of federal resource agencies, laws, treaties and policies dealing with use and conservation of natural resources 

    2.       political judgment and sensitivity, including a thorough understanding of lobbying, resource and appropriations committees, budget process and federal legislative procedures and grassroots targeting

    3.       working at the intersection of law, policy and legislation 

    4.       developing, implementing, and managing legislative and advocacy campaigns on a national level.

    ·         An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above.


    ·         Strong writing, media, and verbal communications skills

    ·         Ability to conduct research, analyze information, and produce quality work products in a consistent, efficient, and timely manner

    ·         Ability to effectively lead and/or represent Defenders’ interests in national issue coalitions

    ·         Other relevant experience with public policy, education, grassroots organizing, communications, editing, and/or development

    ·         Ability to work effectively as part of Defenders’ legislative and administrative advocacy team

    Work Expectations:

    Work Environment:

    General office working conditions, the noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.

    Physical Demands:

    While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use a computer and communicate with others while doing so.

    All employees are required to satisfactorily perform the essential duties and responsibilities of their positions. The essential duties and responsibilities listed above are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

    How to Apply:

    Interested applicants please apply with a cover letter through our indeed jobs portal at http://www.defenders.org/jobs

    About Defenders:

    Defenders of Wildlife is a national, non-profit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities. Our employees work in an environment that is inclusive and honors each of our unique perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the conservation of biological diversity is best advanced by the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and cultures.  We strive toward a collective goal of including all people in the conservation of our Nation’s wildlife and wild places.

    Visit Our Values and Diversity page to learn more about who we are and how we operate.


    It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.

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