Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

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oh77io

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Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby oh77io » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:49 pm

I’m an older (very early 40s) “nontraditional” student and have had a successful career as an environmental scientist before deciding to go to law school with the goal of working in environmental law and policy at the federal level (government or nonprofit).

I applied to Georgetown (on hold) and George Washington (waitlisted) in DC, and also UC Berkeley and Yale (talk about a reach!) and haven’t heard from them yet. I have been accepted at Tulane with $40k year and Ohio State with a full-tuition scholarship.

Being realistic, I am probably going to be choosing between Tulane and Ohio State. I applied to Tulane for their environmental law program. Ohio State, on the other hand, does not have an environmental program - they have some environmental law courses, but I would have to use internships, etc. to tailor my own "program". If you’re wondering why I applied to Ohio State (it's the only school I applied to that doesn’t have an environmental law program), it’s because I’m from Ohio (and went there for my undergrad so I know I like the school) and it's a good school and a feasible option logistically.

So my question then is whether to go to the higher ranked school offering me a full-tuition scholarship but doesn’t have a strong environmental law program, or go to the lower ranked school offering me 73% tuition scholarship (leaving $14,658 a year in loans) that has a strong environmental law program (more classes and permanent faulty, a clinic and journal)?

I don’t want to work in Ohio or the Midwest, and I don’t really want to work in Louisiana or the southeast. I only have academic connections in Ohio. I have both academic and professional connections in Louisiana and professional connections in California (both places I worked as an environmental scientist). Clearly if by some miracle I’m accepted at one of the T14 schools I applied to I’ll be weighing my options differently.

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:14 pm

I'm going to summon Nebby in here to confirm, but I don't think federal work in this area is going to be realistic from either school.

Specialty rankings are meaningless, and neither of these schools have any geographic flexibility. You seem to be examining schools in the same way you would examine an undergraduate or graduate program. Law schools don't function that way. Specialized programs don't matter, clinics only kind of matter, and every school basically teaches the same courses. It's all about job outcomes. If you don't want to work in a specific region, you can't go to a specific regional school.

Nebby wrote:

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pancakes3

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby pancakes3 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:41 pm

GPA/LSAT/Degree?

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby oh77io » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:48 pm

pancakes3 wrote:GPA/LSAT/Degree?

I'm not sure how this relates to my specific question but I'll roll with it...
B.S. Natural Resources 3.71
M.S. Environmental Science 3.92
LSAT 162

oh77io

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby oh77io » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:54 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:I'm going to summon Nebby in here to confirm, but I don't think federal work in this area is going to be realistic from either school.

Specialty rankings are meaningless, and neither of these schools have any geographic flexibility. You seem to be examining schools in the same way you would examine an undergraduate or graduate program. Law schools don't function that way. Specialized programs don't matter, clinics only kind of matter, and every school basically teaches the same courses. It's all about job outcomes. If you don't want to work in a specific region, you can't go to a specific regional school.

Nebby wrote:


I agree that Ohio State is a regional school, but Tulane seems to have a fairly national reach. From what I've read about regional and national schools this seems to be a more pertinent issue with big law. I would think in a field as unique as environmental law there would be an advantage to having focused on environmental law courses in school. I can't imagine someone who only ever took an introductory environmental law class being very successful in practice relative to someone who focused two-thirds of their legal education on the subject.

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby sparkytrainer » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:56 pm

oh77io wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:I'm going to summon Nebby in here to confirm, but I don't think federal work in this area is going to be realistic from either school.

Specialty rankings are meaningless, and neither of these schools have any geographic flexibility. You seem to be examining schools in the same way you would examine an undergraduate or graduate program. Law schools don't function that way. Specialized programs don't matter, clinics only kind of matter, and every school basically teaches the same courses. It's all about job outcomes. If you don't want to work in a specific region, you can't go to a specific regional school.

