Careers in Water Law

Michelle Bushman, ‘08 spoke to students at the Environment, Energy, and Resources Society event about her career in water law on March 15, 2017. Bushman is currently legal counsel for the Western States Water Council.

“There is a huge gap between people who understand science and people who understand the law,” she said. According to Bushman, her undergraduate degree in geology has helped bridge the gap between science and law in her career.

Bushman advised BYU Law students seeking a career in water law or similar fields to gain civil litigation experience. “If you do civil litigation first, you will never be afraid to stand in front of a judge,” she said. Working in civil litigation for seven years helped Bushman develop the ability to present information, so those with a non-science background could understand.

The second piece of advice Bushman gave students was to develop lasting friendships. “It is a very tight niche community,” she said. “It’s going to make a difference who you know.” According to Bushman, friendships are the best way to develop a career in water law due to the limited number of jobs in the field.

Lastly, Bushman advised students to get involved with organizations related to their field of interest and learn as much as they can. “When you talk knowledgeably about that area, people are going to remember you when opportunities are available,” Bushman said.