December 2007


This month we focus on Environmental Law and the many paths a career in this broad field can take you.  We have included some environmental career advice, a summary of our public interest environmental career panel and some career "tips," and a list of upcoming career fairs where environmental employers will be in attendance.  And, of course, please do not miss our First Annual Pace Law School Winter Career Fair on Thursday evening, January 17, from 6 - 8pm in the Tudor Room.  Bring your resumes and interest and feel free to mingle and speak with as many employers as you wish.  We will circulate more information about the Fair in an upcoming email.

      So, good luck on exams, enjoy the holidays and see you in January!

2007-2008 Guide to Environmental Legal Careers 

     It’s finally here!!! After many rounds of revisions and much collaboration between the Center for Career Development (CCD) and the Center for Environmental Legal Studies (CELS), we are proud to launch the 2007-2008 Guide to Environmental Legal Careers!  To access the Guide, you will need to enter the username "carpe" and password "diem."  Hardcopies will also be available in the CCD and the CELS.  As usual, please do not share the document or this password outside the Pace community.  Please note that this Guide is an ongoing work in progress and will be updated periodically.  We welcome constructive feedback at any time on this Guide or any of our other guides or programs.

 

 Environmental Careers – Following Your Path Return to top

     Over one third of each entering Pace Law School class comes to Pace to pursue a career in environmental, land use and/or energy law.  The good news is that there are many positions open to our graduates in these fields.  The key is finding one that fits your skill set, interests, geographic profile, and lifestyle.

     Many Pace graduates seek out positions in private practice.  This setting affords lawyers significant variety in the type of clients they work with and matters they handle.  Compliance counseling, permitting, land use, zoning, and litigation are all matters handled by private firms across the nation.  Senior law firm partners invest significant time and energy in training their new associates in the application of the law and in managing cases, preparing client memoranda, and court representation.  I personally gained a fantastic grounding in the Clean Air Act, Superfund, the Clean Water Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in private practice at Winston & Strawn in Washington, D.C. In this environment, I also honed my client relations skills and gained an understanding of how law firms market their skills and services to clients. 

     Other Pace students find themselves drawn to the not-for-profit sector.  This sector is broad, and in my mind, includes traditional advocacy groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council or Defenders of Wildlife for example; “place-based” groups like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation or Save the (Long Island ) Sound; and trade associations which represent a particular industry or environmental service provider, like the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. Reflecting on my own career, I came to Pace after spending eleven years working in trade associations.  I found this practice-setting engaging because I was empowered by my collective clients to take a public position, to build coalitions and forge relationships with diverse interests, to litigate when needed, and to impact public policy.  Talk with any of our graduates in advocacy based organizations and they’ll tell you that they are energized by the ability to carry a message and agenda forward and to make a difference.

     Another career path popular for Pace alumni is government service.  Once again, this sector is broad and encompasses practice at the local, state, or federal government levels.  There are many ways to serve in government – from regulatory and policy development and implementation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or a state agency – or to litigating for the United States for the U.S. Department of Justice or a state attorney general’s office.  Our graduates in this field are as passionate about their work as any.   

     And of course, there are many positions that do not fit any “mold” – such as working on public policy in a think tank, teaching, international environmental work, and more.  The bottom line is to take advantage of the many opportunities Pace provides to “test” out a variety of work settings and practice environments while you are here as a student.  Talk to Center for Career Development staff about their ideas; meet with your professors; and of course, my door is always open.  The opportunities in the field are truly endless. . . .

                            —    Alex Dunn, Assistant Dean for the Center for Environmental Legal Studies

Recent Program: Public Interest Careers in Environmental Law
Return to top

        On Tuesday, November 13, the Center for Career Development and the Center for Environmental Legal Studies hosted three terrific practitioners to speak about Public Interest Careers in Environmental Law:  Andrew J. Provence (Pace Law ‘98), Associate at Ansell Zaro Grimm & Aaron in NJ and of Counsel to Clean Ocean Action; Leah Schmalz (Pace Law ‘00), Director of Legislative and Legal Affairs, Save the Sound, a program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment; and Fredrick Turner, of Counsel to Snyder & Snyder, Tarrytown, NY, and Board Member of Federated Conservationists of Westchester County.  Asst. Dean Alex Dunn from the Center for Environmental Legal Studies moderated the evening’s panel.  Also in attendance was Adjunct Prof. Dan Estrin, Supervising Attorney for the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, who contributed much helpful insight and answers to student questions.

A notable theme of the evening was that each of the panelists took a slightly different route to their current positions – Mr. Provence started at a private law firm and assumed a general counsel position to the public interest organizations, Ms. Schmalz spent time as a judicial clerk and then as a staff attorney at Save the Sound, and Mr. Turner worked in agencies such as NYC Corp Counsel, the Legal Aid Society, the Environmental Crime Bureau of the NYS Attorney General’s Office and served as the Town of Greenburgh’s Attorney before joining his firm – but they all agreed that they had made certain choices to follow their passions and interests.  When asked for career “tips” from the student audience, the panelists independently emphasized many of the same points we teach here at the CCD:

·       Know what’s out there and explore the possibilities – there are positions in numerous government agencies, law firms and organizations, and they may be in New York, Boston, Denver or New Jersey; knowing what’s out there and where your area of interest is practiced is the first step in building your career path; the new Guide to Environmental Legal Careers is a great place to start; you should also speak with a CCD career counselor.

