The Law as a Career

Rachel Quistorf

Environmental Law

  • Environmental law is a broad area of law that encompasses a range of issues surrounding the environment including water, air quality, and hazardous waste.


  • An environmental lawyer works to represent clients in legal issues such as in clean technology, water law, climate change law and the management of land subject to native title and other public land. Other areas of focus include environmental rights, international environmental law, law of the sea and international resources law. The successful environmental lawyer should be able to communicate effectively.
  • The purpose of an Environmental Lawyer is to work with environmental case law and legislation to represent various environmental interests. Environmental laws regulate and define the activities of humans upon the geological and biological systems. Issues such as ecology, sustainability, responsibility, and stewardship are often cause for legal actions.

Practice environment

  • Environmental Lawyers work within private firms, government, and academia. They work mostly in an office environment but also regularly represent clients in court and engage in teaching at universities. Environmental Lawyers tend to work long hours and are required to be flexible depending on the demands of certain cases. Day to day duties of an Environmental Lawyer can include meeting with clients, researching environmental legal developments, drafting documents and educating the public and students about environmental law.


  • The median salary range for an Environmental Lawyer is $113,530 per year or $54.58 per hour. In Wisconsin the median salary $86,960.

Education and Training

  • To practice as an environmental lawyer you will need to obtain a law degree commonly known as a Bachelor of Laws or a Jurist Doctor. You can also get a Masters of Environmental Law or a Doctor of Philosophy degree. After getting your degree you are required to gain practical experience and take further examinations to be admitted to the bar. Once admitted to the bar you can legally give advice.