Mekong Bertha Justice Legal Fellow (Paid)

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Mekong Bertha Justice Legal Fellow (Paid)

Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Position Title: Mekong Bertha Justice Legal Fellow (Paid)

Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Reports To: Mekong Regional Policy and Legal Advisor

Application Deadline: June 24, 2020

Start Date: September 1, 2020

EarthRights International is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization that combines the power of law and the power of people in defense of human rights and the environment, which we define as “earth rights.” We specialize in fact-finding, legal actions, training of grassroots and community leaders, and advocacy campaigns. EarthRights seeks to defend earth rights by working closely with communities to find real solutions that promote and protect human rights and the environment.

EarthRights International (EarthRights) is now seeking applications for the position of 2020-2022 Mekong Bertha Justice Fellow. This fellowship is supported by the generosity of the Bertha Foundation, whose “Be Just” initiative is intended to “train the next generation of social justice and movement lawyers by funding two-year Fellowships at the best public interest law centers around the world, where emerging lawyers receive practical training from renowned professionals.” The fellowship is geared toward attorneys with less than two years’ experience in public interest law.

Summary Description

Under the supervision of the Mekong Regional Policy and Legal Advisor, the Bertha Fellow will support the work of the Mekong Program to develop and implement legal strategies to protect human rights and the environment. The Fellow will participate in the formulation of national, regional and international legal strategies, community training programs in relation to potential legal actions, legal support for community leaders and civil society partners. The Fellow will conduct legal research, writing, develop legal memorandums, policy proposals and will support workshops in collaboration with EarthRights staff, partners and associations.

The Bertha Justice Fellowship is an exciting opportunity to be part of a dynamic and cutting-edge legal team.The Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for an individual with a legal background to research, develop, and implement legal strategies with legal experts and communities in order to protect human and environmental rights in the region. The position is based in Chiang Mai and requires frequent travel to the field areas. 

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Work with client communities, local partners, indigenous federations and staff in the Mekong office to develop and implement legal strategies to protect human rights and the environment.
  • Work with the Mekong Legal Team to develop and introduce national legal strategies in Thailand and other Mekong Region countries to protect human rights and the environment, especially indigenous Mekong communities.
  • Investigate cases in the Mekong Region that fit into the objectives of the organization and which could be the result of litigation.
  • Collaborate with inter-institutional relations with regional organizations.
  • Engage with domestic human rights pathways, such as National Human Rights Commissions, and in the formulation of regional and international legal strategies.
  • Perform legal research, advocacy, policy proposals, and workshops in collaboration with other NGO, federations and indigenous communities.
  • Work with Mekong staff to design and implement strategies to increase the knowledge and capacity of affected communities in the area of indigenous rights, human rights and accountability mechanisms (i.e., via trainings and workshops).
  • Coordinate and participate in community training programs in relation to possible legal actions, and legal support to community/indigenous leaders.
  • Coordinate and participate in workshops to train activists and lawyers on indigenous and environmental rights affairs.
  • Participate in networking and other events organized by the Bertha Foundation as part of the Bertha Global Legal Fellows Program.

Required Qualifications and Experience

EarthRights International seeks candidates who meet the criteria below:

  • University degree in Law. 
  • 2-3 years work experience in legal capacity.
  • License to practice in Thailand preferred.
  • Experiences in administrative court representation.
  • Experience with community organizing and engagement.
  • Commitment to human rights and environmental justice and legal professionalism.
  • Experience in the provision of training and workshops to communities.
  • Strong legal research and writing skills
  • Experience in research for policy development in the Southeast Asia context.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work in a team and under strict deadlines.
  • Excellent analytical skills, good judgement, initiative.
  • Effective task management.
  • Experience or interest in working with people from diverse cultures.
  • Native level Thai speaker and proficiency or fluency in English.


  • This is a full-time two-year fellowship, beginning in September 2020. Full-time employment with EarthRights cannot be guaranteed at the end of the fellowship.

How To Apply


By June 24, 2020, candidates should send an email with the subject line “Mekong Legal Fellow” to with the following documents:

  • Cover letter describing their interest in the position
  • CV or resume
  • List of 2-3 references with contact information
  • 3-5 pages of sample or extract of legal writing or writing on a relevant topic or issue without editing

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

EarthRights International is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices, and actively encourages people of color, women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQI people to apply.