Environmental Attorney

WHAT IT TAKES: a law degree with some coursework or experience in environmental issues

TOP SCHOOLS: Lewis & Clark Law School, Pace University Law School, Tulane University, UC Berkeley, University of Denver, University of Oregon, Vermont Law School, Yale University

WHAT IT PAYS: $35,000 to $45,000 starting salary at a public-interest group

WHO'D BE INTO IT: driven go-getters with a logical, analytical streak who communicate well

HOT SPOTS: coastal regions, but demand for environmental attorneys is increasing in the Midwest and South too

ROLE MODEL: Melissa Scanlan, age 36, founder of Midwest Environmental Advocates in Madison, Wisconsin

PLANETARY POWER: Since establishing her public-interest law firm eight years ago, Scanlan has fought water contamination from mining waste, helped stop Perrier from pumping millions of gallons of water out of a watershed, and partnered with the Sierra Club to go after a coal-burning University of Wisconsin power plant that was dumping polluted runoff near student housing.

WORDS OF WISDOM: "Being an environmental attorney is like dropping a pebble into water and seeing the rings echo out."