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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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby ccs224 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:52 pm

Wow, thanks for the great responses. I'm definitely most interested in PI environmental law (doing effect PI work is really much more of a motivation for me going to law school than an interest in law itself), particularly around wilderness and public lands law. Being able to get clinical experience is also very important to me. Lewis and Clark's International Environmental Law Project and PEAC both seem pretty awesome. Off the top of my head, I don't know if GW has a dedicated environmental clinic, but their externship and journal opportunities might be strong enough to make up for that. UW has a good environmental clinic, that seems to have done some impressive work in the past, but they just lost a good amount of funding and are scaling it back.

Right now, it seems like the ability to get experience with a national organization in DC through GW might outweigh the benefits of being in the NW.

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

Postby observationalist » Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:59 pm

Just a few more things to consider about Vanderbilt's environmental law program (though if you've been to Nashville and really don't want to live in the midsouth for three years, your personal considerations plus $$$ options at other schools would be enough of a reason to change my vote to somewhere else):

- you can spend a semester working fulltime in DC with the DoJ's ENRD, or the Environmental Law Institute (we have a partnership with them which I'll get to below), or EPA, etc. that would get you some of that great national exposure you're looking for. plus, you'd be taking classes with the former Chief of Staff of the EPA under Clinton, former EPA Assistant Administrator for Water under Bush I, the Chairman of the Marine Stewardship Council's BOD, and (if you want) interning for the former EPA General Counsel under Clinton while you were in Nashville. most environmental profs have experience in the field but IMO these are some of the best, and the advice they've given me in the last three years has been excellent. Each of them have been very interested in helping us get where we want, which goes a lot further than simply having a top academic who publishes a lot. Vandenbergh alone is amazing in that he actually does both... we hope Harvard doesn't take him but it's probably in his best career interests to move up the ladder if given the chance. In the meantime, though, we get the benefit.

- at the local level, Nashville is a greening city with a lot of innovative planning initiatives. Mayor Dean and his wife are both Vandy JD alumni and have been very committed to green planning and public transportation, and students have had multiple opportunities to interact and work with metro government.

- the Environmental Law Society has ties to two of the best national environmental PI networks in the country, the Waterkeeper Alliance and the Land Trust Alliance. There are plenty of outfits in the PNW that belong to both membership orgs, and interning with/working for them is an amazing experience (I've done both and would gladly give you more info on them, even if you end up somewhere else). we've also got contacts with the public land commission in Portland and a great litigation group working in Seattle. you could be interning with those organizations during the summer if you came here, but you won't face much competition from your peers because of our geographic diversity in our career goals and the fact that we are not an environmental law school to the exclusion of other pursuits. The biggest problem with attending L&C, Pace or Vermont is that most people want to do the same thing after graduation. They end up competing not only against themselves but against the smattering of likeminded students from every law school that is more competitive to attend, and at least ITE there are not enough PI jobs to go around for those who want them. It helps to go somewhere where you can differentiate yourself.

- We've got IMO the best environmental law journal in the country, primarily because of the exposure we get to policymakers and the lack of citechecking we make people do. ELPAR is relatively new (third issue coming out this year), published jointly with the nonpartisan ELI in DC, and is primarily student-run with input from our advisory board. We review all environmental articles published in journals and law reviews for the previous year, select the ones that offer up the best policy solutions, and then present them to the actual policymakers at our annual symposium on Capitol Hill. This year we're actually holding two conferences, one in DC and the other on local green building initiatives in Nashville. When it's all said and done we end up knowing about every new piece of environmental scholarship published in the country, some badly needed sense about how to determine relevant policy solutions from academic theory, and the opportunity to package and present the authors' ideas to people who are in positions to make things happen. Plus, we have fun.

- We don't yet have an environmental law clinic... this is the one major downside and the one thing that seems to keep us out of different rankings for environmental law programs. They had the option a few years ago of either pursuing a clinic or a new journal and they went with ELPAR instead because of its novelty. That said, we've been working to get a new Cumberland Riverkeeper opened up and if that happens we'll have an excellent client for a new clinic and a great reason to develop it based on the Pace/Riverkeeper model. Pace's E-law program is up there with L&C and Vermont, and this is one development I'm going to be encouraging the school to pursue even after I'm off working.

