Non-Profit Sector

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Government Sector | Law Firms | Non-Profit Sector | Current Opportunities

One of the great ways environmental attorneys serve the public and the environment is through non-profit organizations. At the University of Oregon, pubic interest and environmental law are closely tied, through programming, coursework, and also because the UO Law School, through the student-led Land Air Water group, hosts the largest public interest environmental law conference in the world every year. This dedication to public interest environmental law has led many alumni to careers doing non-profit work.

This sector includes:

  • Advocacy organizations that might also be plaintiffs in lawsuits (i.e. the Wilderness Society and American Lands Alliance)
  • National with regionally-based offices (i.e. National Wildlife Federation, World Wildlife Fund, Sierra Club) 
  • Regional (i.e. Southern Environmental Law Center, Alliance for Wild Rockies, Northwest Ecosystems Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Law Foundation of New England, etc.) 
  • State-based groups (i.e. OregonWild, Washington Trout, Idaho Rivers United, and Trustees for Alaska)
  • Local organizations (i.e. Oregon Natural Desert Association, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, and Friends of Evergreen Highway) 

Many law firms also qualify as non-profit organizations; some examples of non-profit firms are listed above in the Law Firm section.

Spotlight Alumni in the Non-Profit Sector


Jonathan Evans (’06), Attorney, Center for Biological Diversity
The Center for Biological Diversity works through science, law, and creative media to secure a future for all species, great or small, hovering on the brink of extinction.

Michelle Halley (’00), Attorney & Lake Superior Project Manager, National Wildlife Federation
Michelle has represented NWF and other clients in litigation and law-making procedures at the Michigan Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and in state and federal administrative proceedings, including complex litigation regarding the proposed Kennecott mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Michelle is also an active solo practitioner.

Laura Hoehn (’97), General Counsel to the Sierra Club
Laura became Sierra Club’s General Counsel in 2002. In this position, she advises on intellectual property, licensing, contracts, First Amendment, litigation, risk management, and corporate governance matters. She is grateful to retired Sierra Club Executive Director and Chairman, Mike McCloskey (’61), for his encouragement and regularly works with Managing Attorney of Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program, Aaron Isherwood (’94). Laura previously served as a judicial clerk at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and practiced at Morrison & Foerster and Earthjustice in San Francisco. She lives in Bozeman, Montana where she enjoys exploring the mountains and rivers of the Greater Yellowstone region with her husband, Chris.