Why I Chose Environmental Law
I earned my BA on an Army ROTC scholarship and then deferred my required military service until after law school. With my JD in hand, I was accepted to a government honors program in environmental law with the Army as assistant general counsel of the Army at the Pentagon. That’s when I took my first deep dive into the Clean Water Act, advising the secretary of the Army on environmental and land use issues involved in the Corps of Engineers’ civil works projects. These projects involved everything from ambitious environmental restoration ventures and flood risk management initiatives to hydroelectric dams and municipal water supply systems. I also learned the nuts and bolts of the Corps’ 404 regulatory program—the portion of the CWA that governs discharge of dredge and fill materials into navigable U.S. waters.
I enjoyed applying my legal skills to real-world environmental problems presented by high-impact infrastructure, water, and energy projects, and I thrived while mastering environmental rules and laws. When I decided to move into private practice, I couldn’t imagine being anything other than an environmental lawyer.
I’m very enthusiastic about the future of environmental law. I would encourage any attorney with an interest in working on relevant, real-life issues to consider a career in environmental law. How we manage and care for our world’s environment is going to be increasingly important in the future. I see environmental law continuing to evolve and taking on a more pronounced role in business operations and policy.