Environmental Policy Making Career

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Kurry Kid
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Environmental Policy Making Career

Postby Kurry Kid » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:26 am

Hi, guys. I'm not sure if this is the right place to post, but here goes. I'm currently a junior in undergrad, working towards a degree in economics. I am taking an economics course in which we learn to evaluate the costs and benefits of various policies (mostly environmental) and I spoke with my professor about my interest in the course as well as my desire to go to law school. He said that even though there is an oversupply of environmental lawyers, my economics background should put me at an advantage. My question is should I just get a JD after undergrad or should I get additional degrees? For example, would a Masters in Econ be optimal, or would my bachelor's degree suffice?

Also, do environmental lawyers only present policies or can they analyze/make them as well? I'd like to make, analyze, and present environmental policies. If so, who hires such environmental lawyers?

Thanks, the help is appreciated. :D

joedf
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Re: Environmental Policy Making Career

Postby joedf » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:40 am

I'm going to go out on a limb and say this will be extremely hard, especially with... policy-making. You already have what's very much a niche field, and it's a field that's very much trending, more or less, in a risk-averse profession.

Do your best to get into the best school you can, and the journey starts there. Don't shoot for this on a whim.

That said, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), EPA or other similar federal jobs are probably as close as you'll get to your ideal. That's environmental policy-making - a lot of the rest will be working to promote certain policy issues, in an attempt to convert politicians. There's also opportunity working for an automotive company, or something similar, or some emerging field of environmental work.

If you're just unsure of what you want to do with your life, though, there's plenty of environmental opportunities out of law (as in many, many, many more) and you can absolutely make use of your Econ degree toward some of those. Just be aware that this is extreme case of a niche field and it's something that a lot of talented, hardworking people want. It's naive to think an environmental law job, especially one such as yours is easy to achieve, even with prolonged dedication and natural talent.

Work for a few years, or intern, if you want, in EPA if you can or some other environmental group. Then gauge what you can do to work there long-term or how you can best contribute to that community.

Just please, please don't jump headlong into law school with that expectation.

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IAFG
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Re: Environmental Policy Making Career

Postby IAFG » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:45 am

Go to DC next summer, get an internship in enviro policy, try to parlay that into job in enviro policy, go to law school if you still want to after that.

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dr123
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Re: Environmental Policy Making Career

Postby dr123 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:48 am

Might wanna look into Land Use Planning. Dunno too much about the field but my cuz works at the EPA and thats what he got his degree in. He said most people there have degree in that and like Urban and Regional planning and shit.

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Kurry Kid
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Re: Environmental Policy Making Career

Postby Kurry Kid » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:54 am

Thanks for your input, guys. What about if I want to focus more on the analysis of policies that have already been proposed or made by others? In other words, I would not be making policies myself, but I would be evaluating policies already established or proposed and then I would explain to a government body or corporation why the policy is good or bad.

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Rahviveh
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Re: Environmental Policy Making Career

Postby Rahviveh » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:18 pm

I wish you the best of luck dude, but the kind of jobs you're looking for are damn near impossible to get right now in DC - legal or non-legal.

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abogadesq
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Re: Environmental Policy Making Career

Postby abogadesq » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:15 am

This isn't exactly the same question, but it's similar enough to not warrant creating a new thread. I'm also interested in environmental public interest, but as a JD holder. I know that there are few of those types of positions. Let's assume that I do manage to get one of those coveted jobs. While the environment is a field I would devote my career to, I can only subsist on a $25,000/year salary for so long. I would eventually like to move to a more family-friendly position in the federal government, like the aforementioned EPA or the environmental division of the DOJ. How difficult is it to get a decent federal or other government environmental law job after 4 or so years of working in environmental PI?




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