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Vermont Law Student Selected for Burton Award

April 17, 2014

CONTACT: Peter Glenshaw, Director of Communications, Vermont Law School
Office: 802-831-1318, cell: 603-738-8487, home: 603-795-4764,

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt., April 17, 2014—For the third time in five years, a Vermont Law School student has been selected to receive a prestigious Burton Award, the highest honor for legal writing in the nation.

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Tisher ’14 is one of 15 law students selected from across the country for the 2014 Burton Distinguished Legal Writing Award. She is recognized for her article “Re-Stitching the Urban Fabric: Municipal-Driven Rehabilitation of Vacant and Abandoned Buildings in Ohio’s Rust Belt,” published in the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law in 2013.

“I have always loved historic buildings and urban neighborhoods,” said Tisher of the inspiration for her piece. “When I lived in Michigan as an undergrad, I became enamored and saddened by Detroit, and began investigating other rust belt cities and their architecture.”

Later, the Chicago native, who has a BA in art history from Michigan State University and an MS in historic preservation from the University of Vermont, worked in cultural resources management.

“I spent a lot of time exploring Ohio’s cities and falling in love with the architecture, but I was distressed by how rapidly many of these cities were losing their historic buildings, as well as their residents and businesses,” said Tisher, who came to VLS to study land use law and policy, particularly in the context of urban revitalization and sustainable urban planning.

“Writing on this topic just seemed natural,” she said. “It is an area very important to me that I hope to have an impact on in my career.”

After graduation, Tisher plans to clerk for Vermont Supreme Court Justice John A. Dooley.

“We’re proud of Lizzie, whose work demonstrates true excellence in legal writing,” said Greg Johnson, Vermont Law professor and director of the Legal Writing Program. “Vermont Law students have won the award three times in the last five years. Due in part to our program’s intensive training, our graduates have developed a reputation for exceptional legal writing skills among the bench and bar.”

Vermont Law alum Ben Leoni ’11 received the Burton Distinguished Legal Writing Award in 2011, and Garrett Chrostek ’12 received the award in 2012.

Tisher and fellow 2014 award recipients will be recognized at a gala black-tie event June 9 at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

Presented in association with the Library of Congress and funded by the nonprofit Burton Foundation, the Burton Awards program recognizes and rewards excellence in the legal profession. For more information about the Burton Awards, visit


Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, has the top-ranked environmental law program and one of the top-ranked clinical training programs in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. VLS offers a Juris Doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; two Master’s Degrees (Master of Environmental Law and Policy, and Master of Energy Regulation and Law), and three post-JD degrees—LLM in American Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers), LLM in Energy Law, and LLM in Environmental Law. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, the South Royalton Legal Clinic, and the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

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