Environmental Law?

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Matthies
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Re: Environmental Law?

Postby Matthies » Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:11 pm

jaudette wrote:I can't believe this hasn't been mentioned yet, but the EPA typically does not do environmental litigation. EPA lawyers, like the poster above said, do a lot of the permits and design policy. Like almost every other Federal Agency (exception is SEC and maybe a few others), the EPA uses the Justice Department for its litigation, which has a huge environmental sector. If you want to actually practice environmental law, this is a far better option than the EPA.

I would think that states would have adopted similar models, but on that I am not certain.


The DOJ does most of the criminal enforcement environmental actions, but EPA lawyers are in charge of enforcing the statutes they administer. The jobs I interviewed for with the EPA would have been either CAA enforcement or CERLA enforcement. Each EPA region is 5-8 states and handle all EPA regulation with in those states. The EPA employs a huge number of lawyers in its regional offices. Region eight building alone is like six stories tall and huge. Each state will have its own mini EPA type organization. As well there will be DA’s for environmental issues. One section enforces compliance the other criminal violations. They server two different but equally vital functions. Compliance and enforcement is what the EPA does primarily for all statutes like CERLA, RICRA, CWA ect. DOJ dose criminal enforcement for violations of those statutes.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Environmental Law?

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:12 pm

jaudette wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:
jaudette wrote:I can't believe this hasn't been mentioned yet, but the EPA typically does not do environmental litigation. EPA lawyers, like the poster above said, do a lot of the permits and design policy. Like almost every other Federal Agency (exception is SEC and maybe a few others), the EPA uses the Justice Department for its litigation, which has a huge environmental sector. If you want to actually practice environmental law, this is a far better option than the EPA.

I would think that states would have adopted similar models, but on that I am not certain.



Oh good. I thought I would have to try to get a job at the EPA to practice environmental law (really hard), but in reality, all you have to do is get a job with the DOJ (nearly impossible) and you're all set.


Hey I didn't say it would be easy. I'm just putting the warning out to all those "EPA Crusaders" out there who will be very dissappointed when they are given their "Permit Granted/Rejected" stamp set.


Oh no hard feelings here.. I think that 85% of the law school students/future Captain Plannet-Lawyer-Guys to be will be dissappointed in general...

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gatorlion
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Re: Environmental Law?

Postby gatorlion » Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:17 pm

<-- Keeping the dream alive and the environment safe for future generations

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gatorlion
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Re: Environmental Law?

Postby gatorlion » Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:19 pm

LawandOrder wrote:
gatorlion wrote:
LawandOrder wrote:It would only be trolling if I was making it up to piss her off. That is really how I feel.


LOGIC FAIL. Damaging the environment hurts humanity. Even if you adopted the absurdly callous thinking that we should only protect people and nothing that surrounds them, your point would still be moot. How do we get our food? Oh right, that ecosystem thing...


I hold the view that humans are at the top of the food chain and any all resources can and should be subverted to our needs and desires. You're living in fantasy land if you think that we are presently or will be in the next century anywhere close to destroying "that ecosystem thing" which provides food.


1) What an incredibly unenlightened perspective.

2) My first Master's degree tells me otherwise.

3) Obvious libertarian trolling.

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Matthies
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Re: Environmental Law?

Postby Matthies » Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:21 pm

reasonable_man wrote:
jaudette wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:
jaudette wrote:I can't believe this hasn't been mentioned yet, but the EPA typically does not do environmental litigation. EPA lawyers, like the poster above said, do a lot of the permits and design policy. Like almost every other Federal Agency (exception is SEC and maybe a few others), the EPA uses the Justice Department for its litigation, which has a huge environmental sector. If you want to actually practice environmental law, this is a far better option than the EPA.

I would think that states would have adopted similar models, but on that I am not certain.



Oh good. I thought I would have to try to get a job at the EPA to practice environmental law (really hard), but in reality, all you have to do is get a job with the DOJ (nearly impossible) and you're all set.


Hey I didn't say it would be easy. I'm just putting the warning out to all those "EPA Crusaders" out there who will be very dissappointed when they are given their "Permit Granted/Rejected" stamp set.


Oh no hard feelings here.. I think that 85% of the law school students/future Captain Plannet-Lawyer-Guys to be will be dissappointed in general...


Most law students will end up being X lawyers after law school by default. The nature of legal hiring being what it is you often have very little say what kind of law you will practice. You take what the firm practice areas have open or you compete for a few open slots that everyone else is competing for. You if you truly want to do environmental law out of law school you have to get connected to the environmental law practice while in law school. You don’t see a lot of OCI for environmental lawyers. Its very much who you know and word of mouth hiring as opposed to OCI and want ads.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Environmental Law?

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:33 pm

gatorlion wrote:
LawandOrder wrote:
gatorlion wrote:
LawandOrder wrote:It would only be trolling if I was making it up to piss her off. That is really how I feel.


