Preparation for the practice of law requires context and application.
It requires firsthand involvement in what lawyers do and is how expertise is built. It requires challenging your understanding of justice and its fundamental role in society. The clinics and externships at VLS engage you in that preparation.
Every student at VLS has the opportunity to enroll in a clinic or externship. Each will be required to take at least six clinic or externship credits prior to graduation.
Explore the experiential courses that we offer. They are designed to provide a wide array of opportunities to enhance your legal education and help prepare you for the profession.
The Environmental Advocacy Clinic, in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, is an in-house clinic that operates as a public interest law office, teaching students how to be lawyers by representing clients in need. Clinical experience helps students become well-rounded, skilled professionals who can develop arguments and claims from the ground up, explore strategies and options, and communicate effectively with clients, courts, agency officials, scientific experts, and opposing parties. Learn more! »
The Environmental Justice (EJ) Clinic at VLS is one of just a few law school clinics in the United States specifically devoted to environmental justice, an interdisciplinary practice at the intersection of civil rights and the environment. Students are involved in real-life cases. Learn more! »
The Energy Clinic provides opportunities for our JD, LLM and Master of Energy Regulation and Law (MERL) students to progressively develop the knowledge, skills, and values integral to the field of energy law and policy, while helping our clients meet local energy needs with reliable, clean, and affordable resources. Learn more! »
Students in the Food and Agriculture Clinic work on practical projects with real-world implications. We collaborate with local, regional, national, and international partners, and engage in law and policy work that addresses challenges related to food and land justice, public health, the economy, food security, and animal welfare. Learn more! »
VLS was one of the first law schools to allow students to earn a full semester of academic credit in an off-campus apprenticeship. Our individualized approach to experiential learning allows second- and third-year students to learn from practice by working directly with judges and lawyers across the nation. VLS faculty teach and coach students and their supervisors using online class discussion, journals, site visits, individual and group conferences, and frequent communications throughout the semester. Learn more! »
The Legislative Clinic provides a unique opportunity for JD and LLM students to serve the Vermont General Assembly as student clinicians within the Office of Legislative Counsel. Participating student clinicians practice legislative lawyering skills and obtain experience staffing legislator bill draft requests, testifying in committee, observing the legislative process, and researching legal and policy issues on the forefront of public discourse. Learn more! »
An integral part of the master's, LLM, and joint degree programs is gaining real world experience through externships. Our students explore environmental law, science, and policy in a wide variety of settings both locally and worldwide. Activities may include counseling, drafting regulations and legislation, preparing legal memoranda, drafting or commenting on environmental or land use plans, and fieldwork related to wetlands, energy efficiency, local food, and other environmental issues. Learn more! »
The South Royalton Legal Clinic (SRLC) serves Vermont residents who are unable to afford counsel and who need assistance with issues such as bankruptcy, children’s rights, disability, domestic violence, family law, housing, immigration, veterans issues and wills. Working under state and federal student practice rules, approximately 40 Vermont Law School student clinicians and work-study students help to represent clients in over 150 court, administrative, and other appearances per year. The clinic has trained many leading legal service providers in Vermont. Learn more! »