Lawyers are becoming some of the best-paid environmentalists.
Twenty of the 100 highest-grossing U.S. law firms have started practices advising companies on climate change, according to a Bloomberg survey of the firms' Web sites. The attorneys help clients finance clean-energy projects and lobby Congress, typically billing $500 to $700 an hour.
Firms including Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Heller Ehrman and Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton joined the global warming cause as real-estate and structured-finance attorneys lost jobs to the worst U.S. housing slump in 27 years. The move into climate-change law is gaining traction as Congress considers a mandatory carbon market to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
``Since the elections last November, climate change has had a higher profile as a political issue,'' said Paul Gutermann, co- leader of Washington-based Akin Gump's group, which comprises 50 of the firm's 1,023 attorneys.
Gutermann's team is helping clients including PG&E Corp. push U.S. lawmakers to establish a market that uses so-called carbon credits to penalize heavy polluters financially....MORE