Environmental/Energy Law Prospects

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Environmental/Energy Law Prospects

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:17 pm

So, I'm a 2L at GULC/GW, am interested in Environmental/Energy Law, struck out at OCI, and am on a relevant secondary journal. Top 3rd of the class. I'm externing next semester with the EPA/Dept of Energy/Dept of Interior and spent my 1L summer working with a state AG's office. I'm wondering what are the best routes regarding entering into an environmental law practice, either with a law firm or with a state/fed regulatory agency. Is this a field that is completely devoid of opportunities (or imaginary like international law) or is there some life in the field and real opportunities exist if you've earned some experience in the field?

What are the best routes to get into the practice? The Career Center said interning with the feds this spring, possibly this summer, then trying to clerk with a boutique envt'l/energy firm would be the way to go, what does TLS say? Or am I dead because I swung out at OCI?

anon168
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Re: Environmental/Energy Law Prospects

Postby anon168 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So, I'm a 2L at GULC/GW, am interested in Environmental/Energy Law, struck out at OCI, and am on a relevant secondary journal. Top 3rd of the class. I'm externing next semester with the EPA/Dept of Energy/Dept of Interior and spent my 1L summer working with a state AG's office. I'm wondering what are the best routes regarding entering into an environmental law practice, either with a law firm or with a state/fed regulatory agency. Is this a field that is completely devoid of opportunities (or imaginary like international law) or is there some life in the field and real opportunities exist if you've earned some experience in the field?

What are the best routes to get into the practice? The Career Center said interning with the feds this spring, possibly this summer, then trying to clerk with a boutique envt'l/energy firm would be the way to go, what does TLS say? Or am I dead because I swung out at OCI?


No, you're far from dead.

Need to know what kind of Environmental / Energy law you want to do. Pure regulatory, transactional, or litigation? If it's litigation, are you at all open to PI environmental law, e.g. Sierra Club or NRDC?

Based on that you have several options.

First, you're in the right city -- DC.

Second, see if you can find an internship or a summer gig with one of the many federal agencies that handle environmental matters, be it the Army Corps of Engineers, FERC, EPA, Forest Service, etc. If you can't do that find out if any of the lobbyists in DC that handle environmental matters will let you intern. Also check energy companies, like Chevron, and see if they have positions that might interest you. Lastly, don't overlook policy type organization like ELPC.

Third, do as your school says, try and get a gig with a firm that specializes in environmental law.

Good luck.

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Re: Environmental/Energy Law Prospects

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:41 pm

There are environmental law boutiques out there that hire entry-level attorneys. I interviewed with Sive Paget this cycle and they hire somewhere in the range of 2-3 SAs every summer (nearly all from Harvard and NYU), although they do not guarantee offers. I know they occasionally hire entry-level lawyers and experienced laterals as well. They do work with both federal and state courts focusing on defending environmental impact statements under NEPA and the state law equivalent, as well as other miscellaneous regulatory and litigation work. Similar firms exist both in New York and elsewhere. Most of them are very small and not all hire entry-level lawyers, but they certainly exist. In addition to serious committed interest to and experience in environmental law (if you look at the SPR website, almost all the relatively recent hires are at least on the editorial boards of their respective environmental journal and most have extensive clinic/externship experience in the field), many of these types of firms also value entrepreneurial spirit-- you really have to think about client development from day one.

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Re: Environmental/Energy Law Prospects

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:02 pm

What aspect do you want to do? Energy law is really, really different from environmental law. With energy law, you could try for public utility commissions or utilities. Energy law is it's own language, and to get into specialized energy firms, they like to see exposure to the basics.

With environmental law, it's hard getting into those boutique firms. There seem to be few positions available, and your options will be narrowed even more if you only want to do pro-environmental stuff. I'd check out Schute Mihaly in SF. It may be a little late, as I know they were doing interviews in October, but they also do a two-year post-grad clerkship thing.

I'd also look into government. DOI, EPA, DOJ honors stuff. Nonprofits are a good route, too -- Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, Earthjustice, and NRDC come to mind.

If I were you, I wouldn't necessarily limit yourself to just environmental law. I worked at a major state AG's office in environmental law this past summer, and a lot of those people there worked in other areas of law before going there. It's much more about the skills you gain beforehand.

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Re: Environmental/Energy Law Prospects

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:36 pm

OP Here.

At risk of outting myself, I'm interested in energy law and have an internship with the Dept of Energy lined up, most likely doing litigation. I'm particularly interested in promoting renewables on a personal level and possible the energy industry's impact on the environment, but would be amenable to maybe working for a large oil/coal company to get experience in the short term. What are the prospects for new hires coming out of law school with this sort of exposure? What would you advise as someone who struck out at OCI to get into a firms energy/environmental department?

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Re: Environmental/Energy Law Prospects

Postby starchinkilt » Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:27 pm

pm me.

BeenDidThat
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Re: Environmental/Energy Law Prospects

Postby BeenDidThat » Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP Here.

At risk of outting myself, I'm interested in energy law and have an internship with the Dept of Energy lined up, most likely doing litigation. I'm particularly interested in promoting renewables on a personal level and possible the energy industry's impact on the environment, but would be amenable to maybe working for a large oil/coal company to get experience in the short term. What are the prospects for new hires coming out of law school with this sort of exposure? What would you advise as someone who struck out at OCI to get into a firms energy/environmental department?


It sounds like you're interested in policy to a large extent, but that's largely irrelevant to the practice of law. While you can make a difference in policy through impact litigation, impact litigation is relatively rare. Down the road, you may want to get more on the politics/policy side, and if you do, it will definitely help to have experience in related areas such as permitting for power plants, litigating clean air act/clean water act/real estate contamination cases. A lot of people want policy to be different, few people bring anything to the table to change minds about WHY policy should be different and HOW it can be made better. Industry experience really helps your credibility as against those problems.

But I might be wrong; you might want to be the guy or gal grinding on enviro cases. If so, there is definitely some work litigating environmental issues, but its relatively sparse. Your DOE internship should help, but I would also start looking into job opportunities with firms and business whose operations have potential environmental impacts, because they are the ones who need counsel on enviro law issues. Think: oil & gas exploration, petrochem refining, logging, pipelines, property developers, etc. You really just need to hunt for who needs counsel, then find where they get their counsel from, then send your resume & a cover letter to every lawyer you find that does the kind of work you want to do. Hard work isn't easy, but it pays off. Godspeed.

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Re: Environmental/Energy Law Prospects

Postby noxhil » Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP Here.

At risk of outting myself, I'm interested in energy law and have an internship with the Dept of Energy lined up, most likely doing litigation. I'm particularly interested in promoting renewables on a personal level and possible the energy industry's impact on the environment, but would be amenable to maybe working for a large oil/coal company to get experience in the short term. What are the prospects for new hires coming out of law school with this sort of exposure? What would you advise as someone who struck out at OCI to get into a firms energy/environmental department?


How about the NRC?




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