Nebby wrote:


I agree that Ohio State is a regional school, but Tulane seems to have a fairly national reach. From what I've read about regional and national schools this seems to be a more pertinent issue with big law. I would think in a field as unique as environmental law there would be an advantage to having focused on environmental law courses in school. I can't imagine someone who only ever took an introductory environmental law class being very successful in practice relative to someone who focused two-thirds of their legal education on the subject.



Yeah this is just false. Tulane does not have a national reach. And like others have said, specialities in law school mean literally nothing.

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby oh77io » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:04 pm

sparkytrainer wrote:
oh77io wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:I'm going to summon Nebby in here to confirm, but I don't think federal work in this area is going to be realistic from either school.

Specialty rankings are meaningless, and neither of these schools have any geographic flexibility. You seem to be examining schools in the same way you would examine an undergraduate or graduate program. Law schools don't function that way. Specialized programs don't matter, clinics only kind of matter, and every school basically teaches the same courses. It's all about job outcomes. If you don't want to work in a specific region, you can't go to a specific regional school.

Nebby wrote:


I agree that Ohio State is a regional school, but Tulane seems to have a fairly national reach. From what I've read about regional and national schools this seems to be a more pertinent issue with big law. I would think in a field as unique as environmental law there would be an advantage to having focused on environmental law courses in school. I can't imagine someone who only ever took an introductory environmental law class being very successful in practice relative to someone who focused two-thirds of their legal education on the subject.



Yeah this is just false. Tulane does not have a national reach. And like others have said, specialities in law school mean literally nothing.


So how is everyone defining "national reach" here? I am asking sincerely and not to be snarky. Tulane's employment stats are 43% LA, 12% TX, 23% CA, 32% other states, and 2% foreign. I wouldn't call CA regional for Tulane, and I've found a lot of Tulane law alums working in DC.

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby mcmand » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:07 pm

oh77io wrote:I agree that Ohio State is a regional school, but Tulane seems to have a fairly national reach. From what I've read about regional and national schools this seems to be a more pertinent issue with big law. I would think in a field as unique as environmental law there would be an advantage to having focused on environmental law courses in school. I can't imagine someone who only ever took an introductory environmental law class being very successful in practice relative to someone who focused two-thirds of their legal education on the subject.


You learn on the job in this profession. The extra coursework is interesting to employers in the sense it would show your commitment to the subject matter, but everyone gunning to work for EPA, DOJ ENR division, etc. went to all variety of law schools, and then did relevant internships. Your competition is not based on education specialization but on grades, demonstrated interest, your other internships in law school, and how you interview (assuming you aren't screened out).

From what I can tell environmental law can be a tough nut to crack. I was on my school's environmental law journal (but not interested in pursuing it as a career), and my peers who did want to practice it struggled to get into that work. One of my peers had an EPA fellowship lined up and then Trump got elected, so that evaporated.

You have a really solid GPA. If you could spend a little more time bringing up your LSAT, good schools here in California would be more within your reach, and that would build on your network. I know you're non traditional and older, but if you can sit out this cycle it would benefit your application a lot.

I think even a not so good school in California with a full ride would be better than Tulane or OSU, if you want to practice here. It's harder when uprooting yourself and having to start all over, or trying to break into a legal market far from your school.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:14 pm

oh77io wrote:So how is everyone defining "national reach" here? I am asking sincerely and not to be snarky. Tulane's employment stats are 43% LA, 12% TX, 23% CA, 32% other states, and 2% foreign. I wouldn't call CA regional for Tulane, and I've found a lot of Tulane law alums working in DC.


Texas is right across the border, so it's not inconceivable that there's some reach there. But it's also likely that those students had pre-existing ties to Texas (this is also likely for every other non-LA state). And the California number is 9.3%, which likely means that a larger chunk of biglaw associates are going to CA than to NY. That's interesting, but it's hardly a sign that the school isn't regional without ties to another market.

