Starting a career in environmental law can be a good career choice for one who is passionate about finding solutions to environmental problems. Starting a career in environmental law can put you in a position to regulate environmental practices. Additionally, you can prevent people from mistreating the environment and safeguard our natural resources and ecosystems.
Starting a career in environmental law begins with how you connect to the environment. You need to be passionate about the environment to be able to protect it. Additionally, you need to be knowledgeable in law and public policy. However, you need to acquire the right education and skills in other to be successful in this career path.
In this piece, I will discuss the steps involved in starting a career in environmental law.
Steps to Starting a Career in Environmental Law
Complete your Secondary Education
This is the first requirement to meet if you decide to pursue any career. You need to obtain an O’level Certificate to enable you to apply to study in tertiary institutions. Additionally, you should have a minimum of credits in your grades.
Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
This is the first step to take towards starting a career in environmental law. You can apply to a university to study to gain a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy, business management, political science or a related field. Furthermore, obtaining a bachelor’s degree is needed to be admitted into a law school.
Gain Practical Experience
After obtaining your bachelor’s degree, you should apply to work in an administrative or research role in the environmental law sector. This can be in the form of a volunteer role or an entry-level role. This can help you gain hands-on experience on this career path. Additionally, you can also have the opportunity to meet with mentors and industry experts who can guide you in shaping your career.
Attend a Law School
You cannot become a lawyer without attending law school. You will spend three years in a law school where you will learn the knowledge and skills needed to thrive as a lawyer in the environmental sector. At the end of your learning years, you will obtain a Juris Doctor degree(JD).
Write the Bar Exam
The bar examination will enable you to get a license to practice as an environmental lawyer. After completing law school, you should register and sit for the bar exam. Furthermore, after the bar exam is passed, you can receive a license as a lawyer.
Obtain a Postgraduate Degree
You can consider pursuing a postgraduate degree. A postgraduate degree can enable you to receive higher salaries and make to eligible for senior-level positions. However, you can consider getting a Master of Law, a Master of Environmental Law or a PhD.
Develop Relevant Skills
As an environmental lawyer, you must become efficient in relevant skills. You should build skills such as negotiation, legal drafting, written and oral communication, time management, legal procedure and problem-solving.
Apply for Positions
Applying for positions is one of the final steps towards becoming an environmental lawyer. Even if you have no legal experience, you can write a CV that showcases your unique qualities and dedication to the field. Additionally, you can also start by applying for entry-level or associate jobs.
Areas of Specialisation in Environmental Law
- Water Law: Lawyers in this field ensure that rivers, lakes and oceans are kept clean and free from pollution. Furthermore, water laws protect aquatic ecosystems by preventing oil spills and other carbon emissions from entering marine environments.
- Climate Change: Climate change lawyers assist clients with technology developments that can help reduce carbon emissions and global warming. The law ensures that the Earth will continue to be a habitable habitat for humans and animals for the foreseeable future.
- Energy Law: Energy law covers the legislative laws that control the use and taxation of both renewable and nonrenewable energy sources.
- Food Law: Food laws govern food production, processing, and transit. This environmental law class safeguards public health by controlling food distribution and consumption.
- Land Use Law: This field of law oversees land use, establishing legal guidelines for municipal planning and zoning. Land use lawyers may work in government, enforcing land use rules to conserve natural resources and wildlife.
- Natural Resources Law: Natural resource laws govern the use and conservation of natural resources such as water, lumber, minerals, oil, public lands, and wildlife. Additionally, Lawyers in this field assist real estate developers in how to carry out their projects by the state’s natural resource regulations.
Schools to Study Environmental Law in Africa
- University of Benin, Nigeria
- Covenant University, Nigeria
- University of Cape Town, South Africa
- Cairo University, Egypt
- University of Ibadan, Nigeria
- Makerere University, Uganda
- University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
- Ain Shams University, Egypt
- University of Pretoria, South Africa
- Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
- University of Nairobi, Kenya
- University of Lagos, Nigeria
- Jimma University, Ethiopia
- University of Nigeria
- Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria
- University of Ilorin, Nigeria
- Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technolgy, Ghana
- Sohag University, Egypt
- University of Calabar, Nigeria
- Rhodes University, Egypt
- Tunis University, Tunisia
- University of Botswana, Botswana
In Conclusion, starting a career in environmental law can be considered a good career choice to make. One of the reasons is that the career space is not saturated and it also allows you to do what you love. Furthermore, The demand for lawyers is expected to grow by 9% between 2020 and 2030. The market for environmental lawyers is growing and will continue to expand as the globe becomes more ecologically concerned. Additionally, It is important to pay attention to the criteria required to attain this career as it will be a major determinant for your success in your career pursuit.