Senior Climate Lawyer – Australia, Aotearoa and the Pacific

In collaboration with the Foundation for International Law for the Environment (FILE), The Sunrise Project is searching for an innovative and experienced lawyer who can develop and implement legal strategies to accelerate solutions to solve the climate crisis.

About us

The Sunrise Project is a small organisation with an oversized impact. Driven by a passion to solve the climate crisis, we are a team of experienced researchers, analysts, campaigners and communicators with a mission to scale social movements to drive the transition beyond fossil fuels to renewable energy as fast as possible. With programs in Australia, Europe and the US, we’re focussed on preventing major new fossil fuel expansions, accelerating the transition to 100% renewable energy in Australia, and shifting the finance sector out of fossil fuels globally.

FILE is a new Foundation, headquartered in Amsterdam with staff based in Netherlands and the UK, whose charitable object is to promote the protection of the environment through law and related advocacy. FILE has two sets of objectives: the first to encourage philanthropies to join strategies and co-manage funds for climate and biodiversity legal activities, and the second is to apply these funds to support law reform and cases, campaigns and advocacy around legal interventions, the research and evidentiary support of law cases, and learning within the community. Whilst FILE is a grant-making institution, it also aims to help build the field, shape the strategy, and make an impact on climate change and the protection of biodiversity.

We are committed to justice and equality. We value diversity at all levels of the organisation and we are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all staff. We believe that a wide array of perspectives promotes innovation and makes our team more creative and effective.

Our Mission

We are seeking to hire a Climate Lawyer to join our growing team.  The successful candidate will support the Deputy Director in developing grant-making strategies in relation to the climate and ecological emergencies, and an impactful grant portfolio focussed on protecting the environment through legal interventions in Australia, Aotearoa and the Pacific. S/he will be required to work collaboratively with partners within the legal Community of Practice to support the development of strong, impactful networks in the region.

H/She will have prior experience in a role and organisation working on climate change, and will be able to demonstrate their experience and impact that they have made in this role. They will need to be diligent and hardworking, happy to roll up their sleeves and get on with the tasks at hand, some of which we will be forging for the first time.

At this critical stage in our organisational development, this is a fantastic opportunity for the right individual to help shape our approach. Our ideal candidate will be passionate about climate justice and biodiversity and understand the impact of our work. It is imperative that they are aligned to our mission and values as an organisation and be ready for all the challenges that go hand in hand with a growing organisation.

The Exciting Opportunity

The responsibilities:

  • Strategy development: Working with FILE’s Legal Director, the Sunrise team, community movements and aligned Community of Practice, support the development and implementation of strategy in the climate, coal, oil and gas, and financial sectors, whilst acting as a resource to this larger community.
  • Innovation and research: Support research and development in specific legal fields, including in the corporate and finance sectors. Build genuine trust-based relationships across the community, as well as with other leaders within the field. Ensure innovative thinking that moves beyond court-based litigation to law reform and commercial and financial legal instruments, whilst opening up new jurisdictions and sectors.
  • Resource deployment: As strategies and opportunities develop, assess and advise on resource allocation, contribute to the development of strong programme management systems, monitor and evaluate impact of cases and programmes, whilst working with grantees to overcome hurdles/barriers to progress.

About you

You’re a creative and strategic thinker with an unstoppable hunger for climate justice. You are skilled at understanding complex economic and political systems, identifying legal points of intervention and developing strategies that can lead to real world change. You’ve got a track record of guiding and implementing effective legal strategy you are passionate about protecting people and the environment from the worsening impacts of the climate crisis by transitioning Australia beyond fossil fuels.

Qualifications & Experience

  • Qualified lawyer. A postgraduate degree in environmental law, political science or policy desirable.
  • A number of years’ experience in a related field. Experience in developing and delivering legal interventions related to climate change highly desirable.
  • A results-oriented lawyer with a strategic mindset focused on establishing goals and executing programs.
  • Experience building collaborative partnerships and communicating confidently to a diverse range of stakeholders.
  • Experience managing teams, including remotely-based staff and networks, within a fast-paced environment, is desirable.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, presentation, and strategic thinking capabilities.
  • Ability to work well under pressure, and with a high degree of rigour. Must be self-motivated, organized, flexible, and have the ability to prioritise workload.
  • Willingness to travel – domestic and international.
  • Outstanding written English and communication skills. Knowledge of other regional languages advantageous.


Preferred location is Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane. People based in regional areas also strongly encouraged to apply.


  • One-year contract with potential for extension;
  • The salary range is $98,800 to $119,700 plus superannuation, depending on experience.

To apply

Please send a single pdf file including an application letter that shows how your skills and experience make you the best person for the role and a brief CV (including three referees) to as soon as possible.