Does focus matter? Environmental law

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Does focus matter? Environmental law

Postby Eli23 » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:50 pm

I know for sure that I want to do something pertaining to environmental/energy law. I want to live in the southeast (TN, NC, SC, GA), by a city (Charlotte, Greenville, Nashville, Atlanta, etc.). Likely private or business/industry. How important is the existence of an environmental/energy law focus at the law school? Does it matter that a school doesn't have an environmental clinic?

LSAT 159 (but I was getting mid-upper 160s in all practices)
GPA 3.75

Looking @

GW (DC)- Rank 24; very expensive; extensive envi./energy program, classes, and clinics; I don't like DC.
Tennessee (Knoxville)- Rank 65; very inexpensive; 3 envi./energy classes, no program, no clinic, practicum.
Tulane (New Orleans)- Rank 57; moderate; extensive envi./energy program, classes, and clinics; don't want to be in New Orleans.
Wake Forest (Winston-Salem)- Rank 32; moderate/expensive; 4 envi. energy classes, no program, no clinic; like this school in terms of location, campus, etc.


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Re: Does focus matter? Environmental law

Postby beinghuman » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:13 pm

Focus does not really matter. I would strongly encourage you to retake the LSAT and re-apply with the hope of better offers.


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Re: Does focus matter? Environmental law

Postby cannonball » Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:47 am

Seconded. "Focus" does not matter--employers generally don't know that your school is ranked number 8 in healthcare or energy law. The caveat is that relationships or field placements may have caused your school to develop relationships or gain a reputation that could assist with placement in a firm.

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Re: Does focus matter? Environmental law

Postby nealric » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:16 am

It only makes sense to choose a school with a particular focus if you are choosing between similarly ranked schools. For example, it may be worthwhile to choose NYU over Chicago if you are interested in tax, given that NYU has the best tax law program in the country. However, it does NOT make sense to chose a lightly regarded school just because they claim to have a more highly ranked specialty program.

Second, you need to retake the LSAT before you start looking at schools. If you were PTing in the high 160s, you shouldn't give up until you actually score there on the real deal.


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Re: Does focus matter? Environmental law

Postby Ah15e » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:02 pm

I disagree, I think specialized focus at the right school can make a huge difference, IF you are totally (and i mean TOTALLY) committed to pursuing enviro/energy law. If that's your goal, I would easily take a lower ranked school with a great enviro program (one that has a certificate or clinics - offering about 10 classes) over only being able to take 3 classes. [I currently am an environmental attorney for a federal agency - my dream job - and my school was just top 50. BUT, we had an amazing enviro program]. If you couple that with committing yourself to environmental internships and externships, hiring committees for enviro jobs would rather hire somebody who knows environmental law, has a bit more of a science background, and a demonstrated interest in it. Albeit, you can go higher ranked and just make sure you take any environmental opportunity/internship that comes your way, but i really can't overstate the benefit to actual environmental law coursework. My employers repeatedly commented and noted on all of the enviro classes I took. Maybe for other specialities it doesn't work that way, but for environmental law it does (in my experience).

Sounds like only options is GW, which would be a great choice if you can get in and are willing to take on the debt (you're unlikely to get scholarship with your scores unless you retake). The others are too low ranked AND have minimal enviro options - I would say they aren't worth it. Tulane has a great program, but if you don't want to be in NOLA, then that's that. I would recommend taking a look at other SE schools - FSU/UF both have great environmental law programs, and have steady footholds in the SE (FSU is only 4 hours from Atlanta). FSU/UF/Tulane are really the only true SE schools with great enviro programs and are all ranked the same, and all doable with your current test scores. Anything else, focus on rank. I would recommend taking a look at Emory (in ATL) and maybe Duke, UVA, or UNC (all of which have decent enviro programs and/or are in the south) but those would also require a retake of the LSAT most definitely.

hope this helps!

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