What Does an Environmental and Land Use Attorney Do?
- This practice area deals with federal, state, and local laws and regulations that pertain to the earth and its natural resources.
- Environmental and land use lawyers address the way people and industries such as commercial and residential building developers, industrial and manufacturing companies, and conservationists utilize the land and its resources.
- Attorneys who practice in this area provide legal advice on matters such as air and water quality, pollution, oil spills, emissions, pesticides, asbestos, wetlands, waste, toxins, hazardous substances, environmental cleanup, landfills, zoning laws, and the protection of animals and their habitats.
- Environmental and land use lawyers also provide advice on matters that arise under federal laws such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, National Environmental Quality Act, Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Act, and Migratory Bird Act, as well as similar state laws.
- They also help prepare environmental impact statements.
- Attorneys in this practice group may represent public interest groups with environmental concerns, or they may represent large companies being sued or challenged for development projects (or they may counsel these companies).
- Environmental attorneys are typically involved when there are large real estate or project development deals that could affect the environment.
- This can also be a fairly emotional practice area because nature, fish, animals, homes, and businesses can be impacted.
Why Do Environmental and Land Use Attorneys Enjoy Their Jobs?
- Attorneys who enjoy fighting to protect the environment often enjoy this practice area a great deal because they feel they are accomplishing something.
- Attorneys defending large corporations often also enjoy the work and can bill massive hours to the companies they are representing.
- Much of the information is also scientific and attorneys who enjoy science also are attracted to environmental law.
What Are the Difficulties of Being an Environmental and Land Use Attorney?
- Among those suing companies on behalf of public interest groups, the work can be exhausting and demoralizing because the attorneys are often outgunned by huge law firms representing massive corporations that win most of the time.
- Regarding defending and counseling companies, attorneys face the same stresses as litigators.
- This has been a slow and dying practice area since the early 1990s, and there are not a lot of opportunities on the defense and counseling side anymore.
- The work for one client can often keep attorneys inside of a law firm busy for years.
- When these sorts of cases are over, the attorneys inside the law firm are often left with nothing to do and need to find new jobs.
How Easy Is It to Move Laterally as an Environmental and Land Use Attorney?
- This has typically been a dying practice area and very difficult for attorneys to lateral into, or get into the inside of law firms.
- There was a time when this was a booming practice area in the late 1970s through the 1980s, but the work that drove this boom has largely gone away.
- Very few large law firms do significant work here anymore, and the practice area is a difficult one for attorneys.
- There are not a lot of opportunities to lateral into major law firms and have not been for some time.
- There are some pockets of success in major law firms, but these tend to be small pockets of attorneys in these firms and these attorneys are often concerned about their futures.
- From a lateral perspective, when there are opportunities there are often only a few attorneys who are qualified for them.
- This can make getting these jobs less difficult for a qualified candidate than it could be in other practice areas.
- Notwithstanding, there are far more attorneys who would like to practice environmental law than there are attorneys that can find jobs inside of law firms doing the work.
- This is an exceptionally difficult practice area to get into, stay employed in, and lateral in.
See the current Environmental and Land Use job openings we are recruiting for here: Environmental and Land Use Attorney Jobs
Environmental Case Studies
- A Senior Contract Environmental Attorney from the Midwest Moves Gets Multiple Interviews in Seattle and Accepts a Position With a Top Law Firm
- Senior Attorney in a Niche Environmental Practice Group Looking for a New Position
About Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.
With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.
Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.
Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.
One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog, HarrisonBarnes.com, and BCGSearch.com, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.
One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.
Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.
In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.
Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.
In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.
About BCG Attorney Search
BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit www.BCGSearch.com.
Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom
Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom
You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays
You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts
You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives
Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.
Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.
To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.