Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Which is the best choice?

George Washington ($105 schol.)
13
31%
BC ($84 schol, possibly full ride)
0
No votes
BU ($45 + PI schol)
0
No votes
UW (Nothing!)
7
17%
Lewis and Clark ($90)
17
40%
Vanderbilt ($54)
3
7%
USC (waiting to hear)
2
5%
WUSTL ($78)
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 42

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ccs224
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Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby ccs224 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:19 pm

Here is the short version: I eventually want to practice PI environmental law in the Northwest (I’d consider anything from San Francisco to Vancouver, but would love to be back in Seattle). I’ve received a lot of great offers, but the few west coast schools that have admitted me have been short on money or have week environmental law programs. I’m leaning towards GW, as they have a strong environmental program and have offered one of the best scholarships. I also think that, being in DC, the location of GW would allow a lot more opportunities to gain experience with national organizations that would have regional branches back west. However, I’m also a bit worried about being so far from where I eventually want to end up. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Long version:
Here are some of my current thoughts.
GW – Offered 30k a year plus free first year housing. Location in DC is tempting, though I actually hate DC as a town. They have a good environmental program and a decent environmental journal.


BC – Strong environmental program, but reputation is strongest in New England, where I don’t want to end up. They’ve offered a generous “Alumni Scholarship” and it seems like I might get their full tuition Public Service Scholarship.

BU – No real environmental program to speak of, but a good PI rep otherwise. They’ve offered me a 15k/year scholarship plus their Public Interest Scholarship, though I’m waiting to see what that offer adds up to.

UW – Obviously, the strongest school in the pacific northwest. However, I’m not sure how much of a boost this would be for PI environmental law, unless it was with a totally regional organization. They are one of the few schools that aren’t giving me a penny of merit aid. They’ve also cut back their environmental law clinic. Would the location and regional reputation outweigh the benefits of an east coast school with a stronger environmental law program and more scholarship?

Vanderbilt – They have a good environmental program, a high ranking, and have offered a decent amount of money in merit aid. However, I don’t like the South and don’t really want to go to Nashville.

USC – Accepted, highly ranked, not a strong environmental program. Waiting on merit aid, which is really the only thing that would make me consider it, even though it’s the best west coast school I’ve gotten into.

Lewis and Clark – Nice scholarship (30k/year), low cost of living, great environmental program. However, employment prospects and low overall quality of the school (sorry, L&C – I love you, but you really aren’t that strong outside of environmental and animal law) make this unlikely right now.

Unlikely – UTexas, WUSTL.

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whitman
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby whitman » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:35 pm

As a southerner, please don't come down here with that attitude.

ccs224 wrote:Here is the short version: I eventually want to practice PI environmental law in the Northwest (I’d consider anything from San Francisco to Vancouver, but would love to be back in Seattle). I’ve received a lot of great offers, but the few west coast schools that have admitted me have been short on money or have week environmental law programs. I’m leaning towards GW, as they have a strong environmental program and have offered one of the best scholarships. I also think that, being in DC, the location of GW would allow a lot more opportunities to gain experience with national organizations that would have regional branches back west. However, I’m also a bit worried about being so far from where I eventually want to end up. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Long version:
Here are some of my current thoughts.
GW – Offered 30k a year plus free first year housing. Location in DC is tempting, though I actually hate DC as a town. They have a good environmental program and a decent environmental journal.


BC – Strong environmental program, but reputation is strongest in New England, where I don’t want to end up. They’ve offered a generous “Alumni Scholarship” and it seems like I might get their full tuition Public Service Scholarship.

BU – No real environmental program to speak of, but a good PI rep otherwise. They’ve offered me a 15k/year scholarship plus their Public Interest Scholarship, though I’m waiting to see what that offer adds up to.

UW – Obviously, the strongest school in the pacific northwest. However, I’m not sure how much of a boost this would be for PI environmental law, unless it was with a totally regional organization. They are one of the few schools that aren’t giving me a penny of merit aid. They’ve also cut back their environmental law clinic. Would the location and regional reputation outweigh the benefits of an east coast school with a stronger environmental law program and more scholarship?

Vanderbilt – They have a good environmental program, a high ranking, and have offered a decent amount of money in merit aid. However, I don’t like the South and don’t really want to go to Nashville.

USC – Accepted, highly ranked, not a strong environmental program. Waiting on merit aid, which is really the only thing that would make me consider it, even though it’s the best west coast school I’ve gotten into.