As for DC: every school will have alums in DC. But look at how old these Tulane alums are. I'm betting that most aren't recent grads.

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby oh77io » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:20 pm

mcmand wrote:
oh77io wrote:I agree that Ohio State is a regional school, but Tulane seems to have a fairly national reach. From what I've read about regional and national schools this seems to be a more pertinent issue with big law. I would think in a field as unique as environmental law there would be an advantage to having focused on environmental law courses in school. I can't imagine someone who only ever took an introductory environmental law class being very successful in practice relative to someone who focused two-thirds of their legal education on the subject.


You learn on the job in this profession. The extra coursework is interesting to employers in the sense it would show your commitment to the subject matter, but everyone gunning to work for EPA, DOJ ENR division, etc. went to all variety of law schools, and then did relevant internships. Your competition is not based on education specialization but on grades, demonstrated interest, your other internships in law school, and how you interview (assuming you aren't screened out).

From what I can tell environmental law can be a tough nut to crack. I was on my school's environmental law journal (but not interested in pursuing it as a career), and my peers who did want to practice it struggled to get into that work. One of my peers had an EPA fellowship lined up and then Trump got elected, so that evaporated.

You have a really solid GPA. If you could spend a little more time bringing up your LSAT, good schools here in California would be more within your reach, and that would build on your network. I know you're non traditional and older, but if you can sit out this cycle it would benefit your application a lot.

I think even a not so good school in California with a full ride would be better than Tulane or OSU, if you want to practice here. It's harder when uprooting yourself and having to start all over, or trying to break into a legal market far from your school.


Thanks for the advice. I know my LSAT is my weak point but I can't really wait out a cycle. Coming from a science background, it's really hard to wrap my mind around regionality being a more important factor than knowledge and expertise. I guess I have some more thinking to do...

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby mcmand » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:25 pm

Have you talked to environmental lawyers? Run these same questions by them. Meet some environmental lawyers here in California and ask how they got into their work, what schools they went to, what skills are valued, and what they think of going to school far away and coming back. They could really help you get a more specific idea of what to do.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby oh77io » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:28 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
oh77io wrote:So how is everyone defining "national reach" here? I am asking sincerely and not to be snarky. Tulane's employment stats are 43% LA, 12% TX, 23% CA, 32% other states, and 2% foreign. I wouldn't call CA regional for Tulane, and I've found a lot of Tulane law alums working in DC.


Texas is right across the border, so it's not inconceivable that there's some reach there. But it's also likely that those students had pre-existing ties to Texas (this is also likely for every other non-LA state). And the California number is 9.3%, which likely means that a larger chunk of biglaw associates are going to CA than to NY. That's interesting, but it's hardly a sign that the school isn't regional without ties to another market.

As for DC: every school will have alums in DC. But look at how old these Tulane alums are. I'm betting that most aren't recent grads.


As for CA, what I was reading actually said 11% and I mistyped the percentage in my reply. Nonetheless, I see what you're saying. The Tulane alums in DC were mostly older and worked their way up, some in New Orleans firms. I wouldn't be wholly opposed to that as I do like living in New Orleans and have a lot of connections here. Obviously going straight to DC from law school would be ideal, but as I said in my original post I'm trying to start thinking about my most realistic options now. Maybe what I need to do is just turn off that part of my brain until I hear from all the schools I applied to...

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby pancakes3 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:30 pm

Your specific question of Tulane or Ohio State is a bad question because based on your stated career goals of going into bigfed or nonprofit, neither school are good options for you.

Asking for your GPA allows us to tell you whether your career goals are obtainable at all, and if so, how to go about it.

Specialty rankings are meaningless and your assumption about courses are wrong. in law, you don't need fundamental classes in order to be successful in practice.

