Vermont Law School invites leaders in the fields of environmental, energy, agriculture, and international environmental law to serve as Distinguished Summer Scholars in residency during the VLS Summer Session. Each Distinguished Summer Scholar delivers a public lecture, participates in informal social events on campus, and is available to meet with students individually. These distinguished visitors are a significant intellectual resource for our summer students and also offer valuable networking opportunities.


Environmental Law Scholar

 Sandra B. Zellmer, Robert B. Daugherty Professor of Law at University of Nebraska College of Law

Professor Zellmer teaches and writes about natural resources, water law, public lands, wildlife, environmental law, and related topics. She is a co-author and principal editor of a casebook, Natural Resources Law, published by Thomson/West Publishing (with Professors Laitos and Wood). She has published dozens of book chapters and articles, and was awarded "Best Paper" by the American Bar Association for her work on "Missouri River Mud: Clean Water and Endangered Species," which she presented at the ABA's Annual Water Law Conference in 2011. She also served as a committee member on the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council Committee on Missouri River Recovery; the committee report was published in 2010. Professor Zellmer received her LLM in Environmental Law, with Highest Honors, from the George Washington University Law Center; JD, summa cum laude, from the University of South Dakota School of Law; and BS, magna cum laude, from Morningside College.

Energy Law Scholar

Benjamin K. Sovacool, Director of the Danish Center for Energy Technology (Center for Energiteknologier) at AU-Herning; Professor of Business and Social Sciences at Aarhus University (Ã…rhus Universitet) in Denmark; Associate Professor of Law at Vermont Law School; and founding Director of the Energy Security and Justice Program at their Institute for Energy and the Environment. 
Professor Sovacool works as a researcher and consultant on issues pertaining to renewable energy and energy efficiency, the politics of large-scale energy infrastructure, designing public policy to improve energy security and access to electricity, and building adaptive capacity to the consequences of climate change. He is the author or editor of eight books and more than 130 peer reviewed academic articles on various aspects of energy and climate change. He received his PhD and MS from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, where he also won the "Outstanding Dissertation of the Year" award from the College of Social Sciences and Humanities; MA from Wayne State University; and BA from John Carroll University. 

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Scholar

Lesley K. McAllisterProfessor of Law at University of California Davis School of Law

Professor McAllister teaches and writes in the areas of environmental, natural resources, property, and energy law, both domestic and international. Much of her scholarship focuses on innovative regulatory approaches, such as cap-and-trade regulation, public-private governance, and citizen enforcement. Her recent work relating to food safety has focused on the role of third-party auditors in regulatory regimes and on food safety regulation.
She received her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley; JD from Stanford Law School, with distinction; MA from the University of California and Berkeley; and BS, magna cum laude, from Princeton University.

International Environmental Law Scholar

John H. KnoxHenry C. Lauerman Professor of International Law at Wake Forest University School of Law and Independent Expert at the United Nations Human Rights Council 

John Knox is an internationally recognized expert on human rights law and international environmental law. In July 2012, the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed him to a three-year mandate as its first Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. In that position, he is preparing a series of reports to the Human Rights Council on the relationship of human rights and environmental protection. His recent scholarship addresses a wide variety of issues, including the human rights obligations of corporations, the application of human rights law to climate change, citizen suits in international environmental law, and the extraterritorial application of U.S. law. Professor Knox received his JD from Stanford Law School, Order of the Coif; and BA from Rice University, magna cum laude.