Lewis and Clark – Nice scholarship (30k/year), low cost of living, great environmental program. However, employment prospects and low overall quality of the school (sorry, L&C – I love you, but you really aren’t that strong outside of environmental and animal law) make this unlikely right now.

Unlikely – UTexas, WUSTL.

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ccs224
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby ccs224 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:49 pm

whitman wrote:As a southerner, please don't come down here with that attitude.


Ha! Just saying what's true, though I would be willing to suffer through your slow-talking, church-going, chew-chewing ways for a few years if it pays off in the long wrong. I might even come to love it.

I am a bit surprised, though, by the early votes for L&C. Does anyone really think it's the best choice, or just the obvious one? It looks like most environmental law grads who work PI end up in small, Oregon orgs, which wouldn't be a bad place to end up, but I'm not sure if it's where I want to start off. I've yet to see a national environmental org with many L&C alumni on its staff.

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chadwick218
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby chadwick218 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:56 pm

I apologize in advance if this is already posted somewhere, but are you a resident of the State of Washington?

To help narrow things down and with current scholarship numbers, my choice would be b/w UW, GW, Vandy, and L&C. If you are deadset on practicing in the PSW, then UW are you best bets, but Vandy and GW will certainly give you a little bit more national flexibility. At this point, GW's scholarship offer seems a little hard to pass up. I would forget about attending BC or BU.

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ccs224
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby ccs224 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:03 pm

chadwick218 wrote:I apologize in advance if this is already posted somewhere, but are you a resident of the State of Washington?

To help narrow things down and with current scholarship numbers, my choice would be b/w UW, GW, Vandy, and L&C. If you are deadset on practicing in the PSW, then UW are you best bets, but Vandy and GW will certainly give you a little bit more national flexibility. At this point, GW's scholarship offer seems a little hard to pass up. I would forget about attending BC or BU.


I grew up in Washington, but have been gone for awhile, so I would be paying out of state tuition for the first year (the second and third years would be at instate rates, regardless of whether I can get residency or not). I'm also leaning towards GW, though it looks like both BC and BU might be offering very competitive scholarships. I do really want to go to UW, though it would seem crazy to pay full price there when turning down almost-full scholarships at several higher ranked schools.

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vegansistah
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby vegansistah » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:42 pm

First of all congrats, you have some very solid offers at excellent schools. Although I voted for GW, I can understand the L&C votes as well. GW makes sense because of its rank and the fact you are also getting a full tuition. If anything, I say get connected while in DC politically and bring that experience back home to the NW. Your job prospects will likely be the same, if not better, coming from GW with its national pull as they would be from L&C.

For the record, you'd have a better time at L&C, and let's be honest- you may stand a better chance of graduating in the top 5%. (With your creds, though, that will likely not be hard anywhere you go.)

Finally, as far as employment outlook with the national environmental groups, that is basically a crap shoot and more of function of your connections and involvement. I am making the decision between L&C and American right now, and am only keeping American in the running because of its location and the fact that I may be interested in getting involved in the environmental/animal rights lobby. I know the folks in the those environmental groups and they definitely cite connections, involvement and being in the right place at the right time as best bets for landing employment.

Good luck!

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ccs224
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby ccs224 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:21 am

vegansistah wrote:First of all congrats, you have some very solid offers at excellent schools. Although I voted for GW, I can understand the L&C votes as well. GW makes sense because of its rank and the fact you are also getting a full tuition. If anything, I say get connected while in DC politically and bring that experience back home to the NW. Your job prospects will likely be the same, if not better, coming from GW with its national pull as they would be from L&C.

For the record, you'd have a better time at L&C, and let's be honest- you may stand a better chance of graduating in the top 5%. (With your creds, though, that will likely not be hard anywhere you go.)

Finally, as far as employment outlook with the national environmental groups, that is basically a crap shoot and more of function of your connections and involvement. I am making the decision between L&C and American right now, and am only keeping American in the running because of its location and the fact that I may be interested in getting involved in the environmental/animal rights lobby. I know the folks in the those environmental groups and they definitely cite connections, involvement and being in the right place at the right time as best bets for landing employment.

Good luck!


I definitely get the connections/involvement thing, which is what is pushing me more to GW than UW or L&C (and BU/BC, barring a full ride). I work in a non-prof now and it's pretty apparent that your experience within different non-prof circles trumps a lot of other factors (ie, "Oh, you worked with somesuch org. Do you know whomever? You should do xyz with us"), and I think that being in DC would allow for more of that sort of networking, though my worry is how transferable those networks would be when planning on basically skipping town after law school.

