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A Bite-Size Guide towards Environmentally Friendly Legal Careers

Picking the right career for you is essential, but how often is your future employers’ carbon footprint a key consideration in the job search? How often do you take into account the impact your future career will have on the planet? The Legal Career Guide for Graduates aims to help you explore the environmental integrity of your professional goals. Whether you’d like a career in law or want to consider moving away from the traditional route, this mini guide has options for graduates that are interested in sustainable practices in their future workplace.

Environmental Lawyer

As a lawyer, you can specialise in practising environmental or energy law. While these are niche areas, they contribute significantly to the protection of the environment in the legal sphere. Though this may seem like an obvious choice for a green legal career, positions are competitive due to the scarcity of job opportunities and the limited availability of training contracts. This route, although traditional, would require post-graduate study and further qualifications atop your legal practice certification. Recently, job opportunities in this domain have been flourishing and expanding in light of the increased demand for environmental advocacy. So, don’t let the challenge dissuade you! Environmental law is a highly rewarding field of legal practice.

Environmental Education Officer

These officers are employed by local authorities, charities and government organisations to educate while publicising environmental conservation. Some of these roles include Energy Conservation Officer, Environmental Health Officer, Recycling Officer, etc… This route does not necessarily require a law degree, though a legal background would greatly benefit the role due to its frequent correspondence with various legal departments.

Environmental Manager

Environmental Managers work alongside organisations to oversee their impact on the environment and assist them in developing responsive strategies. A key task includes compliance with environmental policies, ensuring that legislation is duly followed, and communicating with regulatory bodies. Environmental Managers can find employment in all disciplines including public sector institutions like universities or local government, and private sector firms like construction companies or finance companies. If you are interested in the commercial side of law but feel reluctant to work in a notoriously unsustainable industry, this position allows you to immerse sustainable habits into corporate environments.

While choosing an environmentally-friendly position in the legal sector is important, it is just as crucial that your potential employers are using sustainable corporate strategies and setting targets to reduce their carbon footprint. If you find yourself attached to a specific firm or area of law which does not embrace sustainable practices, don’t be afraid to boldly suggest introducing those policies or greening up the workplace. Many law firms have been creating internal strategy groups for climate management and it may take one employee to mobilise this progressive step towards sustainability in the workplace.

How do I find an environmentally friendly employer?

Many employers use different schemes to remain environmentally conscious, such as:

- Cycle-to-Work Schemes

- Environmental Campaigns

- Environmentally-friendly Offices

- Communal Office Desk Spaces

Don’t be afraid to ask employers what their policies or targets are when it comes to searching for jobs, or whether they participate in any of these schemes.

Most importantly, do research ahead of time to determine who your prospective employer’s largest clients are and how environmentally sustainable their practices are. Law firms are largely client-based, so a sustainable firm may still be working in tandem with unsustainable conglomerates.

Where can I find out more about green careers in law?

Job sites can be very useful when researching the career best suited for you. Here are some suggested resources:

Reed Jobs:

The University of Law : ᶦᶦ

The Guardian Jobs page: ᶦᶦᶦ

These sites specifically look at environmental legal careers and provide steps on how to gain access to this sector. If you are currently a student, your university will likely have a Career Advice Clinic, Centre, or Advisor to help you better navigate this process. While making an environmentally conscious choice is important, it is just as important to make the right decision for you.


ᶦ < > accessed 3rd July 2021

ᶦᶦ < > accessed 4th July 2021

ᶦᶦᶦ > accessed 4th July 2021

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