LOGIC FAIL. Damaging the environment hurts humanity. Even if you adopted the absurdly callous thinking that we should only protect people and nothing that surrounds them, your point would still be moot. How do we get our food? Oh right, that ecosystem thing...


I hold the view that humans are at the top of the food chain and any all resources can and should be subverted to our needs and desires. You're living in fantasy land if you think that we are presently or will be in the next century anywhere close to destroying "that ecosystem thing" which provides food.


1) What an incredibly unenlightened perspective.

2) My first Master's degree tells me otherwise.

3) Obvious libertarian trolling.


My degrees won't talk to me at all.. Not even the JD.. Am I doing something wrong?

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LawandOrder
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Re: Environmental Law?

Postby LawandOrder » Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:39 pm

gatorlion wrote:
LawandOrder wrote:
gatorlion wrote:
LawandOrder wrote:It would only be trolling if I was making it up to piss her off. That is really how I feel.


LOGIC FAIL. Damaging the environment hurts humanity. Even if you adopted the absurdly callous thinking that we should only protect people and nothing that surrounds them, your point would still be moot. How do we get our food? Oh right, that ecosystem thing...


I hold the view that humans are at the top of the food chain and any all resources can and should be subverted to our needs and desires. You're living in fantasy land if you think that we are presently or will be in the next century anywhere close to destroying "that ecosystem thing" which provides food.


1) What an incredibly unenlightened perspective.

2) My first Master's degree tells me otherwise.

3) Obvious libertarian trolling.


Oh my god I've been called unenlightened on the INTERNET!!!! FFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

Clearly, there is no way your professors could ever possibly be wrong. They know everything. Amirite?

The environmental movement is destroying what I love and I hate them for that.

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Matthies
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Re: Environmental Law?

Postby Matthies » Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:48 pm

You don’t have to be an environmentalist to be an environmental lawyer. I hate camping, hiking, being outdoors in general, if I want to see some animal up close I’ll watch on the Discovery Channel in HD from the comfort of my air conditioned house on my sofa eating a pizza some guy delivered to me in a car with no muffler. Just as much as I hate nature, I hate humans even more, my clients are animals and don’t talk back to me and I don’t have to deal with many other human beings since most of my work I can do from home anyway. I do environmental law because people, as a group, annoy the ^&%* out of me while animals I find tolerable.

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jaudette
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Re: Environmental Law?

Postby jaudette » Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:56 pm

Matthies wrote:You don’t have to be an environmentalist to be an environmental lawyer. I hate camping, hiking, being outdoors in general, if I want to see some animal up close I’ll watch on the Discovery Channel in HD from the comfort of my air conditioned house on my sofa eating a pizza some guy delivered to me in a car with no muffler. Just as much as I hate nature, I hate humans even more, my clients are animals and don’t talk back to me and I don’t have to deal with many other human beings since most of my work I can do from home anyway. I do environmental law because people, as a group, annoy the ^&%* out of me while animals I find tolerable.


Thats cute. But unless your animals are paying you, your clients are still the ones you will answer to. And if your clients are those people that will pay you to represent animals interests, than I'm afraid your going to be dealing with some of the most annoying people on the planet. You better go work for the SEC.

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Matthies
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Re: Environmental Law?

Postby Matthies » Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:11 pm

jaudette wrote:
Matthies wrote:You don’t have to be an environmentalist to be an environmental lawyer. I hate camping, hiking, being outdoors in general, if I want to see some animal up close I’ll watch on the Discovery Channel in HD from the comfort of my air conditioned house on my sofa eating a pizza some guy delivered to me in a car with no muffler. Just as much as I hate nature, I hate humans even more, my clients are animals and don’t talk back to me and I don’t have to deal with many other human beings since most of my work I can do from home anyway. I do environmental law because people, as a group, annoy the ^&%* out of me while animals I find tolerable.


Thats cute. But unless your animals are paying you, your clients are still the ones you will answer to. And if your clients are those people that will pay you to represent animals interests, than I'm afraid your going to be dealing with some of the most annoying people on the planet. You better go work for the SEC.


No my clients pay me to represent the animals, how I do it is completely left open to me. We meet once a month go over a list of potential candidates for listing, I do some research, report back on the best prospects then start on listing petitions or 90 days notices of suit for those. We only sue on statutes that have an attorney fee provision like the ESA. I get paid by the 503(c) a base salary and then my billable hours under the statute if we settle or win (which happens more often that it does not because it’s cheaper for the EPA to settle than it is for them to actually list a species).

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jcl2
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Re: Environmental Law?

Postby jcl2 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:30 pm

LawandOrder wrote:I'm going to go drive around pointlessly after work today and burn gas just to piss you off. I'm not kidding. Fuck all of you environmental protection hippies that stifle progress and innovation for the benefit of non-humans.