There are no shortage of attorneys who want to practice environmental law, and there is a shortage of job openings. As in any case where there is a high supply of applicants and a small supply of positions, decisions are made at the margins - and often arbitrarily. Candidates from top ranked schools are favored. You, coming out of Tulane or OSU, even with your technical background, will not be as competitive a candidate as a 25 year old kid coming out of UVA or Duke with an undergrad degree in art history.

Your 3.7 GPA is good enough that if you dedicate your time for a retake, you can get a T14 acceptance, and your masters and work experience will give you a leg up in actual hiring.

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby oh77io » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:33 pm

mcmand wrote:Have you talked to environmental lawyers? Run these same questions by them. Meet some environmental lawyers here in California and ask how they got into their work, what schools they went to, what skills are valued, and what they think of going to school far away and coming back. They could really help you get a more specific idea of what to do.


I've recently started reaching out to my environmental lawyers in the areas I want to work in. I came across this forum and figured I'd put my query out into the TLS universe and see what came back. This monumental decision I have to make has been on my mind nonstop lately and I was hoping some instant feedback might allay or redirect some of my anxiety.

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby oh77io » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:38 pm

pancakes3 wrote:Your specific question of Tulane or Ohio State is a bad question because based on your stated career goals of going into bigfed or nonprofit, neither school are good options for you.

Asking for your GPA allows us to tell you whether your career goals are obtainable at all, and if so, how to go about it.

Specialty rankings are meaningless and your assumption about courses are wrong. in law, you don't need fundamental classes in order to be successful in practice.

There are no shortage of attorneys who want to practice environmental law, and there is a shortage of job openings. As in any case where there is a high supply of applicants and a small supply of positions, decisions are made at the margins - and often arbitrarily. Candidates from top ranked schools are favored. You, coming out of Tulane or OSU, even with your technical background, will not be as competitive a candidate as a 25 year old kid coming out of UVA or Duke with an undergrad degree in art history.

Your 3.7 GPA is good enough that if you dedicate your time for a retake, you can get a T14 acceptance, and your masters and work experience will give you a leg up in actual hiring.


Thanks for the feedback. It stings a little, but I see what you're saying. Time to go for a run and do some thinking...

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:45 pm

oh77io wrote:Thanks for the advice. I know my LSAT is my weak point but I can't really wait out a cycle. Coming from a science background, it's really hard to wrap my mind around regionality being a more important factor than knowledge and expertise. I guess I have some more thinking to do...

I came from a specialized academic background and this was difficult for me to grasp as well, but law as a professional program is very different. While it's helpful to have some range of courses available to you, pretty much every school will offer you the courses you need to be able to apply to environmental law jobs. You really don't need to go to a school that "specializes" in environmental law. The specialty rankings are traditional academic rankings, based on the scholarship of professors located at a given school. However, profs' academic output doesn't translate directly to students' employment outcomes, at all; legal academic publications are very divorced from the practice of law. Unfortunately a regional school doesn't cease to be a regional school just because it's well-ranked in a particular specialty.

Nebby can correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand it, the other thing is that as an environmental scientist, you already have the pertinent knowledge and expertise; you just need to add the legal understanding, which, again, any law school can do. For instance, the huge thing about environmental law is that federal agencies are tasked with enforcing environmental laws, so administrative law (the law of federal agencies), taught everywhere, is in many ways more important than a course focusing only on the environmental statutes (although that too will be useful). Environmental work dealing with, say, natural resources in the west will rely as much on contract and property law (central to legal education) as on specific environmental law courses. Creating your own program, as you describe it, through internships and so on, is actually perfectly fine and possibly more effective than taking classes (because the more you're connected to practitioners rather than academics, the better off you'll be).

It is possible to overcome the regional-ness of a regional school, but you have to be willing to hustle hard for your desired target market from day 1, and you're making things more difficult for yourself. If that's the way you choose to go I think Ohio State would actually be better, because no debt is better than some debt (also because Louisiana is the only state with civil law v. common law, does that present complications coming out of Tulane? not sure). But ideally you'd find some other similar option in a state where you'd like to be (California?).

