How to make a difference as an environmental lawyer

If you have a passion for both the environment and the law, and for making a practical difference in the way your community treats the environment, you might consider a career as an environmental lawyer.

Attorneys who practice environmental law are crucial in a society which places an increasing importance on the protection of fragile ecosystems, and environmental law is a rewarding career which sees attorneys working closely with community groups to file legal actions aimed at protecting the environment.

If this sounds like you, read on to find out the more practical requirements of becoming an environmental lawyer.

Requirements for Becoming an Attorney

Formal training and education is required to become an environmental lawyer. You will need to attend an accredited law school, or after having completed a bachelor’s degree, enroll in an online llm.

While in college, consider minors in other fields like environmental science, which will set you up with great background knowledge for later work in environmental law. After graduating law school, the United States requires you to pass the bar exam of your state before you become a practicing attorney.

Before sitting the bar, consider interning to gain practical experience in the workplace which will set you apart from other applicants when eventually applying for a job.

What an Environmental Lawyer Does

There are many different tasks required of an environmental lawyer, many of which sees you work alongside community groups to shape the law and government policy of a particular region where it relates to the environment.

Other job factors could include acting against companies in violation of environmental standards and practices, and offering advice to large corporations who want to determine potential liability of future actions.

How Much You Can Earn in the Position

Most people who enter into a career in environmental law are doing it for the love of the job and not for the salary; however, as an environmental lawyer within the United States you can expect to be earning an average of around $78,000.

This salary is generally indicative of 40-60 hour work weeks, with 40 hour weeks being the norm, and 60 hour weeks generally as a result of a large case.

Career Advancement

As an environmental attorney there may eventually be a number of opportunities for promotion. Heading a legal department or being offered a district attorney position are two examples of different ways you may move up within this career.

Not only do these positions offer more for your own personal development, they also offer greater responsibilities and more opportunity to affect change and make a difference.

How to Make a Difference as an Environmental Lawyer

Becoming an environmental lawyer is truly something which could open doors and allows you to affect positive change.

If it is a career path you are seriously considering, you should definitely start building on your knowledge, and perhaps it may even prove fruitful to reach out to an environmental attorney currently practicing for insights on what it’s like in the field today.

Authors Bio: Meg Jerrard is a writer and author at, and completed her law degree at the University of Canberra, Australia. She highly recommends anyone with a passion for both law and the environment to seriously consider environmental law as a possible career option, as it is a rewarding career path for those who truly want to affect a positive change.


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