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Vermont Law School Awarded $300,000 Federal Grant To Expand VLS-China Environmental Law Partnership

September 24, 2008

SOUTH ROYALTON – Vermont Law School has been awarded a $300,000 federal grant that will allow the law school to expand its legal training program for China’s environmental leaders and government officials, VLS President and Dean Jeff Shields announced today.

The grant builds on a three-year, $1.8 million grant that U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy secured for VLS in 2006, funded through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). As a result of that grant, VLS has trained hundreds of lawyers, judges, government officials, legal scholars and students through a partnershipwith Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province in southern China.

The expanded scholars-in-residence program at VLS will introduce Chinese scholars and lawyers to the U.S. environmental regulatory system, providing a full year of coursework, faculty-guided research and a three-month internship in the environmental practice of a law firm or agency.

“We are grateful to Senator Leahy and USAID for their continued support of what has clearly become a highly successful program,” Dean Shields said. “This grant is a confirmation of the great work being done by our faculty, as well as our partners in China, to strengthen China’s environmental regulatory system.”

The partnership aims at advancing the development of environmental and energy law in China, and creating an environmental bar to enforce the rule of law. During a recent trip to Beijing, VLS Professor Michael Dworkin led a workshop on energy and the environment for State Electric Regulatory Commission officials, while another workshop led by VLS professors in Guangzhou focused on provisions of the Kyoto Protocol. During the course of that two-week trip, VLS professors worked with nearly 200 Chinese participants.

Throughout the year, visiting scholars will be immersed in the environmental and public interest culture of the VLS campus and return to China with that experience, according to Professor Tseming Yang, the director of the Partnership for Environmental Law in China.

“The participants will enhance the understanding of environmental and energy law principles of the students and lawyers they work with,” he said. “This program will position them for further leadership within China and internationally.”

For more on the Partnership for Environmental Law in China, visit the partnership's website.

Contact: Diane Derby, Director of Media Relations

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