rad law wrote:I will reiterate:
Specialty rankings (aka having a top 3 enviro program) don't mean jack.
Genuine saving the environment PI jobs are also incredibly competitive and prestige oriented. There is not some dearth of people that want to save the environment. The employers, generally, would love to have the T12 grad with an interest in the field and maybe some summer experience in the area rather than the Pace grad, even with the "top 3 enviro program." Sorry.
I disagree with this. First, at least with environmental law, I think people need to stop looking at specialty rankings with some relation to over all rankings, i.e. that specialty rankings would increase someone odds at employment because its ranked X in some specialty. that's not the point of specialty rankings, and they should not be used as such. The point is to direct people towards schools with the best faculty, resources and opportunities for education in that area. No one should look at them as being anything more than that, and should not confuse or discount them to overall rankings.
Second, again, at least in environmental law, its far more important that you specialize in law school and that you get some kind of clinical or real world experience under your belt before you graduate. Very basically this is the point of attending one school with a well developed environmental program over another. The chance to get real world experience before you graduate.
PI organizations may be prestiguige driven in D.C. or NYC, I have no idea, but at least here they are locally driven, and want lawyers who understand the local legal issues. hence a Yale grad with one envrio law class on his resume is going to get skipped over for the kid with 12 enrviro classes, evnrio law review, publications and clinical work and envro centered writing samples. Environmental law is very area specific, and its not easy to learn "on the job." it really won't do much organizations much good to hire a top law school grad who has no knowledge of envrio law over someone who does, regardless of school.
Its the same in private practice. RCRA, CERCLA, CAA, CWA, really can't be learned on the job well enough to hit the ground running, you need to know more than just what the letters stand for.
Is the best advice still go to best ranked school you can get into? YES. But with environmental law its equally important that you go to a school that will allow your resume to be believable when you apply for positions. A generalist JD, even from a top law school, is not going to get put on the top of the stack when the people thumbing through the resumes know they need someone guinally committed to the field and with a track record of doing enriomental law. Its also extremely contacts driven, hence faculty who specialize in he area can be extremely helpful with getting you into positions or introducing yourself to people in the biz. Its also actually very political, in that some organizations really don't like other organizations and some will blacklist you if you work for one or another. Again inside info you need to know that you can't really get if your school is out of touch with the environmental field in a local area.
Finally, Rad your new tar is going to give me a seizer...