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jcl2
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby jcl2 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:13 pm

I voted UW, I have a pretty strong bias, but hear me out. You should look not just at what scholarship money schools are offering you, but at what your total cost of attendance will be. I didn't do this for all of the schools on your list, but comparing UW and GW, even with $105k in scholarships from GW, you will still end up paying another $105k after your scholarships based on their total cost of attendance estimate of $210k. At UW with one year of out of state and two years of in-state, your estimated total cost of attendance is $131k without any aid, not a big enough difference, IMO, to justify going to GW over UW if you want to end up in the NW, or even anywhere on the West Coast. You should compare all of the schools you are looking at like that, based on total cost.

UW is the best school in the NW, it will give you better employment prospects in the NW than any of the other schools you are considering, and I don't think the money you are being offered by any of those schools makes up for that.

Also, have you gotten your financial aid package from UW yet? I haven't gotten mine. They don't give out a lot of merit aid, in part because tuition is relatively low for everyone, but they do give some merit based aid and some need based aid, so you might get something.

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ccs224
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby ccs224 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:53 pm

jcl2 wrote:I voted UW, I have a pretty strong bias, but hear me out. You should look not just at what scholarship money schools are offering you, but at what your total cost of attendance will be. I didn't do this for all of the schools on your list, but comparing UW and GW, even with $105k in scholarships from GW, you will still end up paying another $105k after your scholarships based on their total cost of attendance estimate of $210k. At UW with one year of out of state and two years of in-state, your estimated total cost of attendance is $131k without any aid, not a big enough difference, IMO, to justify going to GW over UW if you want to end up in the NW, or even anywhere on the West Coast. You should compare all of the schools you are looking at like that, based on total cost.

UW is the best school in the NW, it will give you better employment prospects in the NW than any of the other schools you are considering, and I don't think the money you are being offered by any of those schools makes up for that.

Also, have you gotten your financial aid package from UW yet? I haven't gotten mine. They don't give out a lot of merit aid, in part because tuition is relatively low for everyone, but they do give some merit based aid and some need based aid, so you might get something.


Thanks, JCL2. I have been looking at total cost, and I know that in the long run, GW wouldn't be much cheaper than UW (though I'm estimating more around $90 to cover remaining tuition and COL - I'm pretty cheap). What GW does have going for it is a stronger environmental program and the DC location. I still haven't decided which of these things (govt orgs and national connections at GW, versus PNW orgs and connections at UW) will be the most beneficial overall.

Another major problem is that most of my current connections in environmental fields are from the East Coast. They all think highly of GW, but I'm not sure how much its reputation will translate to the Northwest.

Haven't hear anything from UW about aid at this point. I'll certainly be waiting until I do. I'm also considering writing them to try and lobby for some merit aid, based on other scholarships, though I'm not sure if that will be very successful.

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jcl2
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby jcl2 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:05 pm

ccs224 wrote:
jcl2 wrote:I voted UW, I have a pretty strong bias, but hear me out. You should look not just at what scholarship money schools are offering you, but at what your total cost of attendance will be. I didn't do this for all of the schools on your list, but comparing UW and GW, even with $105k in scholarships from GW, you will still end up paying another $105k after your scholarships based on their total cost of attendance estimate of $210k. At UW with one year of out of state and two years of in-state, your estimated total cost of attendance is $131k without any aid, not a big enough difference, IMO, to justify going to GW over UW if you want to end up in the NW, or even anywhere on the West Coast. You should compare all of the schools you are looking at like that, based on total cost.

UW is the best school in the NW, it will give you better employment prospects in the NW than any of the other schools you are considering, and I don't think the money you are being offered by any of those schools makes up for that.

Also, have you gotten your financial aid package from UW yet? I haven't gotten mine. They don't give out a lot of merit aid, in part because tuition is relatively low for everyone, but they do give some merit based aid and some need based aid, so you might get something.


Thanks, JCL2. I have been looking at total cost, and I know that in the long run, GW wouldn't be much cheaper than UW (though I'm estimating more around $90 to cover remaining tuition and COL - I'm pretty cheap). What GW does have going for it is a stronger environmental program and the DC location. I still haven't decided which of these things (govt orgs and national connections at GW, versus PNW orgs and connections at UW) will be the most beneficial overall.

