Growing interest in the energy and resources sector means that many companies are seeking out employees with a strong interest in the environment, and a background and training in law. Issues of global warming, environmental control, climate change and the ever-growing green movement have made this an area of increasing focus and importance as it comes to the forefront of both political and personal consciences.
While it is a specific area of law, there are a number of different ways to enter this niche market, and different career paths to pursue. If you’re interested in a legal career in energy and resources, then consider these things as you map your career.
– Specialisation. Within energy and resource law there are a number of different areas for specialisation that can be matched to lawyers’ individual interests. Lawyers with a keen interest in the environment and climate change might be drawn to renewable energy law, for example, whereas mining law or laws regarding electricity generation and distribution might attract others.
– Global or local in nature. Energy and resource law is important on both a national and international level. It is now recognised that tackling environmental issues requires worldwide cooperation and efforts, and the negotiation of multilateral and bilateral agreements. As such it is helpful for involved lawyers to have expertise in international law. Environmental law, however, can also be far more localised in nature. Deciding on which platform and stage you would like to practice energy and resource law, therefore, will impact your choice of legal jobs.
– In-house positions vs. law firms. Due to the potentially sensitive and tricky nature of energy and resource law, lawyers specialising in this area are in demand from both energy and resource companies looking for in house representations, and law firms who practice this area of law. Often the choice between these two options comes down to personal preference, but it’s important to consider the pros and cons. For example, in-house lawyers often benefit from more relaxed working hours than those working in law firms. On the flip side, the possibility for career progression can be significantly lower.
As governments, businesses and individuals become more aware of environmental, energy and resource issues, the availability of energy law jobs is set to grow. Online job boards such as twosteps give a good overview of the scope and number of positions in this area available, to help lawyers determine which career path and area of expertise they would like to pursue.