Exploring Careers in Environmental & Natural Resources Law

Posted by Texas A&M School of Law NRS Program on Apr 23, 2019 12:09:04 PM

_PANEL~1-2On November 1, 2018, experienced attorneys engrossed students with career advice at a panel on Careers in Environmental & Natural Resources Law. Texas A&M Law proudly hosted Susan Maxwell of Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta, Caroline Sweeney with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”), Peter Wahl of Jackson Walker; and Steve McMillen with Texas Instruments (“TI”).

TX Bar ENRLS Career Panel 11-1-19aPanelists emphasized that much of the work in environmental law is intersectional. Often times, transactional work and litigation intersects with other areas of law—especially water law. Depending on where you work, your job may not always consist of  just “lawyering,” but may also involve consideration of many areas of business. For example, McMillen works on several different problem-solving teams in his role as in-house counsel at TI.  Sweeney is also involved with several different teams at TCEQ, including the team deciding how a portion of the damages awarded in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill litigation will be distributed.

Panelists agreed that the landscape of environmental law jobs has evolved and highlighted that some of the biggest opportunities in Texas involve working in the area of water law. This is not only because of water’s dynamic nature—i.e. growing water scarcity in Texas combined with growing water needs of Texans—but also because of the state’s application of the rule of capture to groundwater resources.

One notable piece of advice offered to students was to get their feet wet in environmental litigation by starting a career at the TCEQ. Often times, workplaces like TCEQ require practitioners to wear many different hats, which exposes young attorneys to many different areas and issues of environmental, water, natural resources law, and more.


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About Texas A&M School of Law Program in Natural Resources Systems

Natural resources are an integral and undeniable component of modern societies globally. These resources are critical for energy, agriculture, manufacturing and economic development in general. Our natural environment is a highly complex and integrated system, and sound decision-making related to the sustainable management of natural resources and the environment requires a broad and interdisciplinary approach. Acknowledging the centrality and complexity of natural resources systems, the Natural Resources Systems (NRS) Program at Texas A&M School of Law endeavors to train and offer real world experience to students on law and policy issues related to exploitation, management and conservation, and advance research on natural resources that connects with other disciplines and with communities worldwide.

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