career in environmental law IN the recent past, growing awareness and sensitivity towards the environment have ensured that both the commo...

career in environmental law

IN the recent past, growing awareness and sensitivity towards the environment have ensured that both the common man and major industrial houses are sentient about the effects of human activities on our natural surroundings and resources. This has led to an increasing need for professionals who can take up litigation related to the environment. It is no wonder then, that the field of environmental law today offers tremendous potential.
"Environmental law has to do with trying to prevent what nature has given us from being depleted and destroyed," explains Vivek Menon, lawyer, adding, "Public interest litigations are often borne out of such noble causes."
There are many avenues for a lawyer working in this field. There are employment opportunities for lawyers with industries, which may face litigation related to environmental law, as well as NGOs who may be fighting for certain environmental causes. Public interest litigations, for causes such as fighting for open spaces or to protect mangroves in Mumbai, are a part of the bulk of issues that concerned lawyers can take up.


One needs to be a practising lawyer in order to take up cases related to environmental law. In order to pursue law, one will need to have passed HSC (or its equivalent) before pursuing the five-year LLB course. Selection to courses is often on the basis of an entrance test.
Once you are studying to become a lawyer, you must focus on the optional subjects of your choice. Several law colleges offer the optional module of environmental law. It would be useful to visit the websites of various law colleges and then have a look at the compulsory and optional modules that are offered in order to get a better picture. For example, the National Law School of India University (Bangalore) not only offers environmental law as an optional module, but also as a single credit course, beyond regular teaching. Further, environmental law specialisation can be chosen as a part of the masters course too. The WB Institute of Judicial Sciences offers advanced environmental law at the undergraduate level.
Hence, it is highly recommended that you study the subjects offered at the undergraduate and postgraduate level in different law schools. The most effective way of doing this is to scan websites of different law schools in India. http://www.webindia123.com/career/law/li st_all.asp is an excellent guide to law schools in different Indian states.
There are not many stand-alone courses for environmental law in India. The National Law School (Bangalore) offers a PG Diploma in Environmental Law in distance learning mode. However, most law schools include the subject as a compulsory module or an advanced optional module.


Menon, however, avers that environmental law is not ideal for mainstream practice. "Environmental law needs to be supplemented with more remunerative options," he states, adding, "As a practising lawyer you can pursue this area if you are passionate about certain environmental causes." Bakul Parekh, Consultant, Environmental Pollution Control, readily agrees. "In the present scenario, this may not be a career with the potential for very good remuneration. Maybe ten years down the line, the situation could improve," he offers. However, his advice for students is to choose industrial law along with environmental law, if given a choice. They can then represent industrial houses in litigations against them. This could be a remunerative option.


Those considering a career in this field need to take certain factors into consideration. Parekh suggests that a person taking up cases related to the environment must be familiar with the terminology of environmental sciences. Menon suggests that in order to pursue a career in the field, students can look out for internships or placements with lawyers who are involved in environmental issues. They could also try their hand at publishing research and articles in law journals and working with NGOs that champion causes related to the environment.



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