The average salary of environmental lawyers

With the eco-friendly shift in recent years, a career in environmental law is one of the hottest "green" jobs in the world. Many businesses in the public and private sectors are seeking legal guidance on such hot-button ecological topics as pollution, energy efficiency and environmental regulation. With individuals with environmental law in such high demand, the industry offers high salaries to match. According to, the median salary of environmental lawyers in the United States is £67,034, though salaries will vary depending on location, industry and experience.

Educational Requirements

To practice environmental law, a J.D. with an emphasis in environmental law is recommended. Look for such interdisciplinary courses as environmental advocacy, pollution control and natural resource management studies, or hazardous waste studies. According to, the best environmental law schools in the country are Vermont Law School in South Royalton, Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Ore., and Pace University Law School in White Plains, N.Y.

Salary Outlook

Environmental law salaries depend on a variety of factors, including location, type of firm, and specific area of practice. According to, the highest-paying U.S. cities for environmental lawyers are New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles with average 2009 salaries of £79,885, £79, 700 and £76,375, respectively. Environmental lawyers in most large cities can expect to make at least £65,000 per year.


Most large law firms currently employ at least one environmental lawyer, as do local, state and federal environmental agencies. Non-profit environmental organisations also typically keep legal staffs well-versed in ecological regulation. The environmental lobby at the state and federal levels also offer plenty of lucrative positions. Typical job titles for those with environmental law degrees include water rights specialists, environmental protection specialists and land-use law analysts.

Growth Forecast

With an increasing concern with global warming and pollution, private and public organisations alike are looking for legal minds with a background in environmental law. According to the Green Economy, a Boston-area environmental consulting firm, the field is expected to grow 18 per cent to 25 per cent over the next decade.

Related Fields

Those interested in environmental law may also be interested in pursuing a career in other ecological-rated areas. For instance, natural resource management involves a combination of science, economics and public policy to help regulate and preserve ecosystems. Environmental advocacy is another similar career field that entails advocating on the behalf of environmental agencies and organisations.

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About the Author

Genevieve Rice is a freelance writer currently living in Phoenix, Ariz. Rice has been published in a variety of publications, including the "Oklahoma Gazette," the "Oklahoma Daily" and "Boyd Street Magazine." She earned a Bachelor of Science in multidisciplinary studies from the University of Oklahoma.