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Charles Di Leva

A photo of Charles Di Leva
No matter where I am on the globe, VLS is recognized as a leader in environmental law.”

JD 1978

Chief Counsel, Environmental and International Law Unit of the World Bank

Charles “Chuck” Di Leva was the first person in his family to go on to higher education when he graduated from high school at age 16. “I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, other than to work at something I felt contributed to society,” he says. His interest was teaching—he thought he might be a history professor. But in college, he found himself guided in another direction.

“My mentor at the University of Rhode Island thought I would make a better attorney," he recalls. Wishing to stay in New England, he headed north and became a member of the third class to graduate from Vermont Law School.

In those days VLS was not well known outside the New England region, but in the three decades that followed, Chuck witnessed a parallel relationship develop between the growth in prominence of environmental issues and the growing recognition of his law school.

“VLS helped in an unusual way to legitimize environmental issues,” says Chuck, who landed his first job after law school as an environmental litigator for the newly launched Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM). "My application to the State Attorney General was forwarded to DEM. I wasn't really targeting environmental jobs but having VLS on my résumé caught their attention."

Following six years with the State of Rhode Island, he moved to the federal level as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment Division in Washington, D.C. A trip to Kenya led to him to senior positions with the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Bonn, Germany, and the Environmental Law Unit of the United Nations Environment Program in Nairobi.

Chuck is currently Chief Counsel with the World Bank’s Environmental and International Law Unit based in Washington, D.C., where he specializes in issues relating to sustainable development and multilateral environmental agreements.

"Everyone acknowledges that implementation of sound environmental law is a key to good, sustainable growth," he says. His work with the World Bank keeps him on a busy travel schedule. But, he says, "no matter where I am on the globe, VLS is recognized as a leader in environmental law."