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby oh77io » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:58 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
oh77io wrote:Thanks for the advice. I know my LSAT is my weak point but I can't really wait out a cycle. Coming from a science background, it's really hard to wrap my mind around regionality being a more important factor than knowledge and expertise. I guess I have some more thinking to do...

I came from a specialized academic background and this was difficult for me to grasp as well, but law as a professional program is very different. While it's helpful to have some range of courses available to you, pretty much every school will offer you the courses you need to be able to apply to environmental law jobs. You really don't need to go to a school that "specializes" in environmental law. The specialty rankings are traditional academic rankings, based on the scholarship of professors located at a given school. However, profs' academic output doesn't translate directly to students' employment outcomes, at all; legal academic publications are very divorced from the practice of law. Unfortunately a regional school doesn't cease to be a regional school just because it's well-ranked in a particular specialty.

Nebby can correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand it, the other thing is that as an environmental scientist, you already have the pertinent knowledge and expertise; you just need to add the legal understanding, which, again, any law school can do. For instance, the huge thing about environmental law is that federal agencies are tasked with enforcing environmental laws, so administrative law (the law of federal agencies), taught everywhere, is in many ways more important than a course focusing only on the environmental statutes (although that too will be useful). Environmental work dealing with, say, natural resources in the west will rely as much on contract and property law (central to legal education) as on specific environmental law courses. Creating your own program, as you describe it, through internships and so on, is actually perfectly fine and possibly more effective than taking classes (because the more you're connected to practitioners rather than academics, the better off you'll be).

It is possible to overcome the regional-ness of a regional school, but you have to be willing to hustle hard for your desired target market from day 1, and you're making things more difficult for yourself. If that's the way you choose to go I think Ohio State would actually be better, because no debt is better than some debt (also because Louisiana is the only state with civil law v. common law, does that present complications coming out of Tulane? not sure). But ideally you'd find some other similar option in a state where you'd like to be (California?).


Thank you for your insight into law school specializations. I hadn't really thought about it in that way. I also see what you mean about the foundational law courses being more pertinent, particularly given my existing environmental science knowledge. I may need to refocus a bit. As for civil v. common law at Tulane, they teach both and students can opt for the civil law certificate if they wish.

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:29 pm

Have you applied to UC Davis and UC Irvine? You'd be a strong candidate for admission and $$$ with your numbers.

I think you should definitely retake and either do UCLA/USC or Berk, but Davis and UCI wouldn't be bad options either if you want to work in CA. I don't think FedGov would be on the table but I imagine that you'd have a chance at a lot of CA state level work.

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby oh77io » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:34 pm

Gitaroo_Dude wrote:Have you applied to UC Davis and UC Irvine? You'd be a strong candidate for admission and $$$ with your numbers.

I think you should definitely retake and either do UCLA/USC or Berk, but Davis and UCI wouldn't be bad options either if you want to work in CA. I don't think FedGov would be on the table but I imagine that you'd have a chance at a lot of CA state level work.


I did not apply to UC Davis or Irvine - those schools didn't really appeal to me, and still don't even now considering the concept of law school regionality. An LSAT retake and waiting out this cycle would be a major trajectory shift for me at the moment and I'm not sure that's the route I want to go. I guess I'll have to wait and see what happens with the other schools I applied to and then make a decision.

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby mcmand » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:42 pm

oh77io wrote:I did not apply to UC Davis or Irvine - those schools didn't really appeal to me, and still don't even now considering the concept of law school regionality. An LSAT retake and waiting out this cycle would be a major trajectory shift for me at the moment and I'm not sure that's the route I want to go. I guess I'll have to wait and see what happens with the other schools I applied to and then make a decision.


What is unappealing about them? Davis might actually be really good in terms of location - you could be working with CalEPA as an extern or over the summer (or both) while in law school.