- Tennessee needs our help. I'm serious about this... you can stay in a green area that's saturated with likeminded people if you want, but except for Texas and Mississippi we are in one of the worst states for environmental protection. Tennessee still has things like industry-bribed mayors drinking tainted water in publicity stunts to keep poor communities from complaining when arsenic pops up in tests; environmental justice issues like the one in Dickson, where black families were purposely left uninformed that their well-water was contaminated from a nearby landfill while white families were ordered to hook up to the public drinking supply; the devastating mountaintop removal going on in Appalachia; significant water deterioration along two major American rivers due to decades of management and then mismanagement by the TVA; and in general a public that often acts against their own self-interest because of the unfortunate politicization of environmentalism that paints Tennessee native Al Gore as an evil conspiracy theorist asking the common man to give up his pickup truck while rich folk like the Gores relax in mansions and extravagant houseboats. There's plenty of legal work to be done with groups like the Tennessee Environmental Counsel, the local Sierra Club chapter, Southern Environmental Law Center, United Mountain Defense, and you'll get some great cases under your belt if you do.

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ccs224
Posts: 465
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby ccs224 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:19 am

observationalist wrote:Just a few more things to consider about Vanderbilt's environmental law program (though if you've been to Nashville and really don't want to live in the midsouth for three years, your personal considerations plus $$$ options at other schools would be enough of a reason to change my vote to somewhere else):

- you can spend a semester working fulltime in DC with the DoJ's ENRD, or the Environmental Law Institute (we have a partnership with them which I'll get to below), or EPA, etc. that would get you some of that great national exposure you're looking for. plus, you'd be taking classes with the former Chief of Staff of the EPA under Clinton, former EPA Assistant Administrator for Water under Bush I, the Chairman of the Marine Stewardship Council's BOD, and (if you want) interning for the former EPA General Counsel under Clinton while you were in Nashville. most environmental profs have experience in the field but IMO these are some of the best, and the advice they've given me in the last three years has been excellent. Each of them have been very interested in helping us get where we want, which goes a lot further than simply having a top academic who publishes a lot. Vandenbergh alone is amazing in that he actually does both... we hope Harvard doesn't take him but it's probably in his best career interests to move up the ladder if given the chance. In the meantime, though, we get the benefit.

- at the local level, Nashville is a greening city with a lot of innovative planning initiatives. Mayor Dean and his wife are both Vandy JD alumni and have been very committed to green planning and public transportation, and students have had multiple opportunities to interact and work with metro government.

- the Environmental Law Society has ties to two of the best national environmental PI networks in the country, the Waterkeeper Alliance and the Land Trust Alliance. There are plenty of outfits in the PNW that belong to both membership orgs, and interning with/working for them is an amazing experience (I've done both and would gladly give you more info on them, even if you end up somewhere else). we've also got contacts with the public land commission in Portland and a great litigation group working in Seattle. you could be interning with those organizations during the summer if you came here, but you won't face much competition from your peers because of our geographic diversity in our career goals and the fact that we are not an environmental law school to the exclusion of other pursuits. The biggest problem with attending L&C, Pace or Vermont is that most people want to do the same thing after graduation. They end up competing not only against themselves but against the smattering of likeminded students from every law school that is more competitive to attend, and at least ITE there are not enough PI jobs to go around for those who want them. It helps to go somewhere where you can differentiate yourself.

- We've got IMO the best environmental law journal in the country, primarily because of the exposure we get to policymakers and the lack of citechecking we make people do. ELPAR is relatively new (third issue coming out this year), published jointly with the nonpartisan ELI in DC, and is primarily student-run with input from our advisory board. We review all environmental articles published in journals and law reviews for the previous year, select the ones that offer up the best policy solutions, and then present them to the actual policymakers at our annual symposium on Capitol Hill. This year we're actually holding two conferences, one in DC and the other on local green building initiatives in Nashville. When it's all said and done we end up knowing about every new piece of environmental scholarship published in the country, some badly needed sense about how to determine relevant policy solutions from academic theory, and the opportunity to package and present the authors' ideas to people who are in positions to make things happen. Plus, we have fun.

