Environmental law is another branch of the law world where solicitors are required to take on cases and fight in favour of environmental laws and regulations.
It is a slightly different spin on the world of being a solicitor, one which many may not even think of. Luckily, there are plenty of courses in order to develop your career in the area and help to ensure Environmental Solicitors/Lawyers are working to the best of their ability.
Here is some information you may need to help you on your path.
What is environmental law?
Environmental law looks at the principles, policies, regulations and directives that are enforced locally, nationally and internationally. The aim is to regulate human treatment of the natural world in relation to the environment.
What work is involved?
An environmental solicitor/lawyer will typically work 40 hours a week. They may be required to travel, meet clients and see the sites in question. The work is quite time consuming and demanding so working extra hours is not unheard of. The day to day duties in this role may differ depending on the exact task. General duties carried out include:
- Research and prepare legal cases
- Prepare documents
- Interview various people involved in cases
- Work with clients
- Enforce environmental regulations
- Alter activities carried out by private and public parties that may be harmful to the environment
- Work alongside other professionals such as scientists and engineers
There are many courses on offer in the area across the UK. Some courses offer the opportunity to study either part time or full time. Universities may have certain restrictions in place due to Coivd-19 and may offer courses online. Courses available include:
These courses provide students with the opportunity to explore issues surrounding environmental law. Key focuses are the political and legal issues concerning environmental protection, climate change policies, natural resources law, environmental ethics and environmental justice. Students will look at both legal practice as well as theory and will also touch on legal technology.
Environmental Law and Justice
The aim of postgraduate courses in this area is to equip students with the practical skills and knowledge in order to work in an area in environmental policy and enforcement as well as contemporary environmental debates. Students will have the opportunity to undertake practical work experience. These programmes are designed in order to help with the continual development and employment prospects of those working in the field.
Other courses available in this area include Environmental Law and Practice, Global Environmental Law and Governance and Energy and Environmental Law, among many others.
Entry requirements may differ from course to course or university to university. Therefore, it is important to research your specific course in detail to ensure you meet the entry requirements. As these courses are postgraduate courses, you will need a bachelor’s degree. Some courses may accept a 2.2 degree while others will require a 2.1. A degree in a relevant area is desired.
Potential employers in this area include:
- Central government bodies
- Local government bodies
- International government bodies
- Non-governmental organisations (eg. charities, campaigning organisations)
- Universities – lecturer/researcher
- Own your own solicitors officer
The salary of an Environmental Lawyer/Solicitor may change depending on who you work for, your experience and the location you’re working in. It is believed the average salary in this role is around £64,300. Starting salaries may be around £28,000 with the highest salaries in the area reaching up to £165,000. All figures are based on estimates and are intended to be used as a guide only.
Skills and requirements
Skills and requirements helpful in this area include:
- Strong communication skills
- Ability to work well with others
- Research and analytical skills
- Time management skills
- An understanding of the environment and what harms and contributes to it
- Critical thinker
- Ability to be vocal in front of others