Whittier Law School’s Environmental Law Concentration Prepares Students for Opportunities in Growing Field

COSTA MESA, Calif. – Nov. 15, 2012 – As employment opportunities in the field of environmental law have grown in California as well as in other areas in the nation, Whittier Law School has expanded its focus in this growing field to prepare its future lawyers for a broader range of career opportunities.

Introduced this fall, Whittier Law School’s Environmental Law concentration prepares graduates for practice with government agencies, non-profit organizations and private firms. Courses are taught by faculty with in-depth experience in the field of environmental law.

“Environmental law is an area where graduates can gain experience working in the public sector, and then move to the private sector if they wish,” said Whittier Law School Professor Peter Reich, Director of the school’s Environmental Law concentration. “The field embraces both public and private employment, giving our graduates a wider sphere of opportunity.”

A former research attorney for the California Court of Appeal in Santa Barbara and associate at the Los Angeles law firm Parker, Milliken, Professor Reich has published numerous books and articles on the legal history and environmental law of Latin America and the U.S. Southwest, where water issues are a key environmental concern.

In recent listings by the California State Bar’s California Lawyer magazine, environmental law has been one of the top five legal specialties for placement opportunities. California Governor Jerry Brown and State Senator Michael Rubio have recently commented that California lawmakers may be considering the largest overhaul of the state’s environmental laws in 42 years, which could provide even more opportunities for graduates specializing in environmental law.

In past years, Whittier Law School graduates have gone on to careers at environmental law firms such as Best, Best & Krieger and Nossaman LLP, as well as governmental agencies including the California Department of Justice’s Land Use Division, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the Environmental Criminal Prosecution unit of the Long Beach City Prosecutor’s Office.

Whittier Law School’s Environmental Law Program has a long history with Orange County Coastkeeper, the largest environmental non-profit in Orange County, to provide paid internships for Whittier Law students to gain hands-on experience. Additionally, the school offers externship opportunities for course credit in a range of government agencies, advocacy organizations and the private sector, and it often sends a team to the California State Bar Environmental Negotiations Competition, which focuses on state environmental issues. The school’s Environmental Law Society is a very active student organization.

“I have practiced environmental and land use law since I was admitted to the California bar in 2005,” said Alisha Winterswyk, Class of 2005 and Associate at the law firm Best, Best & Krieger in Irvine, Calif. “My interest in environmental law was initially piqued my third year of law school after taking Environmental Justice and participating in the California State Bar Environmental Negotiations Competition.”

Whittier Law School Dean Penelope Bryan noted that the school’s environmental concentration program is reflective of the approach and philosophy across all programs at the school. “At Whittier you not only will learn the law, but you will learn how to do what lawyers actually do in practice,” she said. “We are proud that Whittier Law School students graduate more ‘practice ready’ than students from many other law schools – and our students in the environmental concentration program are going to benefit from that approach.”

About Whittier Law School
Founded nearly 50 years ago and accredited by the American Bar Association since 1978, Whittier Law School offers a practical, hands-on legal education with experiences in the legal field to prepare lawyers for today’s practice. Whittier Law School is located at 3333 S. Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa, California.

Contact: Judy DeVine, Director of Communications, Whittier Law School: (714) 444-4141 ext. 131, jdevine@law.whittier.edu.

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