- We don't yet have an environmental law clinic... this is the one major downside and the one thing that seems to keep us out of different rankings for environmental law programs. They had the option a few years ago of either pursuing a clinic or a new journal and they went with ELPAR instead because of its novelty. That said, we've been working to get a new Cumberland Riverkeeper opened up and if that happens we'll have an excellent client for a new clinic and a great reason to develop it based on the Pace/Riverkeeper model. Pace's E-law program is up there with L&C and Vermont, and this is one development I'm going to be encouraging the school to pursue even after I'm off working.

- Tennessee needs our help. I'm serious about this... you can stay in a green area that's saturated with likeminded people if you want, but except for Texas and Mississippi we are in one of the worst states for environmental protection. Tennessee still has things like industry-bribed mayors drinking tainted water in publicity stunts to keep poor communities from complaining when arsenic pops up in tests; environmental justice issues like the one in Dickson, where black families were purposely left uninformed that their well-water was contaminated from a nearby landfill while white families were ordered to hook up to the public drinking supply; the devastating mountaintop removal going on in Appalachia; significant water deterioration along two major American rivers due to decades of management and then mismanagement by the TVA; and in general a public that often acts against their own self-interest because of the unfortunate politicization of environmentalism that paints Tennessee native Al Gore as an evil conspiracy theorist asking the common man to give up his pickup truck while rich folk like the Gores relax in mansions and extravagant houseboats. There's plenty of legal work to be done with groups like the Tennessee Environmental Counsel, the local Sierra Club chapter, Southern Environmental Law Center, United Mountain Defense, and you'll get some great cases under your belt if you do.



Thanks, observationalist. I have to say, I've been wavering in my feelings about Vanderbilt simply because I don't really have much interest in ending up in the South. It's actually somewhat reassuring to see somebody advocating for it, because most of the people I've talked to (all very coastal centric, for what it's worth) have written it off simply because of it's location.

Vanderbilt does have a great environmental program and a lot of strong professors. I did know that they had opportunities for working in DC over the summer - I'm wondering how you think these match up against actually going to school in DC or developing local connections in the PNW.

I'm also very familiar with Waterkeepers and the Land Trust Alliance, though I didn't know that Vanderbilt's ELS had much connection to them. They are both great organizations. That said, many schools also have similar connections (the Pace/Waterkeepers being the most obvious); do you know how many grads end up at this orgs, or what kind of work students do with them?

As for the journal/clinic thing, one of the major considerations with Vanderbilt's environmental law journal has been that it is so new. I do like the idea that it requires a strong level of knowledge in significant developments in environmental law, but do you think that it stands up strongly (in terms of eventual hiring potential) against more established clinics or journals, such as LC's Environmental Law Journal or GW's Journal of Energy and Environmental Law?

I know that pretty much no one on TLS has the ability to answer these questions (that is, to say, go here, absolutely), but I would appreciate your continued insight.

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beef wellington
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby beef wellington » Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:32 am

I voted for GW. Networking and experience are so important for PI and you'll be able to intern locally in DC at those national orgs during the school year when the application process isn't nearly as competitive as it is for summer positions. Add in the money and I think it's a pretty easy choice.

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sophistry
Posts: 161
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby sophistry » Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:49 pm

beef wellington wrote:I voted for GW. Networking and experience are so important for PI and you'll be able to intern locally in DC at those national orgs during the school year when the application process isn't nearly as competitive as it is for summer positions. Add in the money and I think it's a pretty easy choice.


+1

There's been a lot of good commentary here for you to digest, but I really don't see how you can pass up that GW scholarship. GW will get you those national PI connections you need. Unless you graduate bottom of your class, you'll find a PI job in the NW no problem.

Besides, if you *gasp* change your mind on what you want to study after your first year or two, GW will still be solid while a school like L&C won't.

This being said, none of your options are bad. I'm quite jealous frankly. Take a good look at your financial future, then go with your gut.

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ccs224
Posts: 465
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby ccs224 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:55 pm

Thanks everyone for giving great comments. I'm wondering why there isn't a PI forum on TLS so that we can consolidate all this shite.

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beef wellington
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Re: Environmental PI law in the NW - Help!

Postby beef wellington » Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:25 pm

ccs224 wrote:Thanks everyone for giving great comments. I'm wondering why there isn't a PI forum on TLS so that we can consolidate all this shite.

Best idea evar.




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