Public Interest Environmental Attorney - AMA

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Nebby
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Re: Enviro/Energy Impact Litigation attorney - AMA

Post by Nebby » Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:24 am

HmmOhkay wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:57 am
Where do you find/look for positions in public interest environmental work? Are there good databases/sites that aggregate these kinds of positions (environmental law/policy) that you would recommend? Especially entry level positions for people without much experience? Or is it best to just go institution by institution and look at their job openings? Thanks!
PSJD.com is a good resource.

Institution to institution is one way. There are only a handful of enviro PI organizations that hire entry level attorneys. A non-exhaustive list of biggest organizations include:

NRDC
Earthjustice
Sierra Club
ELPC

It's difficult to get hired into entry level enviro PI without much experience in the field (though not impossible).

There are smaller organizations but their entry level hiring is more sporadic and funding dependent.

HmmOhkay
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Re: Enviro/Energy Impact Litigation attorney - AMA

Post by HmmOhkay » Sun Jun 03, 2018 5:54 pm

Nebby wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:24 am
HmmOhkay wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:57 am
Where do you find/look for positions in public interest environmental work? Are there good databases/sites that aggregate these kinds of positions (environmental law/policy) that you would recommend? Especially entry level positions for people without much experience? Or is it best to just go institution by institution and look at their job openings? Thanks!
PSJD.com is a good resource.

Institution to institution is one way. There are only a handful of enviro PI organizations that hire entry level attorneys. A non-exhaustive list of biggest organizations include:

NRDC
Earthjustice
Sierra Club
ELPC

It's difficult to get hired into entry level enviro PI without much experience in the field (though not impossible).

There are smaller organizations but their entry level hiring is more sporadic and funding dependent.
Thanks, PSJD (I think it's .org btw) has been my main resource but I wanted to know if there was something else out there that I was missing.

What if I'm interested in other positions (not attorney) that may not require a JD but for which it could be an advantage? I don't care too much about salary because my student loans should be manageable especially if LRAP kicks in.

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Nebby
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Re: Enviro/Energy Impact Litigation attorney - AMA

Post by Nebby » Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:32 pm

HmmOhkay wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 5:54 pm
Nebby wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:24 am
HmmOhkay wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:57 am
Where do you find/look for positions in public interest environmental work? Are there good databases/sites that aggregate these kinds of positions (environmental law/policy) that you would recommend? Especially entry level positions for people without much experience? Or is it best to just go institution by institution and look at their job openings? Thanks!
PSJD.com is a good resource.

Institution to institution is one way. There are only a handful of enviro PI organizations that hire entry level attorneys. A non-exhaustive list of biggest organizations include:

NRDC
Earthjustice
Sierra Club
ELPC

It's difficult to get hired into entry level enviro PI without much experience in the field (though not impossible).

There are smaller organizations but their entry level hiring is more sporadic and funding dependent.
Thanks, PSJD (I think it's .org btw) has been my main resource but I wanted to know if there was something else out there that I was missing.

What if I'm interested in other positions (not attorney) that may not require a JD but for which it could be an advantage? I don't care too much about salary because my student loans should be manageable especially if LRAP kicks in.
I do not know of any non-attorney policy jobs for entry level. If they exist, they'll require a masters in enviro or energy policy. The only attorneys I know doing policy started their career in an attorney capacity.

HmmOhkay
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Re: Enviro/Energy Impact Litigation attorney - AMA

Post by HmmOhkay » Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:33 am

Nebby wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:32 pm

I do not know of any non-attorney policy jobs for entry level. If they exist, they'll require a masters in enviro or energy policy. The only attorneys I know doing policy started their career in an attorney capacity.
I think there are some listed on PSJD as Clinical/Academic, not sure if a masters is required, but I suspect there are plenty of candidates who do have a masters applying for them...

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Nebby
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Re: Enviro/Energy Impact Litigation attorney - AMA

Post by Nebby » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:12 am

HmmOhkay wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:33 am
Nebby wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:32 pm

I do not know of any non-attorney policy jobs for entry level. If they exist, they'll require a masters in enviro or energy policy. The only attorneys I know doing policy started their career in an attorney capacity.
I think there are some listed on PSJD as Clinical/Academic, not sure if a masters is required, but I suspect there are plenty of candidates who do have a masters applying for them...
If its on PSJD it most likely requires a JD. Clinics are ran by practicing attorneys, and legal academia requires a JD.

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Re: Enviro/Energy Impact Litigation attorney - AMA

Post by TransferHopeful17 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:32 am

I found public interest environmental jobs much harder to come by--both to find and to interview for--than environmental jobs in government. Just my two cents. I imagine interning for a public interest org is key, but even then, funding has to keep openings pretty limited. Either way, it's a tough road.

I applied to a few public interest positions but didn't get an interview. I had considerably more success with government positions. That said, I interned with a few agencies. Competency and interest go a long way when you do finally get your foot in the door. It's a complex area, so being able to show some understanding and commitment to learning more can help.

