What Can You Do with an Environmental Law Degree?

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Environmental issues have become increasingly prominent in today’s world, and the need for professionals who can address these challenges has grown immensely. Pursuing a degree in environmental law can open up a wide range of career opportunities that allow individuals to make a positive impact on the environment. If you’re passionate about both law and the environment, here’s a comprehensive guide on what you can do with an environmental law degree.

Environmental law degrees have gained significant importance as society recognizes the urgent need to protect our planet. With increasing concerns about climate change, sustainability, and conservation, environmental lawyers play a crucial role in shaping policies, advocating for environmental rights, and ensuring the responsible use of natural resources. Let’s explore the potential career paths that await those with an environmental law degree.

Overview of Environmental Law Degrees

An environmental law degree is designed to equip students with the necessary legal knowledge and skills to tackle environmental challenges. These programs typically cover a wide range of topics, including environmental regulations, natural resources law, climate change law, and environmental justice. By studying environmental law, students develop an understanding of the legal frameworks surrounding environmental issues and learn how to navigate complex environmental disputes.

Career Opportunities with an Environmental Law Degree

  1. Government Agencies: Environmental law graduates can work in various government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Justice, or state environmental departments. In these roles, professionals may be involved in drafting and enforcing environmental regulations, conducting investigations, and representing the government in environmental litigation.

  2. Non-profit Organizations: Many non-profit organizations focus on environmental advocacy and conservation efforts. Environmental law graduates can work for organizations like Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, or the World Wildlife Fund, where they can contribute to policy development, engage in litigation, and advocate for environmental causes.

  3. Private Sector: Environmental law professionals are in demand in the private sector as well. Companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of environmental compliance and sustainability. Environmental lawyers can work with corporations to ensure compliance with environmental regulations, conduct environmental due diligence for mergers and acquisitions, and provide legal guidance on sustainable business practices.

  4. Academia and Research: Some environmental law graduates may choose to pursue a career in academia or research. They can become professors, research fellows, or policy analysts, focusing on environmental law and policy issues. These roles allow individuals to contribute to knowledge creation, mentor future environmental lawyers, and influence policy through research and analysis.

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Environmental Law Degree and Advocacy

Advocacy is a vital aspect of environmental law. Environmental lawyers have the opportunity to advocate for environmental rights, sustainable practices, and the protection of natural resources. Through their expertise, they can influence policy-making, engage in public interest litigation, and represent individuals or communities affected by environmental injustices. By leveraging their legal skills, environmental law graduates can be powerful agents of change.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What are the admission requirements for environmental law programs?

Admission requirements vary between institutions, but typically include a bachelor’s degree, a competitive GPA, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and satisfactory scores on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).

2. Can I specialize in a specific area of environmental law?

Yes, many environmental law programs offer specialized courses or concentrations in areas such as climate change law, energy law, water law, or international environmental law. Specializing can enhance your expertise in a specific field of environmental law.

3. How long does it typically take to complete an environmental law degree?

The duration of environmental law programs can vary, but most are designed to be completed in three years of full-time study.

4. Are there any specific bar exams or certifications required for environmental lawyers?

Environmental lawyers are typically required to pass the bar exam in the state(s) where they wish to practice law. Additionally, some states offer certifications in environmental law that can demonstrate specialized expertise.

5. What are the potential salary ranges for environmental law professionals?

Salaries for environmental law professionals can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and the sector in which they work. Entry-level salaries generally range from $50,000 to $80,000 per year, with the potential for higher salaries as experience grows.

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6. How competitive is the job market for environmental law graduates?

The job market for environmental law graduates can be competitive, but the increasing focus on environmental issues and sustainability has created more opportunities in recent years. Networking, gaining practical experience through internships, and staying up-to-date with environmental law developments can enhance job prospects.


An environmental law degree not only provides individuals with a solid legal foundation but also offers exciting career opportunities. Whether working in government agencies, non-profit organizations, the private sector, or pursuing a path in academia, environmental law graduates can play a significant role in protecting the environment, advocating for sustainability, and shaping policies that will benefit future generations. If you’re passionate about the environment and want to make a difference, consider pursuing an environmental law degree and be part of the solution.

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