Nebby wrote: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.
Thanks again for the insight. I admit that posting this topic on the TLS forum has left me feeling a little bummed, but I'm glad I asked. I certainly have a lot to think about now...