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THE DARK SIDE: What makes an environmental defense lawyer?

David Ziemer

David Ziemer

I was having a nice conversation with another attorney the other day when we began talking about environmental law. We were both in agreement that the work environmental defense lawyers do is very important. But in the middle of the conversation, we discovered that we have vastly different definitions of what makes an environmental defense lawyer.

To me, it is self-evident that the term refers to those noble attorneys who DEFEND individuals and businesses from Constitution-trampling zealots from the Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The other attorney, however, thought the term referred to the above-referenced Constitution-trampling zealots who want to outlaw private property and return us all to the Stone Age. I informed her that, no, those were the plaintiffs’ attorneys, not the defense attorneys; but she just didn’t understand.

Who would have thought that a term as straightforward as “environmental defense lawyer” could be ambiguous?

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