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?
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.