Hippie Law: Career Trajectory for an Environmental Lawyer?

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Cade McNown
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Hippie Law: Career Trajectory for an Environmental Lawyer?

Postby Cade McNown » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:08 am

2L thinking ahead to career path. I'll be summering at a V10 with a not-insubstantial environmental practice, and I'm looking for short- and long-term advice on how to set myself up for a career (i.e. a reasonably profitable career) in environmental law. If you can answer any of my questions, or if you have any pertinent advice, I'd love to hear it.

Short Term:
Any must-take classes? I assume admin law plus any number of electives under the environmental umbrella?
Types of assignments I could expect as a SA in the environmental group?
Will my lack of a biological sciences background be a barrier to entry in any meaningful way?
Is clerking any less important or valuable for this career?

Long Term:
How are associate hours in Environmental practice vis-a-vis Litigation associates?
What are the most common exit options? After say 5 years BigLawl, would I essentially be limited to government agency or in-house options?
What are some obvious questions I should be asking now?

Thanks.

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jump_man
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Re: Hippie Law: Career Trajectory for an Environmental Lawyer?

Postby jump_man » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:28 am

I am also interested in hearing what people say about this

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Cade McNown
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Re: Hippie Law: Career Trajectory for an Environmental Lawyer?

Postby Cade McNown » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:35 am

Any takers?

Black-Blue
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Re: Hippie Law: Career Trajectory for an Environmental Lawyer?

Postby Black-Blue » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:12 pm

Just out of curiosity, by environmental law, do you mean you'd like to represent private industry in seeing how they can get away with their pollution?

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monkey85
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Re: Hippie Law: Career Trajectory for an Environmental Lawyer?

Postby monkey85 » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:22 pm

Black-Blue wrote:Just out of curiosity, by environmental law, do you mean you'd like to represent private industry in seeing how they can get away with their pollution?


Your question hits home. Because as a V10 environmental lawyer, you will be far from "hippie law." You are going to do compliance or defense. You will be making a good living, assisting private industry.

Conversely, if you truly want to be a "hippie" lawyer (e.g., Sierra Club), you will not be making a good living.

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Cade McNown
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Re: Hippie Law: Career Trajectory for an Environmental Lawyer?

Postby Cade McNown » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:00 pm

Black-Blue wrote:Just out of curiosity, by environmental law, do you mean you'd like to represent private industry in seeing how they can get away with their pollution?

I don't much care if I represent shark finners or biological weapons distributors. My conscience has thick skin. Anyone have answers to some/all of my original questions??

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typ3
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Re: Hippie Law: Career Trajectory for an Environmental Lawyer?

Postby typ3 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:11 pm

You don't get to pick what area of law you'll practice entirely unless you bring in your own clients.

Get in with a firm, any firm, or start your own and then go get your own clients that need environmental compliance work.

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Cade McNown
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Re: Hippie Law: Career Trajectory for an Environmental Lawyer?

Postby Cade McNown » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:49 pm

typ3 wrote:You don't get to pick what area of law you'll practice entirely unless you bring in your own clients.

Get in with a firm, any firm, or start your own and then go get your own clients that need environmental compliance work.

:? Did you read my OP? I'll be at a V10 with a substantial environmental group that does this kind of work.

Does anyone with experience have answers to my specific questions in the OP????? So far I'm 0/4.

de5igual
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Re: Hippie Law: Career Trajectory for an Environmental Lawyer?

Postby de5igual » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:59 pm

Cade McNown wrote:2L thinking ahead to career path. I'll be summering at a V10 with a not-insubstantial environmental practice, and I'm looking for short- and long-term advice on how to set myself up for a career (i.e. a reasonably profitable career) in environmental law. If you can answer any of my questions, or if you have any pertinent advice, I'd love to hear it.

Short Term:
Any must-take classes? I assume admin law plus any number of electives under the environmental umbrella?
Types of assignments I could expect as a SA in the environmental group?
Will my lack of a biological sciences background be a barrier to entry in any meaningful way?
Is clerking any less important or valuable for this career?

Long Term:
How are associate hours in Environmental practice vis-a-vis Litigation associates?
What are the most common exit options? After say 5 years BigLawl, would I essentially be limited to government agency or in-house options?
What are some obvious questions I should be asking now?

Thanks.


I'll take a stab. I'm not going into environmental law, but I am in an environmental clinic at school (so I'm not totally b.s.-ing you).

Short-Term
1. Must take classes? Admin law, environmental law, maybe even an environmental clinic so you get more familiar with the proceedings (although you'll be looking at it from the other side).
2. Type of assignments? not sure. Although if it's like any other biglaw group, as a summer you're probably limited to researching admin law (which is a pain), drafting memos--that type of stuff.
3. I doubt it. Most people in environmental law that I've encountered don't have a life sciences background.
4. Clerking? not sure, but since most enviro law is handled at the administrative agency level, it's probably less of a "plus" than in general lit.

Long-Term
Can't really answer these, but I do know that some who go into the EPA (or the state equivalent) and work their way up go back into Biglaw as partners.




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