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Nebby
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Re: Enviro/Energy Impact Litigation attorney - AMA

Post by Nebby » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:54 pm

TransferHopeful17 wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:32 am
I found public interest environmental jobs much harder to come by--both to find and to interview for--than environmental jobs in government.
Yep. There are, on average, probably only 10 to 15 entry-level positions available every year across all public interest environmental organizations. They are really competitive for no reason other than the dearth of options. It makes hiring difficult, too. There are more applicants that check all the boxes (good grades, good school, good work experience) than there are openings.

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Re: Enviro/Energy Impact Litigation attorney - AMA

Post by HmmOhkay » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:01 pm

TransferHopeful17 wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:32 am
I found public interest environmental jobs much harder to come by--both to find and to interview for--than environmental jobs in government. Just my two cents. I imagine interning for a public interest org is key, but even then, funding has to keep openings pretty limited. Either way, it's a tough road.

I applied to a few public interest positions but didn't get an interview. I had considerably more success with government positions. That said, I interned with a few agencies. Competency and interest go a long way when you do finally get your foot in the door. It's a complex area, so being able to show some understanding and commitment to learning more can help.
Are you talking about state or federal level positions? I'm not interested in working for the fed gov at this point (I'm sure great arguments can be made as to why it makes sense, but it's a non starter for me right now at least), but would be interested in state/local positions. Also, is there a place where open (state/local) government positions would be aggregated? (other than the previously mentioned psjd).

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Re: Enviro/Energy Impact Litigation attorney - AMA

Post by TransferHopeful17 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:48 pm

Opportunities in state and city government are going to be few and far between at entry-level but it's not unheard of. I found Governmentjobs.com to be somewhat helpful.

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Nebby
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Re: Enviro/Energy Impact Litigation attorney - AMA

Post by Nebby » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:26 am

Based on my very limited knowledge of entry-level government environmental hiring, two places I know that hire entry level are: NYC EPA and Illinois Attorney General - Environmental Enforcement

However, these places only hire like 0 to 2 entry level per year.

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Re: Enviro/Energy Impact Litigation attorney - AMA

Post by TransferHopeful17 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:31 am

Similar situation on the west coast, with the most opportunity probably being with WA AG followed by Idaho and Montana, particularly if you're interested in natural resources. I think it's either Wyoming or Montana that has courts dedicated specifically to water rights disputes, which seems pretty cool.

HmmOhkay
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Re: Enviro/Energy Impact Litigation attorney - AMA

Post by HmmOhkay » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:09 pm

Is it likely/safe to assume that these positions would require passing the bar in that state? Pretty significant obstacle if so.

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Re: Enviro/Energy Impact Litigation attorney - AMA

Post by Nebby » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:55 pm

HmmOhkay wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:09 pm
Is it likely/safe to assume that these positions would require passing the bar in that state? Pretty significant obstacle if so.
I know the IL AG entry level doesn't.

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Re: Public Interest Environmental Attorney - AMA

Post by HmmOhkay » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:42 am

What's a typical salary scale for positions in public interest environmental law work, particularly at nonprofits? Like, starting from entry level up to staff attorney (or equivalent) type positions?

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Nebby
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Re: Public Interest Environmental Attorney - AMA

Post by Nebby » Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:27 pm

HmmOhkay wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:42 am
What's a typical salary scale for positions in public interest environmental law work, particularly at nonprofits? Like, starting from entry level up to staff attorney (or equivalent) type positions?
My knowledge is limited to my organization and similar nonprofits (e.g., NRDC, Earthjustice, etc.)

Entry level positions (typically 2-year fellowship) run between 60k to 70k, depending on location. A lot of orgs are starting to call these positions "Associate Attorney" positions (ELPC, Sierra Club, & Earthjustice all do this).

Staff Attorney (2+ years experience) start around 75k and slowly go up with each year of experience. Some org's (Sierra Club) don't promote people to Staff Attorney without 5+ years experience. Others, like my org, promote people after successfully completing a 2-year Associate Attorney position.

Senior Staff Attorneys (10+ years experience) make 100k+. The highest paid senior staff attorney at my org makes 150k (30sh years of experience).

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Re: Public Interest Environmental Attorney - AMA

Post by 21157015576609 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:06 am

Tagging this thread as a former EPA regional enforcement attorney.

HmmOhkay
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Re: Public Interest Environmental Attorney - AMA

Post by HmmOhkay » Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:41 am

Nebby wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:27 pm
HmmOhkay wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:42 am
What's a typical salary scale for positions in public interest environmental law work, particularly at nonprofits? Like, starting from entry level up to staff attorney (or equivalent) type positions?
My knowledge is limited to my organization and similar nonprofits (e.g., NRDC, Earthjustice, etc.)

Entry level positions (typically 2-year fellowship) run between 60k to 70k, depending on location. A lot of orgs are starting to call these positions "Associate Attorney" positions (ELPC, Sierra Club, & Earthjustice all do this).

Staff Attorney (2+ years experience) start around 75k and slowly go up with each year of experience. Some org's (Sierra Club) don't promote people to Staff Attorney without 5+ years experience. Others, like my org, promote people after successfully completing a 2-year Associate Attorney position.