Another major problem is that most of my current connections in environmental fields are from the East Coast. They all think highly of GW, but I'm not sure how much its reputation will translate to the Northwest.

Haven't hear anything from UW about aid at this point. I'll certainly be waiting until I do. I'm also considering writing them to try and lobby for some merit aid, based on other scholarships, though I'm not sure if that will be very successful.


Yeah, GW certainly isn't a bad choice, especially if you are willing to consider starting your career out there, and that is a pretty impressive scholarship from them. I just think that if getting back to the NW is a high priority for you UW would make more sense and the cost isn't that different.

I am planning on doing environmental/natural resources law as well, and briefly considered applying to GW based on their strength in that area, but my wife wouldn't have been willing to move to DC. I wouldn't have chosen it over UW anyway, since I have connections in the natural resources/evironmental field in Washington and I know that I want to work here. I really lucked out getting into UW, my decisions would have been much more difficult otherwise.

Congrats on your acceptances and scholarships! and good luck with your decision.

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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby insidethetwenty » Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:46 pm

ccs224 wrote:Ha! Just saying what's true, though I would be willing to suffer through your slow-talking, church-going, chew-chewing ways for a few years if it pays off in the long wrong. I might even come to love it.

I'm from the South, and I've lived in Seattle myself. Since you say you'd like to go back, I assume you've spent time there as well. When I lived there, I went to a reasonably conservative church right next to UW. Any time I ventured more than 25-30 miles out of Seattle/Bellevue proper, I met plenty of people who talked at the same speed as I do. I also remember at least one or two folks out in Washington state who packed a big lip (not many people actually chew anymore...) just like people in the South do.

I always chuckled when smug Seattlites gawked at my southern-ness when all they would have to do is drive up to Sequim and meet people that are twice the redneck I am.

Good luck finding a place in America without rednecks. I hope you'll be very happy...

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jcl2
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby jcl2 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:05 pm

insidethetwenty wrote:
ccs224 wrote:Ha! Just saying what's true, though I would be willing to suffer through your slow-talking, church-going, chew-chewing ways for a few years if it pays off in the long wrong. I might even come to love it.

I'm from the South, and I've lived in Seattle myself. Since you say you'd like to go back, I assume you've spent time there as well. When I lived there, I went to a reasonably conservative church right next to UW. Any time I ventured more than 25-30 miles out of Seattle/Bellevue proper, I met plenty of people who talked at the same speed as I do. I also remember at least one or two folks out in Washington state who packed a big lip (not many people actually chew anymore...) just like people in the South do.

I always chuckled when smug Seattlites gawked at my southern-ness when all they would have to do is drive up to Sequim and meet people that are twice the redneck I am.

Good luck finding a place in America without rednecks. I hope you'll be very happy...


Ha, yeah once you leave the Puget Sound metro area, Washington is about as conservative as anyplace, the stereotypes most people have in their minds about Idaho are probably closer than the Seattle stereotypes in characterizing much of the state. Its funny how many people in Seattle don't really seem to realize this, I'm not sure if they don't ever leave the city to visit other parts of the state or if they are just oblivious to the locals when they do.

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ccs224
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby ccs224 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:09 pm

@insidethetwenty - Wasn't looking to offend you, just stating my personal preference. I'm fairly urban and coastal centric, sorry. And yes, I grew up on the Eastside, so I knew plenty of people who chewed, hunted, denied evolution, etc. I didn't much care for them. There are plenty of rednecks out West (I moreorless come from redneck stock), and you don't even have to drive 20 minutes out of Seattle now to watch thong wearing high school drop outs serve coffee to pot bellied old men with rifles on the backs of their trucks through drive-thru windows, though I'd wager that it's not as bad as it might be 30 minutes out of Nashville. As a big ole density-loving queer, the South just really isn't what I'm looking for, though I have heard that Nashville is a lovely place and still haven't written it off.

@JCL - Thanks for the thoughts. Since you have connections in the area, I'm wondering how much you think GW (or any T15-30, non West Coast school) would transfer back to the northwest, especially if it came with experience with national organizations.

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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby BenJ » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:24 pm

Environmental = L&C, automatically. They place on par with the lower T14 into environmental jobs. GW can't possibly compete with that. Wanting to be in the NW is an added bonus, and L&C probably places similarly to GW in the Northwest anyway, Seattle being a very unsaturated market and L&C controlling the (small) Portland market.