That's good. I say we should burn it all as soon as possible so we will be forced to switch to better energy sources.

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jcl2
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Re: Environmental Law?

Postby jcl2 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:42 pm

LawandOrder wrote:
gatorlion wrote:
LawandOrder wrote:It would only be trolling if I was making it up to piss her off. That is really how I feel.


LOGIC FAIL. Damaging the environment hurts humanity. Even if you adopted the absurdly callous thinking that we should only protect people and nothing that surrounds them, your point would still be moot. How do we get our food? Oh right, that ecosystem thing...


I hold the view that humans are at the top of the food chain and any all resources can and should be subverted to our needs and desires. You're living in fantasy land if you think that we are presently or will be in the next century anywhere close to destroying "that ecosystem thing" which provides food.


Even if you were right that we are nowhere near destroying the soil and water resources necessary to produce sufficient food for humans, which you are not, are you not at all concerned about quality of life for humans? Don't you like having clean air to breathe outside? or clean water for you or your children to swim in? How about having forests, mountains, deserts, ect. that are in good enough condition to visit and recreate in? Animals and fish for hunting? If you really don't care about any of these things, then I understand where you are coming from, though you are still wrong that we do not need to be concerned with managing our resources in a sustainable way that will ensure continued productivity of food and other necessary resources.

earthlawyer
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Re: Environmental Law?

Postby earthlawyer » Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:07 pm

First, thanks to everyone who mentioned various career paths, opportunities, likelihood of becoming an envirolawyer, etc etc. I really appreciate it, because I know very little about this field. Law school obviously requires a lot of time and money. And while it might be the case that in a year or two I find another field of law more interesting, I don't want to waste three years and 150k only to settle for something I have no desire doing. So I really appreciate any advice on this, really.

jaudette wrote: From what I've been told by practitioners, there is some concern because a lot of the law of the 70's has finally become settled (most of the "issues" have been litigated and we now have an established rule of law). For those like me who are interested in the practice of environmental law (not necessarily the moral side of it), we're hoping Congress passes a new Climate Change bill. That should give us a few more decades of litigation.


This is actually a really interesting point, one that I haven't thought about. This is actually the same principle that made a friend of mine not go to law school (she wanted to be a civil rights lawyer, but realized that it's kind of all been said and done. she's on the academic path now).

On that same note, it seems that animal welfare law (also a huge interest of mine) is relatively new, fledgling, and sort of laughed at (see: lawandorder & michael vick). Only a handful of law schools have animal law journals, and of those only three have actual programs/concentrations (ie more than one class). Does anyone know anything about it? I read the ALDF and animallaw blog quite regularly... I don't know much about the actual lawyers who work on these cases though. Are they big law people? HSUS type people? Peta freaks? Who are they? Anyone know or care to speculate their background?

GATORTIM wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:Its funny... about 85% of the kids entering law school want to either do: International law, biglaw, enviromental law or clerk for the supreme court... These jobs make up about... mmmm... Maybe what? 20% of all legal jobs?


Seriously, doesn't one begin to ask why there are soo many PI attorneys? I'm sure that those 2 inches worth of attorneys in your local phone book didn't aspire to handle simple soft-tissue (whiplash) automobile accident claims when they were sending in their LS apps.


Yes. Stats are against me. I get it. PI phone book ads make me wonder about what these people really wanted to do with their life in the same way that infomercial hosts make me wonder if they really wanted to be movie stars or news anchors. But like I said, I'm not wasting three years and 150k to settle for a job I don't want. It's just not for me.

Shaggier1 wrote:Lots of people go right into enviro. law. Find summer work with places like Earthjustice, ELI, WRI, etc... If you build up a nice resume, strong grades, and a sincere interest in the field, you can walk right into environmental lawyering.


How nice would it be if you're right? This is what I was hoping to hear... I'd love to think that it's possible to skip the big law thing.

Matthies wrote:Environmental law is much more regional than you would think. The majority of it is done in the states rather than DC. The EPA has regional offices that employ more lawyers than the DC office. You don’t need to go to a top school if you focus on the region your school is in.

The key is knowing/meeting the right people. As soon as you get to school join the local bar association then join the environmental law sections, natural resources law section, ect. Go to their meetings, introduce yourself and make contacts. By the time you graduate people will be recommending you for jobs rather than you having to apply for them.
Of course, all of this assume you go where you want to work, if you plan to work outside the region than all the plus I gave above are negated.


This is encouraging, since I've lived/worked in NYC and DC and I'm not the biggest fan of either place. Plus, I'm pretty sure eventually I want to move back to my home state (another reason I'm hesitant about spending money for an out-of-state t30-ish school.)

jaudette wrote:I can't believe this hasn't been mentioned yet, but the EPA typically does not do environmental litigation. EPA lawyers, like the poster above said, do a lot of the permits and design policy.


