Enforcing environmental policies on both side of the argument is no easy task. But that’s what you are up against when become one. Both pro environment groups and top corporations (such as Big Oil) will hire you as part of their team to argue the merits of a case and the extent of land damages that a project my cause.
That is something many newly minted don’t necessarily realize. They you can be under the payroll of both sides of the fense when signing up working in this career.
Environmental Lawyer Job Description
What is environmental law and what do environmental lawyers do?
Environmental attorneys specialize in regulations, laws and disputes relating to the environment. The field encompasses a wide range of issues, including biodiversity, agriculture, species protection, hazardous waste, water and air quality, and waste management.
As it increasingly includes “green” issues, a lawyer may work with clients seeking to increase their company or organization’s sustainability education efforts and projects, as well as awareness of climate change implications, alternative energy sources and other eco-friendly initiatives.
They cater to the regulations, disputes, and policies that involve the environment. This type of job covers a lot of issues that include agricultures, species prevention, hazardous waste, waste management, and biodiversity. Essentially, these are the people who fight for green and ecological issues.
They are usually employed by companies or firms who aim to provide sustainable solutions and raise awareness about issues concerning the earth. Usual clients are non-profit organizations and government bodies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the United Nations.
Environmental Lawyer Salary
As of late 2014, career prospects (and income) for environmental attorneys are on the rise because conservation of natural resources has been climbing up the list of priorities of big companies, as well as government bodies. This job entails advising clients regarding issues of sustainability and keeping up with standards for better living.
As of 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average salary for environmental lawyers is around $131,990. However, an environmental lawyer salary can be as low as $105,211 or as high as $155,500. The reason for such high number can be attributed to the law firms they work for. So when asking how much do environmental lawyers make, at least you know its green all over.
How to Become an Environmental Lawyer
What are the basic requirements before becoming an environmental attorney?
Some of the common requirements before becoming an environmental attorney include:
- A bachelor’s degree – There’s no pre-requisite in this field, however, it’s highly preferable for graduates of science-related degrees.
- A Juris Doctor – Elective courses for environmental degree in law are usually offered by the time students are in their second or third year. Additionally, some law schools offer legal clinics and seminars that provide experience for their students before they graduate.
- State License – Of course, all lawyers must pass the bar exam in the state that they’re in.
Top Environmental Law Schools
What are the best environmental law schools in America that offer specialization in this field?
Some of the most renowned schools that offer environmental law programs include:
- The Duke University School of Law (Durham, NC) – The schools provides an interdisciplinary clinic in cooperation with the Nicholas School of the Environment. They let students coordinate to non-profit organizations and provide them with legal counseling. Annual tuition – $50,750
- New York University School of Law (New York, NY) – They’ve recently set up a Master of Laws program for an environmental law degree, however, NYU has already been recognized for their environmental programs even before. They have an International Environmental Law Clinic that lets student make their own research and draft regulations, policies, and analyses for clients that include the United Nations. Annual tuition – $51,150
- Georgetown University Law Center (Washington DC) – Because of it’s proximity to the state capital, students from the Georgetown University Law Center enjoy privileges of being able to work with government bodies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Congress, and the Department of the Interior. Annual tuition – $48,835
- Tulane University Law School (New Orleans, LA) – Their school has the biggest faculty that caters to an environmental law program. They provide a Master of Laws in Energy and Environment, as well as a Certificate of Specialization in Energy and Environmental Law. Annual tuition – $45,240
- Pace Law School (White Plains, NY) – They have one of the best environmental law programs that focuses on providing practical experiences to their students. They have seminars and programs that are done alongside big clients such as the United Nations and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Annual tuition – $42,198
- Lewis and Clark Law School (Portland, OR) – Their program was the first to be established in the United States. They provide a Master of Laws in Environmental Law, as well as a Master of Studies in Environmental and Natural Resources Law. Annual tuition – $38,180
- Vermont Law School (South Royalton, VT) – Vermont Law School’s programs was established in 1978 and is recognized as the largest graduate in environmental policies in the country. They offer a Master of Laws in Energy, and help students land environmental law internships when needed. Annual tuition – $45,207