What does an environmental lawyer do?
Environmental lawyers help ensure that the required environmental laws are being followed to preserve a variety of aspects of the environment. They help individuals, businesses, and organizations minimize the harmful effects of human activity on the environment. They provide legal advice to help individuals and organizations follow complex environmental laws. They also help clients file the necessary licenses and applications that comply with environmental laws. Environmental lawyers often work in courtrooms and argue environmental issues on the quality of air or water, agricultural issues, global climate matters, species protection, biodiversity, and waste management. Some environmental lawyers act as advocates for organizations that promote environmentalism.
What kind of training does an environmental lawyer need?
Environmental lawyers must have at least a bachelor degree and a law degree from an accredited law school. All law schools require candidates to receive a satisfactory score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) to be admitted. Prospective environmental lawyers typically complete courses in environmental law, air pollution law and policy, civil procedures, alternative dispute resolution, ecology and environmental sciences, environmental ethics, and environmental justices. Most law schools require students to complete an internship before graduation. Many aspiring environmental lawyers complete internships or obtain part-time jobs at law firms that specialize in environmental law. All states require environmental lawyers to pass the state bar examination to become licensed. Environmental lawyers must complete regular continuing legal education to maintain their licenses, keep their skills current, and stay up to date on advancements and changes in environmental law.
What are the prospects for a career as an environmental lawyer?
Employment of all lawyers, including environmental lawyers is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 13% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The increased concern for the welfare of the environment and natural resources will drive job growth for environmental lawyers.
Job prospects should be good with strong competition. Environmental lawyers with excellent academic records and extensive experience will have the best job opportunities.
How much do environmental lawyers make?
As of January 2010, the average annual salary for environmental lawyers is $86,000; average annual environmental lawyer salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).
A career as an environmental lawyer is a great choice for individuals with a strong interest in environmental law. Environmental lawyers must have a solid understanding of the concepts, rules, and regulations related to environmental law. Patience, detail orientation, analytical thinking, and good problem solving skills are essential characteristics. Environmental lawyers must have excellent written and oral communication and the ability to persuade others.