September 27, 2011 Environmental Law Careers Panel

On September 27, the Brooklyn Environmental Law Society (ELS) and the Career Center co-hosted the first of several careers in environmental law panel discussions to be held throughout this year.  The event was held in Room 603 and attracted an impressive audience, filling the room with students interested in the field of environmental law, and eager to learn about careers therein.  The panel, which consisted of three current practitioners and one past practitioner turned professor, was moderated by BLS’s own environmental law expert, Professor Gregg Macey.

The panelists were:

  • Mark McIntyre.  Mr. McIntyre is a ’96 BLS alumnus and current General Counsel at the New York City Office of Environmental Remediation.  His work focuses on cleaning up contaminated property around the city.  Mr. McIntyre was instrumental in creating NYC’s own brownfield and contaminated sites remediation program, a task usually undertaken by state agencies.
  • Megan Joplin.  Ms. Joplin is the Assistant Regional Attorney of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in the Office of the General Counsel.  Ms. Joplin works to ensure compliance with state environmental regulations.
  • Marjan Disler.  Ms. Disler is a ’08 alumnus of BLS and current Associate Attorney at Farer Fersko in New Jersey.  She works in the firm’s Environmental and Brownfields Practice Group.  Ms. Disler primarily advises clients on environmental compliance and issues concerning real estate.
  • Professor Sarah Light.  Professor Light is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law here at BLS, and her areas of expertise are Environmental Law, Administrative Law, and Civil Procedure.  Prior to teaching, Professor Light served as Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York and was Chief of its Environmental Protection Unit.

(from left to right) Marjan Disler, Professor Gregg Macey, Professor Sarah Light, Megan Joplin, and Mark McIntyre

The panelists discussed a typical day at their practices, and all responses shared a common theme of frequent negotiation, whether on behalf of private clients or the government.  A negotiations class is therefore highly recommended for students interested in the field.  Further, all the panelists emphasized the importance of internships and writing in the field of environmental law.  Employers want to know that students and recent graduates are both committed to environmental law and well versed in the terminology, important statutes, and major issues in the field.  But internships at the most obvious federal and state agencies are not your only option.  The panelists recommend exploring other regulatory and proactive agencies with environmental law divisions such as the Department of the Interior and the Army Corps of Engineers.  However, the panelists warn that employers are also interested in hiring a well-rounded student who can provide more than just a general answer to the question, “Why do you want to work for this office?”

The panelists concluded by sharing frustrations and victories in their careers as environmental lawyers.  The advice shared was both informative and valuable to all in attendance.

To those seeking more information about environmental law, major issues and developments in the field, events at BLS and around the city, or general environmental advocacy, make sure to join the Brooklyn Environmental Law Society.  You can be added to the mailing list by contacting Jeet Gulati (jeet.gulati@brooklaw.edu) or attending ELS’s next meeting.

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