Community Democracy Program Manager

Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services

  • Employment
  • Remote

Website Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services

Applications Due by October 15, 2021

About Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services:

Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm that brings decision-making and conflict resolution tools to people in place. Here’s how we do that:


By promoting the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income in the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies; and providing legal representation to allow equal access to the environmental decision-making process and to foster equal protection under the law for the health, preservation and restoration of natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment;


By educating young attorneys in legal services entrepreneurship and incubating start-up legal services organizations to serve the environmental legal needs of underserved low- and middle-income clients;


By empowering communities and stimulating economies in the Appalachian Basin region by providing environmental legal services and counseling to allow the underserved to make decisions about practical and innovative solutions to complex environmental challenges across the region.


Access to democracy is often framed in terms of enfranchisement and disenfranchisement – who has the right to vote, how can that right be exercised, and what forces are at work to support or hinder the exercise of that right. But democracy is not limited to elections. In fact, the work of democracy only really begins after an election is over. Democracy is, in practice, a process. Access to the process of democracy is often framed in terms of organizing and civic engagement – who shows up and how do they shift the balance of power to the interest of the people. Organizing and effective engagement with policymakers is crucial work, and a pre-condition for high-functioning communities. And while individual laws or legal decisions (like permits or re-zoning effort) may change as a result of organizing campaigns, lawyers are often brought in as a resource of last resort. But the law is a fundamental, often underutilized (or misutilized) foundation of our democracy.

Fair Shake lawyers practice a values-based form of lawyering called client-centered counseling. Client-centered counseling is an approach that demands of lawyers not just zealous representation of their clients’ legal objectives, but also requires them to understand and integrate their clients’ non-legal objectives into their work. In addition, in a client-centered counseling model, lawyers must not substitute their own moral judgements for that of their clients, or assume what a client does and does not value. A guiding principle of client-centered counseling is to maximize the autonomy of the client; to guide clients in identifying their own values and objectives and help them to realize these objectives within the lawyer-client relationship and also in the world. Because legal issues do not arise in a vacuum, but rather within the context of the totality of our lives as individuals and as members of a civil society.

The goal of the Community Democracy Project is equal access to environmental justice regardless of economic strength. We hope to help:

  • Build self-empowered communities that have the local governmental structure, ability and resources to advocate for their own vision of growth and health; and
  • Create and strengthen connections among organizations, agencies, communities and advocates to support those visions.

The CDP focuses on local law (townships, villages, municipalities and counties) in the tri-state area of Ohio, WV and Pennsylvania to ensure that communities historically run over by development and infrastructure investment have control over their environmental future. Initially, we will develop a catalog of resources that will work legally for the region and then perform the necessary listening and outreach to develop long-lasting community-driven protections and direct investment in the tri-state region.

While our direct legal services team will provide services to communities within the program, the Program Manager, Program Coordinators and Analysts will engage in outreach to our pilot site selections as well as program design.

Call for Applications for a Program Manager of Our Community Democracy Program:

We’re looking for a candidate who enjoys building programs from initial concept to reality and works well with people from the entire spectrum of socio-economic backgrounds. We’re interested in outgoing, communicative, creative, insightful, well-written and fun professional to manage our Community Democracy Program. While there is no need for the candidate to be licensed to practice law, they need to be willing to work with lawyers, engineers, geologists and ecologists as well as people in poverty and community members taking the brunt of our environmental impacts. The Program Manager will be responsible for developing the CDP’s objectives and strategy as well as assessing its impact. The Program Manager will design the program with the input of the Executive Director and our full direct legal services team and oversee its implementation. Starting with relationship-building in our already-identified target communities, the Program Manager will oversee listening, communications strategy, engagement and, if asked, delivery of CDP services to those communities.

Key Requirements:

  • 3-6 years of program or project management experience;
  • Familiarity with the culture, regions, differences and environmental impacts in Eastern Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia
  • A passion for working with people from diverse backgrounds;
  • Strong interpersonal skills and experience building positive, collaborative relationships with colleagues, diverse communities and partners by listening to new ideas, encouraging open dialogue, and inspiring people to work toward common goals;
  • The ability to use both passive and actively listening techniques.

Qualities We’re Looking for in the Community Democracy Program Manager:

  • Consistently demonstrates an interest in ideas and comfort with complexity;
  • Utilizes an enthusiastic, impassioned and patient attitude in everyday interactions;
  • An ability to work through conflicts effectively;
  • The ability to tell a story in writing and visually;
  • Experience compiling and evaluating environmental data;
  • Ability to research and evaluate existing policies and legislation;
  • Experience facilitating civic engagement.

The Program Manager must be willing to work remotely within our service area of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia and to travel across the Appalachian Basin as needed.

Compensation & Benefits:

Fair Shake offers a competitive non-profit salary commensurate with skills and experience as well as a comprehensive benefits package for full-time employment that includes 20 days paid vacation; medical, dental, disability, and life insurance; and a retirement savings plan.

To Apply:

To apply, please submit via electronic mail by October 15, 2021 a letter of interest and your CV or résumé to:

Emily A. Collins
Executive Director and Managing Attorney
6425 Living Place, Suite 200
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

To apply for this job email your details to