UW would also be a great choice, but it's not worth it over the money at L&C. Definitely wait to hear about aid from them, though, and look into how easy it is to establish Washington residency for 2L and 3L.

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tallboone
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby tallboone » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:26 pm

Follow your heart and the school's LRAP.

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ccs224
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby ccs224 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:56 pm

BenJ wrote:Environmental = L&C, automatically. They place on par with the lower T14 into environmental jobs. GW can't possibly compete with that. Wanting to be in the NW is an added bonus, and L&C probably places similarly to GW in the Northwest anyway, Seattle being a very unsaturated market and L&C controlling the (small) Portland market.

UW would also be a great choice, but it's not worth it over the money at L&C. Definitely wait to hear about aid from them, though, and look into how easy it is to establish Washington residency for 2L and 3L.


Really? From what I've heard, UW has the leg up on the Portland market, above both L&C and UO, though this is generally for non-environmental law. One of my major concerns is that Lewis and Clark alumni don't show up often in staff bios for large environmental orgs. Along the same lines, I don't remember seeing any environmental-specific PI work listed in UW's lists of where grads end up for the last two years. I would love to be corrected on this though.

Getting residency in WA is hard. I probably won't get it for the whole time I'm in law school (it requires full time work and makes you prove you aren't there just for studies), but it's not really an issue since UW guarantees instate tuition after the first year (via grant if you can't establish residency).

And, tallboone, I would follow my heart if it gave me any specific direction! It's not, nor do any of the schools have great LRAPs; I'll probably be relying mostly on IBR. Sigh.

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whitman
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby whitman » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:59 pm

I say go to Lewis and Clark, where you can live in a queer, urban-centric bubble and smugly condemn the rest of America to its chew-chew misery. I have lived in both Nashville and Seattle, among other places, and despite being a highly educated, liberal guy, I constantly encountered condescension from Seattlites who a) openly expressed astonishment that I was educated, being from the south (literally things like, "But, but you're so educated!") and b) belligerently asserted their hand-me-down politics that show not the slightest hint of research or careful thought. Of course, in the south, people tend to harbor similar dislike for northerners and many prejudices, as well. But my point is, you're exhibiting the exact opposite side of the coin, with the coin being the ignorance you seem to dislike. Blind elitism is not cool.

Sorry to rant here, but damn, why don't you come down to Nashville, have a beer, enjoy the good weather, and see what the fuck it's like before you decide that an entire swath of country is full of ignorant barbarians.

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jcl2
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby jcl2 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:10 pm

ccs224 wrote:@insidethetwenty - Wasn't looking to offend you, just stating my personal preference. I'm fairly urban and coastal centric, sorry. And yes, I grew up on the Eastside, so I knew plenty of people who chewed, hunted, denied evolution, etc. I didn't much care for them. There are plenty of rednecks out West (I moreorless come from redneck stock), and you don't even have to drive 20 minutes out of Seattle now to watch thong wearing high school drop outs serve coffee to pot bellied old men with rifles on the backs of their trucks through drive-thru windows, though I'd wager that it's not as bad as it might be 30 minutes out of Nashville. As a big ole density-loving queer, the South just really isn't what I'm looking for, though I have heard that Nashville is a lovely place and still haven't written it off.

@JCL - Thanks for the thoughts. Since you have connections in the area, I'm wondering how much you think GW (or any T15-30, non West Coast school) would transfer back to the northwest, especially if it came with experience with national organizations.


I'm really not sure. My connections here aren't that special, just that my wife and I have both worked in natural resources management in Washington, myself in government, and my wife in government and for a non-profit, and made pretty good reputations for ourselves both professionally and academically (well as good as possible in only a few years). As a result, through connections that I or my wife have made, I know a few lawyers in the environmental/natural resources legal field, and more importantly know people who know lawyers in the field. I don't have any real inside info, especially regarding PI. The few lawyers who I talked to before I had decided where I was going over a year ago all worked for big firms and pretty much gave the standard go to a T5-14 (depending on who you ask) or UW.

My speculation is that a few years out of school with good experience with national organizations, you could probably make your way back here regardless of where you went to school. That is just speculation though. Then again, my experience with the general environmental non-profit sector in the NW is that it is relatively small and getting jobs is pretty much based on who you know, so if the legal side of things is similar, you will have to work pretty hard to cultivate relationships with people who could recommend you or hire you when openings come up, which could be difficult if you are starting your career in another part of the country.

