Community Democracy Program Manager

Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services

  • Employment
  • Remote

Website Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services

Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm designed to incubate legal services start-ups in the area of environmental law for underserved, modest means clients. The purposes of the organization include the education of attorneys in serving modest means clients, increasing equal access to justice, and community empowerment in the Appalachian Basin (New York to North Carolina). Fair Shake advances local, community decision-making about community health, environmental protection and cleanup, and development by providing access to justice for individuals and groups that are currently underserved.

Fair Shake is looking for bright, creative, insightful, well-organized, well-written, well-spoken, and collegial program manager who want to join an environmental justice organization that serves clients and communities in the Appalachian Basin region. We are hiring someone who can execute and administer our Community Democracy Program to expand our client-centered counseling method used in the provision of individual legal services to entire communities.


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 and 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 individuals 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.

Through its Community Democracy program, Fair Shake is undertaking a novel and delicate approach to lawyering that extends the practice and philosophy of client-centered counseling to an entire community; Fair Shake is once again forging a new path in public interest law – this time through community-centered counseling. Community-centered counseling, like client-centered counseling, will maximize the autonomy of the community. Through community-centered counseling, Fair Shake can apply a regenerative design approach to participatory policymaking. A regenerative approach begins with the totality of the values and objectives of the community and works backward from these goals to design a local legal and policy infrastructure that facilitates the kind of development and infrastructure that is an expression of the community’s priorities and will help them achieve their vision for their community.


Working under the direct supervision of the Executive Director and in coordination with our Supervising and Staff Attorneys, the Program Manager will recruit, develop and oversee an outreach team to engage in pilot site selection and program design. The Program Manager will be responsible for working within a program budget and projecting short-term and long-term programmatic needs. Internal and external communication and marketing needs will be coordinated by the Program Manager.


The Program Manager should have:

  • A strong interest in program design and implementation;
    an interest in people in place and how people interact in positive ways with their environment and larger community;
  • A strong interest in the skills of group facilitation, listening and coalition-building, giving and receiving constructive feedback, and group problem-solving;
    experience in effectively engaging target audiences through a variety of digital, in-person and event coordination channels;
  • Experience and training in effective communication, including visual communication and design;
    demonstrated effectiveness in both collaboratively and independently-produced work product and performances;
  • An ability to work independently, anticipate issues and prioritize assignments; and
    a commitment to Fair Shake’s mission.


Candidates should possess a minimum of 3 years in program coordination.

The Program Manager must be willing to travel across the Appalachian Basin as needed.


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


To apply, please submit via e-mail a letter of interest, your CV or résumé to Emily A. Collins, Esq., by December 15, 2020 as follows:

Emily A. Collins
Executive Director and Managing Attorney
647 E. Market Street
Akron, OH 44304

Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to inclusivity and diversity in our workforce.

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