JOBS: ClientEarth seeks Lawyer/Project Leader, Rights and Governance (Africa) – London

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Lawyer/Project Leader, Rights and Governance (Africa) – London


In this exciting, challenging role, we will look for an experienced lawyer/project manager to lead and coordinate a series of legal projects in francophone as well as Anglophone African countries. These projects aim to change how natural resources are managed sustainably and for the benefit of local communities.

The position is an integral part of ClientEarth’s Climate & Forest Programme team, based in our attractive international headquarters in east London and will involve some travel to Africa.


With a demonstrated track record in law, you are ready to bring your capacities for strategic thinking, people and project management to lead a team of lawyers delivering a series of complex projects in Central and West Africa.
 You have an in-depth knowledge of project-management (including budgeting and reporting)
 You are able to bring a creative approach to the law
 You already have outstanding research, analysis and writing skills
 You are able to guide, manage, supervise and direct the work of others
 You are an excellent communicator
 You’ll be fluent in French and English


ClientEarth is a public interest environmental law group founded in 2007. ClientEarth brings together law, science and policy to create practical solutions to key environmental challenges. Working in partnership with civil society and policy-makers, ClientEarth is committed to securing the rights of citizens and civil society to information, participation and justice in environmental matters. In Europe and beyond, ClientEarth’s 60 strong staff includes legal experts qualified in more than a dozen jurisdictions based in offices in London, Brussels and Warsaw. Our programmes cover biodiversity and ecosystems, climate and energy, and health and environment.

Climate & Forest Programme Overview

ClientEarth’s Climate and Forests Programme exerts a growing influence on the development and implementation of effective policies to address the drivers of deforestation. We look for coherent, integrated ecosystem and community rights based approaches to reforming governance of forest land tenure and related natural resources and the effective regulation of consumption patterns driving global deforestation and forest degradation.

Project Description

ClientEarth is engaged in two projects to support civil society and community organisations engaged in Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) processes in Ghana, the Republic of Congo (RoC) and Gabon.

The first project, entitled “Strong Seat at the Table” is funded by the EU and will run through to December 2014. This project is undertaken in partnership with other NGOs (FERN, Forest Peoples Programme, and Centre Pour l’Environment et le Developpement – a Cameroon-based organisation). Its focus is on providing specific legal advice and capacity building to civil society organisations and local communities in relation to on-going FLEGT Volunatary Partnership Agreement (VPA) processes.

The second project is a three-year project funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) that complements the “Strong Seat at the Table” project by working with different stakeholders to develop a coherent, integrated ecosystem and community rights based approach to reforming governance of forest land tenure and related natural resources. The focus countries for this three-year project are Ghana, RoC, and Gabon. The project will deliver analytical tools that can be adapted and applied in other settings in Africa and beyond.

We aim to take law and policy forward, beyond narrow sectoral approaches which fail to link together the drivers of natural resource degradation, destruction and livelihood loss for forest peoples and other local communities. A primary objective of the projects is to foster and develop an in-country knowledge network of legal practitioners, academics, and civil society and community leaders — to develop their capacity to design, implement and enforce laws and policies which realize sustainable and equitable use and management of land-based natural resources in African countries engaged in FLEGT VPA and REDD+ processes.

The project involves three inter-related components:

a) Development of an analytical framework to inform meaningful law reform: Developing innovative diagnostic legal tools, such as a legal gap analysis, with civil society and developing achievable pathways and contents for meaningful reforms.
b) Building civil society capacity to engage in law reform opportunities: Expanding the legal awareness and capacity of forest communities and civil society in the three focus countries.
c) Development of in-country legal knowledge networks: Strengthening forest communities’ and civil society’s legal knowledge and skills to engage in the design and implementation of laws and policies


Job focus

The Project Leader, Rights and Governance (Africa) has overall responsibility for the strategic development, management, implementation, and administrative oversight of the Africa projects. The Project Leader supervises, and closely collaborates with, the team of London-based project lawyers and the in-country associates in Ghana, RoC, and Gabon. The Project Leader provides expert input on and strategic oversight to the development of the analytical framework and diagnostic legal tools. The Project Leader oversees the legal gap analysis and civil society capacity-building efforts in the three focus countries. The Project Leader represents ClientEarth in relevant forums in Africa, Europe and internationally. Over time, the Project Leader also identifies, develops, and implements other projects as appropriate.

Working relationships

The position reports to the Programme Leader, Climate & Forests. The Project Leader has line management responsibility for the individuals within the Africa projects Rights and Governance (Africa) team (three lawyers and a project assistant), and has overall responsibility for the in-country associates in the three focus countries. ClientEarth employs a facilitative leadership model, in which supervisors discuss issues and take account of the views of their team.

The Project Leader (Africa) works closely with the Latin America project team, and with members of the Climate & Forests team more generally. Close working relationships will be required with members of the knowledge networks in the African focus countries.

Job specification

This role involves a wide range of responsibilities:

Management and planning

External relationship and representation

Development and implementation of the project

Supervision of the project


 Minimum 5 years of relevant legal or project management experience, ideally in the area of forest law and policy and/or other relevant natural resource, community rights, public and administrative law (essential)
 Working in Africa and/or in an international environment, particularly on forest issues, natural resource management, land tenure issues, or community rights (essential)
 Contributing to law reform processes in developing countries, preferably in African settings (essential)
 Working with NGOs, government stakeholders and other relevant civil society groups (desirable)

Knowledge and qualifications

 Advanced degree in law or related field with specialization or proven experience on project management (essential)
 Fluency in English and French (essential)
 Working knowledge of one or more of the following areas (essential): natural resources law, investment law, international human rights law, environmental law, forest law, community rights law, customary law, public and administrative law, legal reform processes, development and application of access rights, comparative legal systems, governance and civil society
 Understanding of law-making processes in African settings; understanding of REDD+ and FLEGT policy frameworks, issues, and processes and knowledge of climate change and environmental governance issues in Africa and international settings (highly desirable)
 Understanding of the African political and cultural context (highly desirable)

Skills and competencies

 Demonstrated ability to think and plan strategically in African contexts and to lead a high performing team
 Excellent team coordination skills and proven experience in project management
 Excellent written and oral communication skills to give authoritative advice and influence external stakeholders
 Excellent analytical skills and ability to grasp quickly new and complex concepts and areas of law, combined with a commitment to learning
 Excellent organisational skills, priority setting and ability in managing multiple tasks
 Excellent political and practical judgment and diplomacy and ability to build partnerships and relationships, ideally in developing countries
 Confident, energetic and dedicated to working for the environment and for the mission and vision of ClientEarth, and in the interests of local communities.
 Drive to achieve results and ability to spot and utilise opportunities to achieve change

This position involves extensive travel. You must be willing and able to travel within Europe and globally, particularly to Central and West Africa (approximately 2 times per year).

To apply

Please send us a CV and a cover letter, explaining your interest in joining ClientEarth and the contribution you believe you could make to the organisation. Please address your application to James Thornton, Chief Executive, ClientEarth, The Hothouse, 274 Richmond Road, London E8 3QW and send it by email to Please include ‘Project Leader – Africa’ in the email subject line, and identify the documents you are sending by including ‘[your name] Project Leader Africa cover letter’ and ‘[your name] CV’ in the file name.

Recruitment is open now and you should send your application as soon as possible. Applications are scheduled to close on 28 April 2013. We will review CVs on a rolling basis and might interview candidates before this time.

Please note that ClientEarth will only consider candidates who have the legal right to work in the UK.

If you have any questions about the roles advertised or recruitment process, please contact Patricia Del Rio (

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