Defining What an Environmental Law Attorney Does: A Two-Sided Perspective

In court, there are almost always two sides to every case. That is evident by the plaintiff and defendant positions in the courtroom. That said, you might be wondering just what an environmental law attorney does. He/she is no different from most other lawyers as he/she defends both sides of an argument in court. The following perspective helps define and clarify exactly what this type of attorney does, from both sides of the courtroom.

Environmental Law on the Plaintiff Side

The plaintiff side of the courtroom is the side where an accusation or issue is brought against the defendant, who literally has to defend his/her position on the matter. A lawyer on the plaintiff side may bring charges against the defendant for harming the environment, knowingly or willingly causing harm, and/or breaking one or more environmental laws. The lawyer on this side may also argue for cases where gross negligence of toxic waste collection and/or containment has caused harm to people as well as the environment.

Environmental Law on the Defendant Side

On the opposite side of the courtroom, the defending environmental lawyer has to disprove all of the charges and/or unlawful complaints brought by the plaintiff's lawyer. Proving no harm has come or will come to the environment is complicated, as it will require several expert witnesses to testify. It may also require several test samples to be taken of the physical area in question.

Then it is necessary to factor out the contaminants that are already at an acceptable level in the environment to determine if there is an unsafe amount of anything present. The EPA and city and state government standards for toxins are used to measure everything from acceptable/unacceptable levels of lead, chromium, mercury, sulfur, radioactive substances, etc. Knowing what those standards are and showing that the standards match, or are very close to, acceptable levels helps the lawyer disprove the plaintiff's case and argument.

Whichever Side You Are On

Whichever side you are on, you clearly need a lawyer. Not knowing what the environmental laws are in your state, you cannot expect to file a complaint nor defend a complaint against you without a lawyer. This is clearly one area of law where it is absolutely vital that you have a lawyer working for you. If environmental lawyers are scarce in your area, you can expand your search to cover your entire state. There should be some in your state's capitol, given the environmentalist groups that spend time on capitol hill rallying for more laws and regulations for the environment.

For more information, contact a business such as Moore Smith Buxton & Turcke-Chartered.