Give us a little more insight into your decision making process so far. We've talked about specializations (not a thing), regionality (definitely a thing), and cost. What else are you weighing?
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby oh77io » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:09 pm

mcmand wrote:
oh77io wrote:I did not apply to UC Davis or Irvine - those schools didn't really appeal to me, and still don't even now considering the concept of law school regionality. An LSAT retake and waiting out this cycle would be a major trajectory shift for me at the moment and I'm not sure that's the route I want to go. I guess I'll have to wait and see what happens with the other schools I applied to and then make a decision.


What is unappealing about them? Davis might actually be really good in terms of location - you could be working with CalEPA as an extern or over the summer (or both) while in law school.

Give us a little more insight into your decision making process so far. We've talked about specializations (not a thing), regionality (definitely a thing), and cost. What else are you weighing?


I have a spouse that needs to be in or near a large city. The only way around that would be a T14 school because that would make it worth the scarcity of work for three years. I looked at UC Davis early on, but it's not close enough to Sacramento or San Francisco, and Sacramento really isn't that big of a city anyway. UC Irvine's location isn't so bad and I really enjoyed living and working in SoCal, but the newness of the law school does make me a little nervous. Plus, their tuition is expensive and I probably wouldn't get more than 50% in scholarships which would leave me with a lot of student loan debt. If I'm going to end up with that much debt it's going to have to be from a better school.

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby Nebby » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:16 pm

I'm an attorney in the field you're interested in, and below are some quick thoughts:

(1) Only school rank matters, not speciality rankings.
(2) Relevant environmental law experience (internships, externships, clinics) is more important than a bunch of environmental law classes or an environmental law certificate program.
(3) If you're not going to a T10 school, then your ability to get an environmental law job is going to be restricted to the region your law school places in.
(4) I work at a environmental law organization that focuses on the Midwest, and of the entry-level attorneys we've hired in the past three years: 1 went to Yale, 2 went to Harvard, 1 went to Columbia, 2 went to NYU, and 1 went to Berkeley. The situation is similar for the national organizations like NRDC, Sierra Club, and Earthjustice.
(5) Entry-level work in the federal government is even more of a crapshoot than enviro nonprofits, because they'll hire from lower ranked schools therefore your competition is even more fierce.

Getting an entry-level job in environmental law is tough. Every year, there are a handful of individuals who went to T6 law schools, obtained relevant environmental law experience in law school, was on their school's environmental law journal, got good grades, and was still unable to get hired entry-level.

I would recommend, if at all possible, retaking the LSAT and try to improve your score as much as possible. It would require you to put off law school for another year, but it's going to be tough reaching your goals from either Tulane or tOSU.

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby Nebby » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:29 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Nebby can correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand it, the other thing is that as an environmental scientist, you already have the pertinent knowledge and expertise; you just need to add the legal understanding, which, again, any law school can do. For instance, the huge thing about environmental law is that federal agencies are tasked with enforcing environmental laws, so administrative law (the law of federal agencies), taught everywhere, is in many ways more important than a course focusing only on the environmental statutes (although that too will be useful). Environmental work dealing with, say, natural resources in the west will rely as much on contract and property law (central to legal education) as on specific environmental law courses. Creating your own program, as you describe it, through internships and so on, is actually perfectly fine and possibly more effective than taking classes (because the more you're connected to practitioners rather than academics, the better off you'll be).

This is right.

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby oh77io » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:32 pm

Nebby wrote:I'm an attorney in the field you're interested in, and below are some quick thoughts:

(1) Only school rank matters, not speciality rankings.
(2) Relevant environmental law experience (internships, externships, clinics) is more important than a bunch of environmental law classes or an environmental law certificate program.
(3) If you're not going to a T10 school, then your ability to get an environmental law job is going to be restricted to the region your law school places in.
(4) I work at a environmental law organization that focuses on the Midwest, and of the entry-level attorneys we've hired in the past three years: 1 went to Yale, 2 went to Harvard, 1 went to Columbia, 2 went to NYU, and 1 went to Berkeley. The situation is similar for the national organizations like NRDC, Sierra Club, and Earthjustice.
(5) Entry-level work in the federal government is even more of a crapshoot than enviro nonprofits, because they'll hire from lower ranked schools therefore your competition is even more fierce.

