​​​​​​​​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 Scholars

Keith Hirokawa, Associate Professor, Albany Law School​

Professor Hirokawa joined the faculty at Albany Law School in 2009.  He teaches courses involving environmental and natural resources law, land use planning, property law, and jurisprudence.  Professor Hirokawa's scholarship explores convergences in ecology, ethics, economics, and law, with particular attention given to local environmental law, ecosystem services policy, watershed management, and environmental impact analysis. His books include Greening Local Government: Legal Strategies for Promoting Sustainability, Efficiency, And Fiscal Savings (Hirokawa and Salkin, eds. 2012); Environmental Law and Contrasting Ideas of Nature: A Constructivist Approach (2014), and Rethinking Sustainable Development to Meet the Climate Change Challenge (Hirokawa and Owley, eds. 2015).

Prior to joining the faculty at Albany Law, Professor Hirokaw​a was an Associate Professor at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (presently Texas A&M) and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Oregon School of Law.  Professor Hirokawa practiced land use and environmental law in Oregon and Washington and was heavily involved with community groups and nonprofit organizations. Professor Hirokawa studied philosophy and law at the University of Connecticut, where he earned his JD and MA degrees.  He earned his LLM in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from Lewis & Clark Law School.  

Jonathan Rosenbloom, Professor of Law and Director, Environment & Sustainability Program, Drake University Law School 
Jonathan Rosenbloom is a Professor of Law and Director of Environmental and Sustainability Programming at Drake University Law School, teaching in the areas of environmental law, sustainability, and state and local government. His research focuses on collective action challenges, particularly environmental challenges, facing local governments and has been published in Hastings Law Journal, Harvard Environmental Law Review and others. He is the co-author of two textbooks: Resilience & Sustainability: From Theory to Practice (Aspen 2018) (with Shelley Saxer) and Land Use and Sustainable Development Law: Cases and Materials (9th ed. West 2017) (with John Nolon, Patricia Salkin, Stephen Miller); and co-editor of Routledge Handbook of the Study of the Commons (Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group 2018) (with Dan Cole, Blake Hudson). In partnership with the University of Colorado Denver, Jonathan is co-director of the Sustainable Development Code, designed to provide local governments with the best sustainability practices in land use. Jonathan received his Bachelors in Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design, JD from New York Law School, and LLM from Harvard Law School. Prior to teaching, he worked for the federal government, for a non-profit urban research institute, and for Reed Smith LLP. He also founded a non-profit that worked with state and local governments on becoming more sustainable and clerked for the Honorable Rosemary Barkett on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.  He serves and has served on a number of state and local boards, including the Des Moines Plan and Zoning Commission and chair of central Iowa’s regional economic development, sustainability committee. He was named Drake Law Outstanding Professor of the Year in 2013 and University of Oregon, School of Law Environmental & Natural Resource Distinguished Visitor in 2016.

Professors Hirokawa and Rosenbloom are collaborating on a research project and are serving a dual appointment as summer scholars.

Energy Law Scholar

Sara Bronin, Thomas F. Gallivan, Jr., Chair in Real Property Law and Faculty Director, Center for Energy & Environmental Law, University of Connecticut School of Law. 

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Scholar

Michelle Nowlin, Clinical Professor of Law and Supervising Attorney, Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. 

International Environmental Law Scholar

Tianbao Qin, Professor of Law, Director of Research Institute of Environmental Law, and Associate Dean for Research and International Affiliations, Wuhan University School of Law.

Prof. QIN Tianbao is Luojia Professor of Law, and serves as the Director of the Research Institute of Environmental Law (RIEL) and the Associate Dean for Research and International Affiliations for the School of Law, Deputy Director of the Research Foundation of the Supreme Court of China on Environmental-related Judicial Theory, Wuhan University; Editor-in-Chief of the Chinese Journal of Environmental Law.

Dr Qin received his LL.B and LL.M degrees from Wuhan University. He finished his Doktorarbeit (doctoral dissertation) in Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt in Germany and obtained his Dr. iur degree from Wuhan University. He has been a Post-doctor Research Fellow in Ghent University, Belgium. 

He is a Legislative Expert for China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Ministry of Agriculture, and Hubei Provincial Parliament, and headed or participated in drafting of several major environmental bills. He is a legal advisor for Chinese negotiations on biodiversity, ocean and climate change issues. 

Dr. Qin is the Secretary-General of Chinese Society of Environment and Resources Law (CSERL); a Member of IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law and Commission on Ecosystem Management, a Member of Governing Board of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law; and a member of the Committee on the Legal Principles relating to Climate Change of the International Law Association. 

He was an EU Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Turin from December 2014 to February, 2015, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Göttingen from June 2012 to June 2014, a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars from June to Jul 2011, a Visiting Professor at the Ghent University in Belgium from April to September 2011 and from July to August 2006, at the Institutum Iurisprudentiae, Academia Sinica in Chinese Taipei from December 2008 to May 2009; and at the University of Manchester in UK from June to September 2007; a DAAD Scholarship holder at Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt in Germany from June 2003 to June 2005. 

Currently, he is concentrating his researches in law and policy concerning biodiversity and biotechnology, water and ocean, climate change and energy, environment and health, and trans-boundary environmental issues. Prof. Qin is author of several books and more than 100 articles in these fields. His recent publications include: Research Handbook on Chinese Environmental Law (Edward Elgar, eds), Principles of International Biodiversity Law (CUPL Press), Legal Issues on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-sharing (WHU Press).