·       Network! Network! Network! – nothing beats meeting and speaking with people who practice in an area you are interested in; remember, most jobs come to fruition from personal contacts; you may be able to get your “foot in the door” at your potential employer-of-choice by simply speaking to someone who works there, even if only to learn more about what the employer does; if  you are not comfortable “cold” speaking with someone, we can help you learn how to contact organizations and people for “informational” interviews, join Bar associations and various committees and generally learn to feel more confident about asking attorneys about what they do; you may also find a good mentor, another important component to finding a satisfying legal career.  Another way to network and learn about an organization is to volunteer there.  All of the panelists noted that they had volunteered with environmental not-for-profits because (i) they were interested in the causes the organizations represented and (ii) they wanted to get inside the organizations they hoped to work for some day.  Many not-for-profits are eager for help and will be very receptive to your enthusiasm and (freely offered) time.  Plus, if there are no current positions open now, you want them to know your name and the quality of your work with them if a position does open in the future.

·       Know yourself – any satisfying career path requires some self-assessment; in environmental law in particular, also knowing your political and moral ideologies will help you identify the kind of employer you would want to work for (though even in private practice we are hearing that the trend is no longer to label sides as “good” vs. “bad”); you should also note what you are willing to compromise (money for more satisfying but low-paying position; living in a different part of the country to be able to work for the EPA; working in a litigation law firm for a few years to be able to lateral into a clean water advocacy group).

 

Selected Upcoming Career Fairs

Return to top

        In addition to the many opportunities and organizations listed on our Symplicity site and in the Guide to Environmental Legal Careers, students interested in working during the summer or after graduation in the area of environmental law should consider attending at least one of the following annual career fairs:  

·       The Annual Northeast Consortium Washington , D.C. Spring Job Fair (January 15, 2008; registration closed on December 3, 2007) – interview with such employers as

o      Federal Regulatory Energy Commission

o      Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

o      EPA, Office of Enforcement. 

Contact Nicole Moncayo (nmoncayo@law.pace.edu; 914-422-4217) for more information.

·       NYU Public Interest Legal Career Fair (February 7 and 8, 2008; student registration closed on December 5, 2007) – the list of employers includes

o      Conservation Law Foundation

o      Environmental Defense Fund

o      Greenlining Institute

o      DOJ—Environmental and Natural Resources Division, Environmental Enforcement Section. 

See http://www.law.nyu.edu/depts/publicinterest/pilcfair/index.html for more information.

·       Northern California Public Interest/Public Sector Legal Careers Day, University of California Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, CA (Saturday, February 9,  2008) – for those who are interested in California, this program is sponsored by the Consortium of Northern California law Career Services Offices of several California law schools and the Public Interest Clearinghouse. (Note that formal interviews are limited to students of sponsoring schools (Pace is not a sponsoring school); meet the advocates (tabling) is open to all students/alumni of any school).  Participating advocates for 2007 included (among many others): 

o      California Coastal Commission

o      California Public Utilities Commission

o      Earthjustice, Environmental Law Foundation

o      Sierra Club

For more information, contact Katherine Moser at 415-422-6757 or moserk@usfca.edu or visit: http://www.pic.org/programs/pilp/pipsday.html.

 

·       Annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference – the premier annual gathering for environmentalists worldwide, distinguished as the oldest and largest of its kind. The Conference historically unites more than 3,000 activists, attorneys, students, scientists, and concerned citizens from over 50 countries around the globe to share their experience and expertise. The conference includes over 125 panels, workshops, and multi-media presentations addressing a broad spectrum of environmental law and advocacy. Topics include: forest protection and ecological restoration, grazing and mining reform, labor and human rights, air and water pollution, Native American treaty rights, globalization and "free" trade, environmental justice, corporate responsibility, marine wilderness, international environmental law, water rights and dam removal, oil and gas litigation, genetic engineering, and urban growth.  The Conference is organized solely by the volunteers of Land Air Water (LAW), a student environmental law society, and is sponsored by Friends of Land Air Water (FLAW), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.  The 2008 conference will be held March 6-9, 2008 in Eugene , Oregon . 

For more information on this annual conference see www.pielc.org.

 

·       For a further list of public interest career fairs, see: http://www.pslawnet.org/cms/index.php?pid=54

 

 

Upcoming Events and Programs  

Annual Northeast Consortium DC Career Fair, Washington, DC January 15

First Annual Pace Law School Winter Career Fair !!!  
January 17, 6-8 pm, Tudor Room, Pace Law School

Evening Student Table
January 22, 5-8 pm, Outside Cafeteria

Intensive Interview Prep Workshop
January 23, 5-6 pm
Moot
Court Room

Upcoming Fellowship & Other Deadlines

ELI/Grammy Writing Competition 
December 20

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Summer Legal Internships 
Ja nuary, 15

American Bar Association Section of Litigation Judicial Intern Opportunity Program 
January 18 

Harter Seacrest & Emery LLP Diversity Scholarship 
January 21

 

Pace Law School, Center for Career Development, 78 North Broadway, White Plains, NY 10603  (914) 422-4217   www.law.pace.edu