Senior Staff Attorneys (10+ years experience) make 100k+. The highest paid senior staff attorney at my org makes 150k (30sh years of experience).
Interesting. However, the impression I've gotten is that the supposedly entry level "Associate Attorney" type positions actually often like/prefer candidates who already have 1-3 years of experience (like Clerkship or fellow positions but also possibly litigation at a firm). If that's the case, I'm not sure if they really feel like entry level positions. Contrast this with "Legal Fellow" type positions, which seem to be aimed at people with little or no experience, and it seems to me like the progression goes Legal Fellow --> Associate Attorney --> Staff Attorney. Does that seem like a fairly accurate description?

I guess if you have experience before an AA position this also explains how you can go from AA to Staff Attorney at orgs that want 5+ years exp (otherwise there would seem to be a gap between when you finish AA term right out of law school and when you can apply for Staff Attorney).

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Re: Public Interest Environmental Attorney - AMA

Post by Nebby » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:48 am

HmmOhkay wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:41 am
Nebby wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:27 pm
HmmOhkay wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:42 am
What's a typical salary scale for positions in public interest environmental law work, particularly at nonprofits? Like, starting from entry level up to staff attorney (or equivalent) type positions?
My knowledge is limited to my organization and similar nonprofits (e.g., NRDC, Earthjustice, etc.)

Entry level positions (typically 2-year fellowship) run between 60k to 70k, depending on location. A lot of orgs are starting to call these positions "Associate Attorney" positions (ELPC, Sierra Club, & Earthjustice all do this).

Staff Attorney (2+ years experience) start around 75k and slowly go up with each year of experience. Some org's (Sierra Club) don't promote people to Staff Attorney without 5+ years experience. Others, like my org, promote people after successfully completing a 2-year Associate Attorney position.

Senior Staff Attorneys (10+ years experience) make 100k+. The highest paid senior staff attorney at my org makes 150k (30sh years of experience).
Interesting. However, the impression I've gotten is that the supposedly entry level "Associate Attorney" type positions actually often like/prefer candidates who already have 1-3 years of experience (like Clerkship or fellow positions but also possibly litigation at a firm). If that's the case, I'm not sure if they really feel like entry level positions. Contrast this with "Legal Fellow" type positions, which seem to be aimed at people with little or no experience, and it seems to me like the progression goes Legal Fellow --> Associate Attorney --> Staff Attorney. Does that seem like a fairly accurate description?

I guess if you have experience before an AA position this also explains how you can go from AA to Staff Attorney at orgs that want 5+ years exp (otherwise there would seem to be a gap between when you finish AA term right out of law school and when you can apply for Staff Attorney).
They are still entry-level because they are available to people with 0-3 years experience (definition of entry-level most commonly used in legal employment). Yes, having a competitive background (clerkship, etc.) will make you more desirable, but they still hire entry-level candidates if they check all the boxes and are a good fit.

FYI, Legal Fellow positions are similarly open to people with 0-3 years experience and often hire people w/ clerkships or previous fellowship. There's little difference between an inhouse* legal fellow and associate attorney. *Inhouse meaning the funding is not from an outside source (those fellowships are different).

I never said it was easy to get an entry-level position at an environmental nonprofit (it's extremely competitive and way more qualified applicants than positions).

The orgs that require 5+ for Staff Attorney will retain you and you'll keep the Associate Attorney title. THe only difference is that your two-year trial period is over.

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Re: Public Interest Environmental Attorney - AMA

Post by Nebby » Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:34 am

Yearly bump 😂

Enviro attorney

Re: Public Interest Environmental Attorney - AMA

Post by Enviro attorney » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:11 pm

I work for government agency doing environmental enforcement work. Coming into law school, I was pretty set on doing public interest work of some kind.

In the environmental field, I felt like there were relatively fewer entry-level jobs compared to other PI work, such as public defender or legal aid.

I recommend not putting all your eggs in just the environmental basket. Do an internship or two at an environmental agency or nonprofit, do a journal, take classes, maybe do a part-time clinic or an enviro seminar.

But do other types of internships, seminars, and journals and clinics. You are not limited to just your 1L and 2L summers in which to do internships.

I interned during 3 out of 4 semesters in the 2L and 3L year. I did enviro work (journals, seminars, internships, etc.). But I also did a lot of stuff in a different PI field. (Think something like public defender.)

Whatever field you apply to for entry-level jobs, you just want to demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in that field.

I tried to get an enviro job out of LS, but got rejected repeatedly, and I applied across many organizations and states. For example, NRDC, EPA, state departments, regional EPA honors programs, little lesser known nonprofits. No hits.

I worked at the same time and got an entry-level position in a different field. Something like PD. After several years of doing that, I had experience and time (no 3L crunch to get a job) to find the right enviro job for me.

Was it time-consuming to work so many extracurriculars during my 2L and 3L year, on top of regular classes. Yes, it was. I mitigated the difficulty of my classes by taking a lot of clinics and for-credit externships and seminars, though. Not as many bar classes.

Of course, YMMV.

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Nebby
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Re: Public Interest Environmental Attorney - AMA

Post by Nebby » Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:05 pm

Good advice ^

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