I would suggest looking up some organizations you think you might be interested in working for and contacting attorneys there to see if they will share their opinions with you.

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ccs224
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby ccs224 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:19 pm

whitman wrote:I have lived in both Nashville and Seattle, among other places, and despite being a highly educated, liberal guy, I constantly encountered condescension from Seattlites who a) openly expressed astonishment that I was educated, being from the south (literally things like, "But, but you're so educated!") and b) belligerently asserted their hand-me-down politics that show not the slightest hint of research or careful thought. Of course, in the south, people tend to harbor similar dislike for northerners and many prejudices, as well. But my point is, you're exhibiting the exact opposite side of the coin, with the coin being the ignorance you seem to dislike. Blind elitism is not cool.


Whoa, this thread is going in a wholly unintended direction. Let me first just say that I don't entirely discount the south and know many people from the south that I love dearly (one of my best friends is so southern that her middle name is, really, Mississippi.) I have family throughout the South, including in Nashville (my father came from a large Catholic family in St. Louis, and you either went south or west, apparently). I don't hate the place. It's just not really for me and if Vanderbilt or WUSTL were located in different cities, I might give them more thought, but at this point in my life location is pretty important. If people don't like New York, or Seattle or wherever, I find that equally fine and don't take personal offense, even though my own opinion differs.

As for Seattle being hostile to Southerners, that's sort of par for the course there, I guess. Seattle is not a very welcoming city overall (hence the "Seattle Freeze") and might be equally disdainful of New Yorkers. many mossbacks will openly hate on CA with a passion that is also probably undeserved. This probably comes from a mix of local pride, isolationism, and a general belief that Seattlites live in the greatest place in the world (kind of right), so everyone else can fuck off. I'm hoping this doesn't hold true for law stuff, though.

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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby momentumflux » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:27 pm

I am in more or less the same boat as the original poster in this thread, and I'd like to thank everyone for the helpful and cogent advice here. I cast my vote for L&C and will probably be attending there in the fall (with the same scholarship, coincidentally). From what I have read and heard from L&C alumni, the job market in environmental law is very welcoming to Lewis and Clark graduates, and particularly so in the Pacific Northwest. I do understand your concern about a lack of L&C alumni in large environmental non-profits; I am also a little put off by the fact that L&C does not release statistics about employment at graduation. Nonetheless, I find Portland very charming, and that charm combines with L&C's colossal environmental program into a nearly irresistible call. So, ccs224, I look forward to meeting you in the fall!

On another note, I'm from the South (Alabama), and I also don't like it. I mean, I really really don't like it. For a lot of well-explored, hard-lived reasons. (For example, in Alabama, we have prohibition-style raids on bingo and fund all our education through sales taxes. It's a goofy place to live.) I plan on turning down a full ride to Alabama for the simple reason that I don't want to live or work in the South. I agree that there exists an inaccurate stereotype of the South, but the reality of the South, in my experience, is not a whole lot better than the myth. So, I guess it's not that the whole swath of the country is FULL of ignorant barbarians, but the clamor of the barbarians is certainly loud enough to drive me away.

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ccs224
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby ccs224 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:10 pm

momentumflux wrote:I am in more or less the same boat as the original poster in this thread, and I'd like to thank everyone for the helpful and cogent advice here. I cast my vote for L&C and will probably be attending there in the fall (with the same scholarship, coincidentally). From what I have read and heard from L&C alumni, the job market in environmental law is very welcoming to Lewis and Clark graduates, and particularly so in the Pacific Northwest. I do understand your concern about a lack of L&C alumni in large environmental non-profits; I am also a little put off by the fact that L&C does not release statistics about employment at graduation. Nonetheless, I find Portland very charming, and that charm combines with L&C's colossal environmental program into a nearly irresistible call. So, ccs224, I look forward to meeting you in the fall!

On another note, I'm from the South (Alabama), and I also don't like it. I mean, I really really don't like it. For a lot of well-explored, hard-lived reasons. (For example, in Alabama, we have prohibition-style raids on bingo and fund all our education through sales taxes. It's a goofy place to live.) I plan on turning down a full ride to Alabama for the simple reason that I don't want to live or work in the South. I agree that there exists an inaccurate stereotype of the South, but the reality of the South, in my experience, is not a whole lot better than the myth. So, I guess it's not that the whole swath of the country is FULL of ignorant barbarians, but the clamor of the barbarians is certainly loud enough to drive me away.


