What is the job of an Environmental Lawyer?

what is the job of an environmental lawyer

What is an environmental lawyer?

If you are an environmentalist and looking to make a career in law, then perhaps the job of an environmental lawyer should be your first choice. Environmental lawyers play a pivotal role in devising ecological policies, which would, in turn, create awareness in today’s pressing environmental issues. They provide counsel and legal advice to their clients on adhering to environmental laws and regulations. They also advocate for their clients, showing them how to protect the environment effectively. Rest assured that the outcome of all environment lawyer’s cases helps mold the future of environmental policies.

Different types of environmental laws

Some of the most important types of environmental laws include those related to:

  • Pollution
  • Preservation of natural resources
  • Protection of endangered species and
  • Climate Change

What is the job of an environmental lawyer like?

job of a environmental lawyer

Being an environmental lawyer, you can work within law firms, government agencies or even open your private practice. Regardless of any scenarios, you will be working in collaboration with other environmental lawyers and spend much of your time in court.

To help an environmental lawyer prepare for a case, much work alongside legal assistants and paralegals. Although environmental lawyers work 40 hours a week. However, you may get extra hours, at times even on weekends and holidays, depending on the workload and nature of the case.

Skills required for the job of an environmental lawyer

  • Excellent academic results
  • Understand how the law works
  • Keen interest in our environment 
  • An eye for details
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Aptitude to act under pressure and in stressful situations.
  • A nerve of steel and strong work ethics
  • Willingness to act as both advisors and advocates of the environment.
  • The ability to multitask (you may have to juggle around between several cases at the same time)
  • Environmental lawyers must be comfortable enough to trust their gut and make judgment calls when necessary.
  • The ability to put in an arduous amount of effort at all odd hours 
  • Integrity and the thirst to do right by mother earth (no matter what the odds)
  • The tenacity to not give up so quickly and persevere until you get the desired results
  • Good communication skills. This includes both oral (tested when you are pleading your case in court) and written (tested on how well you manage and document your issues and key findings)

Educational Requirements

So now that you have decided that working as an environmental lawyer is indeed your true calling, here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to get the job.

  1. Get an undergraduate degree, preferably with majors in environmental studies, political science or even public policy
  2. Sit for the LSAT exam.
  3. Find a law school and graduate with a Juris DoctorTake the bar exam (preferably in the state you plan to practice)
  4. Look into internship programs. Choosing one based on environmental law is preferable, but not mandatory.
  5. Start practicing environmental law.

Key responsibilities

An environmental lawyer is responsible for carrying out the following responsibilities:

  • Provide legal guidance
  • Advice and counsel clients
  • Drafting various legal documents
  • Attend to these correspondences
  • Conduct extensive research and endless interviews
  • Part of this job also includes endless literature reviews. An environmental lawyer must analyze and interpret the data and use it in their current cases
  • Organize the collected data to present it in court as evidence
  • Take part in pre-trial discovery, negotiations, etc
  • Provide expert testimony
  • To assess any damages from an event and then assign a monetary value to it or take re-meditative actions against such occurrences
  • To possess the ability to illustrate how the environmental event in question might impact earth, the population, specific region or even wildlife
  • Research existing environmental issues along with other legal development
  • Teaching environmental law as a subject in both colleges and universities
  • Work alongside various government agencies
  • Improve the current policies, laws and regulations about the environment

Salary and Career Outlook:

Within the last few years, people have become more and more conscious of the environment. They are now taking a keen interest in the policies, laws, rules, and regulations devised to protect the environment. Subsequently, all this has led to an increase in the need for reasonable environmental attorneys. At the moment, environmental lawyers earn approximately $95,196 annually. Studies show that the job of an environmental lawyer is expected to grow by 4% in the next five years. With so many benefits, caring for and doing something meaningful for our environment is a career that pays one well!

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