The Divergent Paths of Environmental Law Practice: A Reply to Professor Manaster

John E. Bonine
2010 Social Science Research Network  
protection through a private-practice entity rather than in a nonprofit. 2 Professor Kenneth Manaster responded in this issue of PELR, 3 expressing his admiration for business environmental law as a career choice, while ruing my failure to express the same enthusiasm in my own essay. In fact, he asserts that my essay painted a distorted picture of such practice. Respectfully, I submit that it is Professor Manaster's article that has the potential to mislead public interest-oriented law students
more » ... regarding the reality of a business environmental law practice. My reply is intended to clarify my own perspective as well as highlight some of what he says about business and public interest environmental law practice. 4 I. INTRODUCTION: ONE DESTINATION? Professor Manaster sees "many paths" of environmental law practice but concludes that they all lead to the same destination. It appears that in his view it matters little which 2. I wrote about this earlier in an essay nearly a quarter-century ago. See generally John E. Bonine, The New Private Public Interest Bar, 1 J. ENVTL. L. & LITIG. xi (1986). As far as I can determine, I was the first to use the term "private public interest law," at least in the environmental law field. I chose the term to give a name to a phenomenon that, if better recognized, might grow and earn the respect that it deserves for its many contributions. That seems to have happened. The phrase gets about 25,000 hits in a Google search. Harvard and Columbia Law Schools have jointly published a guide on this topic. See generally CTR. FOR PUB. INTEREST LAW AT COLUMBIA LAW SCH. & BERNARD KOTEEN OFFICE OF PUB. INTEREST ADVISING AT HARVARD LAW SCH., PRIVATE PUBLIC INTEREST AND PLAINTIFFS ' FIRM GUIDE (2008), available at The websites of numerous law schools mention the private public interest bar, although few give any real guidance on how to join it. The University of Oregon has recently joined some other law schools in creating a position specifically devoted to giving guidance on public interest and public service, so change may finally be in the air. As for scholarly study, see
doi:10.2139/ssrn.1709069 fatcat:pqsm3qxw5rcmri5do7oafwcdma