Yeah, I like L&C too, and I particularly love the look and location of the school. Maybe I'll see you at the admitted students days!

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whitman
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby whitman » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:39 pm

Yeah my bad for arguing that when you didn't mean too much by it. I was just in a bad, defensive mood from a couple of recent encounters. Best of luck.

HerseyChris
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby HerseyChris » Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:43 pm

I saw your profile on LSN a week or two ago, and knowing nothing about your background, assumed you'd take Vandy with that scholarship offer. However with your stated preference to do environmental law, preferably on the west coast, the choice doesn't seem nearly as easy.
Personally, I voted UW, and I think the vote might be a bit skewed because it says (Nothing!) next to UW and as jcl and you have pointed out, their tuition is lower than the other schools.

I can certainly understand not wanting to live in the south. I've lived in Seattle, Boston, St. Louis, NY, and Chicago, and there's nothing wrong with being choosy about where you live.

Pros and Cons.
L&C
Cost: ~$0 tuition per year, COL a bit lower than Seattle, a bit lower than DC/Bos
Area and rep: Area fits need, reputation is great for the west coast, but perhaps not as good as UW.
Environmental: One of the best in the field, but then again Seattle U is ranked #1 in legal writing and that doesn't seem to do it a bit of good (granted, environmental is more niched than legal writing).
Overall Ranking: 61st

GW
Cost: ~$5k tuition per year, COL would be the highest I'm guessing?
Area and rep: Area is on the opposite coast, reputation is mostly regional, but ranking is high enough that it's almost national (just a guess)
Environmental: Strong ~15th, but how strong on the west coast is to be determined.
Overall Ranking: 28th (but it used to be ~20th)

UW
Cost: ~$25k tuition per year, COL would be slightly lower than GW.
Area and Rep: Area fits need perfectly, rep as 'Harvard of the PNW' also fits need perfectly
Environmental: I was stunned to find UW not ranked among the top 20 Environmental schools, that said it does place a decent amount of emphasis on environmental law I believe.
Overall Rank: 30th, but after the t-18 it's pretty much right there with all the other schools, especially considering lack of competition.

Let me know if any of this is wrong. After doing the study, UW isn't as great of an option as I previously though. Some thoughts:
If you know you absolutely want to work in the PNW, but aren't 100% sure on environmental law, I'd go UW.
If you know you absolutely want to do environmental studies in the PNW, I'd do L&C unless you strongly prefer Seattle over Portland.
If you know you absolutely want to do environmental studies, but wouldn't mind working on the east coast before moving back to the PNW, I'd go GW.
If you know you want to do law, but aren't 80% sure as to environmental law or location, I'd go Vandy (since I consider it, UT, UCLA, USC, and GTown, and Cornell, to be roughly equal).
If you want west coast, but aren't sure about environmental law, and get money from USC, I'd go USC.

Good luck, looks like you have a ton of great options.

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jcl2
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby jcl2 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:28 pm

HerseyChris wrote:I saw your profile on LSN a week or two ago, and knowing nothing about your background, assumed you'd take Vandy with that scholarship offer. However with your stated preference to do environmental law, preferably on the west coast, the choice doesn't seem nearly as easy.
Personally, I voted UW, and I think the vote might be a bit skewed because it says (Nothing!) next to UW and as jcl and you have pointed out, their tuition is lower than the other schools.

I can certainly understand not wanting to live in the south. I've lived in Seattle, Boston, St. Louis, NY, and Chicago, and there's nothing wrong with being choosy about where you live.

Pros and Cons.
L&C
Cost: ~$0 tuition per year, COL a bit lower than Seattle, a bit lower than DC/Bos
Area and rep: Area fits need, reputation is great for the west coast, but perhaps not as good as UW.
Environmental: One of the best in the field, but then again Seattle U is ranked #1 in legal writing and that doesn't seem to do it a bit of good (granted, environmental is more niched than legal writing).
Overall Ranking: 61st

GW
Cost: ~$5k tuition per year, COL would be the highest I'm guessing?
Area and rep: Area is on the opposite coast, reputation is mostly regional, but ranking is high enough that it's almost national (just a guess)
Environmental: Strong ~15th, but how strong on the west coast is to be determined.
Overall Ranking: 28th (but it used to be ~20th)

UW
Cost: ~$25k tuition per year, COL would be slightly lower than GW.
Area and Rep: Area fits need perfectly, rep as 'Harvard of the PNW' also fits need perfectly
Environmental: I was stunned to find UW not ranked among the top 20 Environmental schools, that said it does place a decent amount of emphasis on environmental law I believe.
Overall Rank: 30th, but after the t-18 it's pretty much right there with all the other schools, especially considering lack of competition.

