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Richard O. Brooks

Professor Emeritus of Law, Founding Director of Environmental Law Center

PhD, Brandeis University, 1974;
LLB, Yale University, 1962;
MA, University of Chicago, 1958;
BA, University of Chicago, 1956

Phone: 802-831-1216


Professor Richard Brooks, founding director of Vermont Law School's Environmental Law Center, is an internationally recognized scholar of environmental law and policy. The courses he has taught at Vermont Law School include Air Pollution Law, Coastal Management Law, Comparative Law, Environmental Law, Environmental Ethics, Land Use Law, Population Law, Professional Responsibility, and Torts. He also served as the coordinator of Vermont Law School's Foreign, International and Comparative Law Program.

Professor Brooks earned his BA degree in 1956 and his MA degree in social and political philosophy in 1958, both from the University of Chicago. He received his LLB degree from Yale Law School in 1962 and his PhD degree in planning from Brandeis University in 1974. His legal career began as an associate with Parker, Badger & Fisher in Greenwich, Connecticut, and as director of program analysis and legal counsel with Community Progress, Inc., in New Haven. He served for three years as executive director and legal counsel with Thames Valley Council for Community Action, Inc., and for 10 years as an urban legal planning consultant. From 1971 to 1978, he maintained a private law practice, taught planning and law at the University of Rhode Island, and directed the Connecticut College Urban Studies Program. During that time, he argued a case for the Natural Resources Defense Council that upheld the Connecticut coastal management permitting program, and drafted legislation, revisions, and amendments for state and municipal coastal zone management.

Professor Brooks founded Vermont Law School's Environmental Law Center in 1978 and remained its director until 1990. Throughout his career, he has served as a consultant for environmental groups, state of Vermont agencies, and for the U.S. Department of Energy. He has served since 1980 as a visiting professor in environmental studies at Dartmouth College and as a visiting professor of law at McGill and the University of Trento. In the past decade, as emeritus, Professor Brooks has turned to his first love - the classics - and explored their relations to modern law in several volumes.