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Environmental Law is a Growing Field for Attorneys


From how we carry our groceries to the car to washing clothes on the cold cycle, even the smallest things in our daily lives has been affected by the ‘green movement.’ Environmental issues like the global warming and the oil spill are on everyone’s minds which has created a growing trend in the world of environmental law.

Legal minds of all ages and backgrounds are looking towards including environmental law to their skills. Although this field has become a popular one and is growing quickly, it has actually been around for a very long time. Going as far back as the 1960s and 70s, you can begin to see the hallmarks of what is fundamentally environmental law with the passage of statutes that regulated land use and protected National Parks. That was only the beginning. The sector is actively working on creating statutes on a wide range of policies such as controlling pollution, the protection and development of land, as well as managing our resources with a focus on conservation.

Once considered a ‘niche’ practice area, environmental law has blossomed into a massive body of law that touches on many and various social issues. So, it is no wonder that this is such a vastly growing field when you think about the complexities of the industry and the various policy issues that are encompassed within environmental law. As attorneys enter the field, they quickly become involved in pressing issues that will have implications that reach all across the world. The excitement of dealing with policy creation that not only impacts environmental issues, but also affects foreign trade, global economics, and natural resources is now a constant draw among attorneys looking for diverse ways to effect positive change.

What has become known as the “green movement” has opened the door for attorneys to jump with both feet into a very exciting sector. The wave has brought about a change to the legal landscape, resulting in a drastic increase in opportunities within the field. As firms grow and branch out into other areas, it is unusual to not have at least one practitioner of environmental law. Some of these firms even employ entire departments to serve the needs of their clients. There are opportunities at all levels of the government and nearly every law school is adding multiple levels to their teachings of environmental law. The opportunity is growing so fast, the need for more specializing in environmental law is going to grow as well. But perhaps the biggest draw—beyond the thrill of saving Mother Earth, or the satisfaction of thwarting big business—is the sense of autonomy given to many of the practitioners within environmental law. So complex is the landscape, so dense is the maze of regulations, that many attorneys are unleashed to pitch their own battles in one of the many up and coming environmental issues. As new issues arise such as urban sprawl, restructuring our energy sources, and pollution, there will be a greater need for attorneys that are environmentally-minded. A growing field, indeed.

Johney Maron, medical device salesman, always has his eye on environmental issues. Hoping to raise his kids in a healthy world, he looks to trusted experts like Willie Shepherd for legal concerns, environmental and otherwise.