Let me know if any of this is wrong. After doing the study, UW isn't as great of an option as I previously though. Some thoughts:
If you know you absolutely want to work in the PNW, but aren't 100% sure on environmental law, I'd go UW.
If you know you absolutely want to do environmental studies in the PNW, I'd do L&C unless you strongly prefer Seattle over Portland.
If you know you absolutely want to do environmental studies, but wouldn't mind working on the east coast before moving back to the PNW, I'd go GW.
If you know you want to do law, but aren't 80% sure as to environmental law or location, I'd go Vandy (since I consider it, UT, UCLA, USC, and GTown, and Cornell, to be roughly equal).
If you want west coast, but aren't sure about environmental law, and get money from USC, I'd go USC.

Good luck, looks like you have a ton of great options.


Good analysis, I agree for the most part. After thinking about it a bit more, since it sounds like OPs environmental law interest is on the PI side of things GW or L&C may actually be better bets than UW.

I think the reason that UW is not ranked in the USNWR environmental law rankings is because those rankings really focus on PI issue/advocacy oriented environmental law (lots of clinics, big variety of environmental courses, etc). This, admittedly, is what many people think of when they hear environmental law, and also what many people who are interested in going into environmental law think they want to do, but in reality it is a relatively small niche within environmental law, at least if your definition of environmental law includes natural resource law, which I think it should. Most "environmental" lawyers work for firms or the government, not for non-profits, and work in areas like water law, public land use law, land use planning, and regulatory compliance, thus the wide variety of environmental courses and clinics offered at the highly ranked environmental programs are not necessarily that relevant to most people who work in the field, for most it is probably more important to have a background in administrative law than animal law.

Anyway, for me UW fits my purposes very will because I want to work in environmental law for a firm or the government, and UW offers an environmental law concentration track that covers all of the foundational areas of environmental law, has several professors who are experts in areas I am interested in, and for government or firm work it usually makes since to go with the more highly ranked school overall rather than the more highly ranked program. For OP, however, if he is serious about PI environmental law, those clinics and specialized courses may have more value, as will the connections made in such a program. I think GW may actually be the best option if OP is willing to work in DC, since there are many more PI environmental organizations headquartered there than in the NW.

HerseyChris
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby HerseyChris » Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:31 pm

jcl2 wrote:
Good analysis, I agree for the most part. After thinking about it a bit more, since it sounds like OPs environmental law interest is on the PI side of things GW or L&C may actually be better bets than UW.

I think the reason that UW is not ranked in the USNWR environmental law rankings is because those rankings really focus on PI issue/advocacy oriented environmental law (lots of clinics, big variety of environmental courses, etc). This, admittedly, is what many people think of when they hear environmental law, and also what many people who are interested in going into environmental law think they want to do, but in reality it is a relatively small niche within environmental law, at least if your definition of environmental law includes natural resource law, which I think it should. Most "environmental" lawyers work for firms or the government, not for non-profits, and work in areas like water law, public land use law, land use planning, and regulatory compliance, thus the wide variety of environmental courses and clinics offered at the highly ranked environmental programs are not necessarily that relevant to most people who work in the field, for most it is probably more important to have a background in administrative law than animal law.

Anyway, for me UW fits my purposes very will because I want to work in environmental law for a firm or the government, and UW offers an environmental law concentration track that covers all of the foundational areas of environmental law, has several professors who are experts in areas I am interested in, and for government or firm work it usually makes since to go with the more highly ranked school overall rather than the more highly ranked program. For OP, however, if he is serious about PI environmental law, those clinics and specialized courses may have more value, as will the connections made in such a program. I think GW may actually be the best option if OP is willing to work in DC, since there are many more PI environmental organizations headquartered there than in the NW.


Awesome, well thanks jcl2 for the info. I'm interested in environmental studies (as well as Asian Law, or corporate/tax law), but your insight was very informative and helpful. Like you said, most people don't distinguish the differences in environmental studies, and I certainly didn't. That said, it just makes me want an acceptance from UW more.




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