What is Environmental Law & How Do I Specialize in it?

The environment continues to be a hot topic in the United States. Everyone from a politician to your neighbor  has an opinion of the state of the environment. As you may have guessed, there are tons of laws surrounding the environment and a growing need for environmental lawyers who understand the ins and outs of the ever-changing legislation.

What is an Environmental Lawyer?

Have you taken special interest in efforts to keep the environment safe? If so, environmental law may be for you. Environmental lawyers are active in legal issues surrounding climate change, clean technology, water laws, renewable energy and environmental rights just to name a few.

Environmental lawyers work closely with clients across many industries, so it is imperative to be up-to-date with the current legislation regarding environmental issues. It can be overwhelming, but if you’re passionate about the environment, it will hardly feel like work.

Why Environmental Law?

We could tell you by choosing a career in environmental law that you’d truly be making a difference in the environment. You’ll also develop expertise in an area that a growing number of people are trying to understand. You’ll be directly involved in creating policies to protect the environment while also enforcing current policies by engaging in lawsuits.

There are a wide variety of issues environmental lawyers come across and they often represent both individuals or a company with environmental issues. For example, you may represent someone who was exposed to contamination, or a company using a specific material that may be subject to certain environmental regulations.

More Than What You See on TV

Court rooms have been popular settings for television dramas over the years. Shows such as Law & Order and Night Of highlight the glamorous side of the courtroom – the arguing, the heated emotional courtroom discussion. However, what they don’t show is all the work the attorneys did prior to walking into the courtroom. It takes a ton of reading, a ton of writing, and some long hours.

If issues like climate change, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act or issues surrounding renewable energy peak your interest than environmental law is for you.

How Do I Specialize in Environmental Law?

Depending on where you’re at in your education you may be closer to becoming a lawyer than you think. You’ll definitely need a bachelor’s degree. Although you can still be admitted into law school whether you major in sport management or history, an environmental science degree would put you ahead of the game for law school.

Towards the end of your undergraduate career you’ll need to take the LSAT and then from there decide what law school would be a good fit for you. You’ll want to look for a program that specializes in the type of law you’d like to get into. Whether it be criminal law or environmental law, you’ll have many options depending on how well you did on your LSAT exam.

Once you’re in law school tailor your internships towards the area you’d like to practice in. Internships are a great way to help decide what areas interest you. You may do an internship for a non-profit environmental law firm and love every minute of it, or may decide it’s just not for you.

Bottom Line

Environmental law gives lawyers, and potential lawyers, the opportunity to combine their passion for law, as well as their passion for the environment. Environmental issues aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. With the rise in climate change discussion, the environment is going to be a hot topic for years to come. If you have strong feelings, why not put those to work by practicing environmental law?