Quote from: Boyce Baylor on February 25, 2008, 03:58:58 PMThe best school you get into.While this is often the default right answwer, I disagree with it being so here. Environmental laws vary from region to region, and from state to state. There are of course national statues, but the applicability of those to specific areas varies. If you have a strong interest in the litigation, permitting, and regulatory effects of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, going to the best school you got into, say Iowa, may not be smartest move. Unlike say corporate law, or family law, environmental law is very issue and region specific. An environmental specialty practice area may be limited by location, so “go to the best school you get into” does not universally apply here. Likewise while the competition for environmental jobs, thus the benifit of going to a name brand school, is fiercest at the national level (EPA DC office, Serra Club Headquarters etc.) there are relatively few of those jobs actually available. The majority people who practice environmental law do it at a local level. At this level far more important that you have a good grasp on the policy and issues of the specific region than it is that you went any specific school. Environmental law is highly interdisciplinary, and again regionally specific, a good grasp of those local issues is going to be more important than the name on your diploma. Employers can teach you what the law is, they don’t want to have to also teach why the law is such a hot button issue in that region. Take for example the legal issues surrounding public lands. Only a miniscule amount of the nation’s public lands are east of the Mississippi. The vast majority are the in the west (our national history being the reason). Less than 2% of New York State is public land, 80+% of Nevada is owned by the federal or state government. Ranching and mineral extraction are big business in Nevada, the majority of it is done by permit on public lands (BLM lands). This is the same land the draws visitors to hike, fish, hunt and camp. Some people are using it for enjoyment, others for profit. Throw in some endangered species, local zoning, powerful political lobbies and environmental lawyers on both sides of the issue (corporate and public interest) and you have some pretty big legal issues over something that does not even exist out east. BU in Boston is much higher ranked than UNLV, but the regional specific knowledge you need to be an effective public lands practitioner in Nevada not going to be taught there, nor are you going to absorb it through local media attention. It is a state and regional issue, and one that you must master first before you can be an effective environmental lawyer there. Its also highly unlikely Nevada firms and Public interest originations are doing OCI at BU for environmental lawyers for the same reasons.
The best school you get into.
Do not rely on specialty rankings. This has been discussed numerous times.