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China and Southeast Asia Specialization

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It's wholly unexpected that a Chinese environmental leader would best know only two or three cities in the United States: New York, Los Angeles, and South Royalton. But that's what happens when a little law school in Vermont trains more than 1,000 Chinese individuals in environmental and energy law in just ten years.

As the challenges posed by climate change grow in urgency, the power that massive developing countries like China--and partner countries like Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar, where China has invested significant resources--can leverage to effect change cannot be overstated.

The U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law at Vermont Law School has thus set out on a mission: to engage and train Chinese and Southeast Asian judges, legal scholars, students, natural resource managers, and other professionals in environmental justice, climate change issues, public interest advocacy, and environmental governance. Courses include:

The Partnership's endeavors are not restricted for our colleagues across the Pacific. Students who specialize in Chinese and Southeast Asian environmental law at VLS will study and research the region's environmental governance challenges, improve their foreign language skills, and build useful connections for their future career in international environmental law. Many students take an exchange semester abroad. And of course, students can draw upon Vermont Law's extensive portfolio of environmental and international courses, clinics, journals, and extracurricular activities.

Whether they hail from South Royalton or Beijing, a generation of leaders will use the power of the law to address climate change, public health, and the environment in China and Southeast Asia, and Vermont Law School will teach them how.


The U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law is a collaborative program to advance environmental and energy law and policy in China and throughout Asia. The goal of the partnership, which is supported by a number of public and private organizations, is to strengthen the rule of law in environmental protection and to build capacity among individuals and academic, government, and private-sector institutions to solve environmental problems. Since its inception in 2006, the partnership's goals have been to strengthen the capacity of Chinese education, government, and civil society sectors to become effective environmental problem solvers; to improve China's policies, laws, and regulations to advance the development of environmental law in China; and to enhance municipal, provincial, national, and international networks in China to advance best practices in environmental protection and energy regulation. Building upon the success it has achieved in China, the partnership has expanded its geographic scope in an effort to respond to the environmental governance needs of the region.

Led by Professor Siu Tip Lam, a former assistant attorney general in the Environmental Protection Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, the program's staff includes Professor Yanmei Lin, Associate Director; Claire Andrews, our Program Coordinator; an LLM Fellow; and other VLS faculty advisors.


  • Launch a new initiative to provide environmental governance training in Myanmar, to give key stakeholders a range of legal and policy tools that can be adopted to provide broad scale protection of the country's key biodiversity areas 
  • Host Chinese scholars and students for residency programs at VLS
  • Train scholars from across China on international standards for environmental rights protection and teaching methodology
  • Train stakeholders, including judges and prosecutors, to apply and enforce environmental laws and take steps to increase the role prosecutors could play in civil enforcement of environmental laws
  • Establish an Environmental Law Training Program (ELTP) to train environmental stewards and legal advocates in China to use legal tools to promote environmental compliance and protect the environment, public health, and welfare
  • Provide opportunities for VLS students to work on cutting-edge research projects relating to environmental issues in China and throughout Southeast Asia
Food and Agricultural Law Specialization Block
Food and Agricultural Law Specialization
Food is a basic necessity of human life and a unique vehicle for change, as it is intimately tied to human health, the environment, poverty, immigration, animal welfare, law, politics, and culture, on every step of its journey from farm to plate.
Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA program, UVM's One Year MBA
Business Law Specialization
A targeted suite of classes for students who want to specialize in business. Courses include corporations, bankruptcy, nonprofit management, white collar crime and more.
China & Southeast Asia - Feng Huang
China & Southeast Asia Specialization
As the challenges posed by climate change grow in urgency, the power that massive developing countries like China, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar can leverage to effect change cannot be overstated.
Climate Change Law
Climate Change Law Specialization
In a time of broken global temperature records, increasing natural disasters, emerging U.S. and international law and policy will be key to governing mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.
Criminal Law
Criminal Law Specialization
The certificate in criminal law provides broad-based, comprehensive training and skills needed by students to become prosecutors, defenders, or to practice criminal law in a private firm setting.
Dispute Resolution
Dispute Resolution Specialization
In an increasingly complex world, dispute resolution offers a way to find solutions that allow all parties to move forward without entering a courtroom.
Energy Law
Energy Law Specialization
VLGS courses and clinics consider the relationship between energy and the environment in the context of its legal, scientific, commercial and human implications.
Environmental Justice
Environmental Justice Clinic
Students who specialize in Environmental Justice will develop their personal and professional environmental ethics.
Environmental Law Specialization
Environmental Law Specialization
Vermont Law School offers a multidisciplinary array of environmental courses in law, policy, science, economics, and ethics to students studying for any one of our degrees or certificates.
International & Comparative Law
International & Comparative Law Specialization
Prepares students for careers with international organizations, NGOs, law firms, multinational enterprises, and government agencies. We offer study experiences that broaden knowledge and skills, add new perspective, and open opportunities.
International Environmental Law
International Environmental Law Specialization
Environmental issues are global issues. The unique opportunities at Vermont Law School prepare our graduates to be leaders in international environmental law and policy.
Land Use Law
Land Use Law Specialization
Including smart growth principles, ecological planning, affordable housing, flood hazard mitigation, energy and land use regulatory decision-making, permitting processes, and land conservation strategies.
Legal Writing
Legal Writing Specialization
Words are the fundamental tools with which lawyers and policymakers conduct their business, it is paramount that today's law and policy graduates know how to write the law, not just read cases.
Restorative Justice Specialization, VLS
Restorative Justice Specialization
A specialization in restorative justice provides students another way to look at conflict and conflict avoidance, preparing graduates to become forceful agents for change in law and restorative justice.
Brown Slopes Bare Trails Panel
Sports Law Specialization
A specialization in sports law might seem out of place at the nation's top environmental law school. But consider the impact that climate change will have on Vermont's ski industry.
Tax Law and Policy
Tax Law and Policy Specialization
We know that improving the environment requires changing the way we run our businesses, use our resources, and act as citizens. But how do we actually make that change occur?
Technology & Legal Innovation
Technology & Legal Innovation Specialization
Digital technologies create a wealth of new possibilities around how we define, deliver, and teach law. What does government become as legislation and regulation open to digital means of access and participation?
Water Resources Law
Water Resources Law Specialization
Learn about local, national, and global efforts to secure water supplies through research, education, and policy development. Focus on water law, environmental justice, and policy initiatives to further wise, judicious use of water as a public resource.