EPA was an acronym I figured everyone knew, so I used it. It's not the holy grail of my career search. I just meant 501c or Gov work in general. But this is definitely good to know.

Esc
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Re: Environmental Law?

Postby Esc » Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:01 pm


Oh my god I've been called unenlightened on the INTERNET!!!! FFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

Clearly, there is no way your professors could ever possibly be wrong. They know everything. Amirite?

The environmental movement is destroying what I love and I hate them for that.


Right. Because the environmental movement has helped slow ecosystem degradation and keep a few more species extant, and because there was progress made on getting cleaner air and water that helped preserve the public health...the environmental movement has destroyed capitalism?

You're an idiot, and if you hate people for trying to preserve a modicum of public health and social and planetary well-being, then you are on the same level as the teabagger lizard people that watch Glenn Beck :roll:

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Matthies
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Re: Environmental Law?

Postby Matthies » Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:23 pm

I took animal law in law school, its was taught by a practitioner who did animal law and we had another one come in and teach a few classes. The thing with animal law is right now the rules vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, in that in most places animals are just considered personal property. So if I go and kill your dog all I owe you is what it would cost to replace that dog at a shelter, no other damages.

There are all sorts of issues involved in granting animals rights, hence why in most cases they are considered property. But a few cities and towns have passed more stringent animal welfare laws that give animal owners more rights, and allow more people to enforce those rights on behalf of animals they don’t own. But still most animals are a part of property law.

Endangered species is a whole another story, but that’s not really animal law. Anyone can enforce the endangered species act, it has citizen suit provision built into it (otherwise nothing would get done). It also has an attorney fee provision (otherwise no one would sue to enforce it). What animals are listed on the ESA is completely petition driven, the FWS does not decide to list animals its self.

Environmental law (clean air, clean water, toxic torts, CERLA) is different than natural resources law (trees, water, public lands, endangered species) and different part of the country have different issues, for example 80% of the state of Nevada is public land (owned by state or fed) while less than 1% is public land in some eastern states. There are two very different water laws, those back east and those out west where water is a big deal.

Hence environmental law is very regional, so pick the region you want to work in and look at schools in that region. Unless it’s a top school, or you’re not conened with where you want to work I would not recommend going out of state for law school and hoping to get an environmental job back home. The way you get hired from envrio jobs just does not work like that. There are not alot of OCI type envrio offersd out there.

earthlawyer
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Re: Environmental Law?

Postby earthlawyer » Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:49 pm

Matthies wrote:I took animal law in law school, its was taught by a practitioner who did animal law and we had another one come in and teach a few classes. The thing with animal law is right now the rules vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, in that in most places animals are just considered personal property. There are all sorts of issues involved in granting animals rights, hence why in most cases they are considered property.


I wasn't *just* talking about domestic pets though, and certainly ALDF and other animal welfare orgs and journals are considered w/ more than that... and certainly cruelty laws in most states would prevent someone with paying 75 bucks for a set of vaccines and get away with killing an animal for fun. (btw pets = property law, is totally fucked up. but whatever, i'm not here to argue against it).

Matthies wrote:Endangered species is a whole another story, but that’s not really animal law. Environmental law (clean air, clean water, toxic torts, CERLA) is different than natural resources law (trees, water, public lands, endangered species) and different part of the country have different issues


Wow, didn't know there was a distinction it seemed like it was all dumped into one category. Good to know that I'm more of the natural resources law type person, I guess.

Matthies wrote:Hence environmental law is very regional, so pick the region you want to work in and look at schools in that region. Unless it’s a top school, or you’re not conened with where you want to work I would not recommend going out of state for law school and hoping to get an environmental job back home. The way you get hired from envrio jobs just does not work like that. There are not alot of OCI type envrio offersd out there.


This is very helpful to know. I do eventually want to settle down here. I guess I should be saving money by avoiding the some of the out-of-state options if it doesn't matter. I certainly don't want to get sucked into a bigger debt than i have to.

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Matthies
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Re: Environmental Law?

Postby Matthies » Tue Sep 15, 2009 5:11 pm

well until the mid 1920s women = property law too :P

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CGI Fridays
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Re: Environmental Law?

Postby CGI Fridays » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:02 pm

I'm interested in goin' after da bad guys, a "crusader" as one poster put it. It sounds like the DOJ or maybe the EPA, both of which would be extremely difficult to land (unless Matthies' optimism accurately portrays the efficacy of networking).

My first question is, how "top" does your alma mater have to be for these sorts of jobs? I don't have a real shot at T-8. Is there a significant difference in these jobs between, say, UVA & Cornell? Or would I already have missed the boat?

Second question: anyone besides Matthies have some more success story anecdotals?




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