How to Become an Environmental Lawyer

Written by

Beatrice Harrison


August 14, 2014


Environmental law is a branch of law that focuses on the well being of the environment and its inhabitants by regulating and defining the activities of human beings and taking legal action. Environmental lawyers are legal professionals that specialize in environmental law and ensure the necessary laws are abided by.

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?

For anyone considering whether and how to become an environmental lawyer, it is worth noting that the employment of all lawyers, including environmental lawyers is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 13% through 2018. 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 2015, the average annual salary for environmental lawyers is $86,000; average annual environmental lawyer salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits.

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.

Becoming an Environmental Lawyer Requires Skills & Training Start Today

Are you serious about becoming an Environmental Lawyer? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Degree Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  Beatrice Harrison

Educated at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Beatrice Harrison has extensive professional experience in career counseling, having helped a growing number of job seekers find fulfilling and meaningful careers in a variety of fields and disciplines.

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