Getting an entry-level job in environmental law is tough. Every year, there are a handful of individuals who went to T6 law schools, obtained relevant environmental law experience in law school, was on their school's environmental law journal, got good grades, and was still unable to get hired entry-level.

I would recommend, if at all possible, retaking the LSAT and try to improve your score as much as possible. It would require you to put off law school for another year, but it's going to be tough reaching your goals from either Tulane or tOSU.


Thank you for your insight. I guess I grossly underestimated the impact that geographic location (outside of T10 schools as you said, anyway) has on job prospects. Again, coming from a science background, this concept is really hard for me to understand but it is what it is so I must accept it.

I have a question (or two) for you since you're in the environmental law field. What are the prospects for someone like me if I did end up choosing between Tulane and OSU? Work in a regional environmental law firm and then hopefully work my way up to something at the federal gov or NGO level, or would that be a pipe dream? What if I got in at George Washington (I'm waitlisted) or Georgetown (I'm "on hold")? Those schools are in DC so I would think the regional issue would be moot since I would be happy working in DC (although I know the competition there is fierce).

Nebby

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Re: Tulane or Ohio State for Environmental Law

Postby Nebby » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:48 pm

oh77io wrote:
Nebby wrote:I'm an attorney in the field you're interested in, and below are some quick thoughts:

(1) Only school rank matters, not speciality rankings.
(2) Relevant environmental law experience (internships, externships, clinics) is more important than a bunch of environmental law classes or an environmental law certificate program.
(3) If you're not going to a T10 school, then your ability to get an environmental law job is going to be restricted to the region your law school places in.
(4) I work at a environmental law organization that focuses on the Midwest, and of the entry-level attorneys we've hired in the past three years: 1 went to Yale, 2 went to Harvard, 1 went to Columbia, 2 went to NYU, and 1 went to Berkeley. The situation is similar for the national organizations like NRDC, Sierra Club, and Earthjustice.
(5) Entry-level work in the federal government is even more of a crapshoot than enviro nonprofits, because they'll hire from lower ranked schools therefore your competition is even more fierce.

Getting an entry-level job in environmental law is tough. Every year, there are a handful of individuals who went to T6 law schools, obtained relevant environmental law experience in law school, was on their school's environmental law journal, got good grades, and was still unable to get hired entry-level.

I would recommend, if at all possible, retaking the LSAT and try to improve your score as much as possible. It would require you to put off law school for another year, but it's going to be tough reaching your goals from either Tulane or tOSU.


Thank you for your insight. I guess I grossly underestimated the impact that geographic location (outside of T10 schools as you said, anyway) has on job prospects. Again, coming from a science background, this concept is really hard for me to understand but it is what it is so I must accept it.

I have a question (or two) for you since you're in the environmental law field. What are the prospects for someone like me if I did end up choosing between Tulane and OSU? Work in a regional environmental law firm and then hopefully work my way up to something at the federal gov or NGO level, or would that be a pipe dream? What if I got in at George Washington (I'm waitlisted) or Georgetown (I'm "on hold")? Those schools are in DC so I would think the regional issue would be moot since I would be happy working in DC (although I know the competition there is fierce).


It would be possible to work at a law firm from both Tulane and OSU, which would provide experience that could be used to lateral to the federal/state gov or NGO level. The law firms you'd get jobs at would either be Midwestern or Southern/TX.

Most people that work in environmental law (NGO or government) lateraled in from law firms because there are a lot more opportunities to do environmental law in the private sector.



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