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Energy Law Specialization

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Consider electrification, and you’ll quickly understand both the complexity and importance of energy and the environment.​

Access to reliable electricity correlates with good public health and economic success, yet nearly 25 percent of the world’s population lives without electricity. Another third has limited access. The 600 million of us who have abundant electricity keep finding ways to use more. It’s no wonder that demand for electricity is increasing at a staggering rate.

Energy generation and consumption, however, is also the world’s largest source of pollution and cause of environmental degradation. Energy policy has become the single most important influence on environmental protection. The need to transition expeditiously to a low carbon future is perhaps our greatest environmental and economic challenge and increased electrification is at the center of this transition.  This challenge has sparked a clean energy revolution that is creating unprecedented growth and career opportunities in solar and offshore wind development, the electrification of cars and mass transit, and clean and resilient opportunities in distributed technologies such as storage, demand response, efficiency and renewables.

Vermont Law and Graduate School's Institute for Energy and the Environment offers the largest collection of clean energy law and policy courses and clinics available and seamless integration with a world class environmental law and policy program, including unparalleled climate law course offerings. Our leading clean energy curriculum includes:

Further expertise is gained through engagement with the Institute for Energy and the Environment (IEE) on real world energy law and policy issues and through our collaborative work with the US Asia Partnership for Environmental Law we offer classroom, research and travel opportunities to China and Asia.

The Institute for Energy and the Environment is a national and world energy policy resource with an advanced energy law and policy curriculum focused on the energy policy of the future and the transition to a low carbon future. The institute serves as a center for graduate research on the clean energy transition and recently established a year-round student-staffed energy clinic, which works on legal and business models for clean and resilient community energy development. Students learn how to work with and improve America’s legal and policy system in order to help humanity meet the challenge of energy issues. The IEE is working on client-focused projects exploring energy security and justice, barriers to the integration of renewable energy resources, how smart grid technologies can enhance both efficiency and expand the electrification of transportation, and data privacy issues related to customer solar and energy efficiency information.

Professor Kevin Jones, who leads the IEE, is the former director of energy policy for New York City and coauthor of the books, "A Smarter, Greener Grid" and "The Electric Battery: Charging Forward to a Low Carbon Future." Associate director Mark James teaches Energy Policy in a Carbon Constrained World, as well as Oil and Gas Development. He recently completed a report on offshore wind, which was funded by the Nature Conservancy. Assistant professor and staff attorney Genevieve Byrne leads the Farm and Energy Initiative. Assistant professor and staff attorney Jenny Carter JD'86/MSL'87 works with the Energy Clinic on local just transition projects. The IEE is also staffed by a program coordinator, two LLM energy fellows, and approximately twenty JD, LLM, and master's students who serve as research associates. We welcome you to join us in working on the clean energy revolution.


Past and current projects examples:

  • Develop legal and business models promoting community solar with a focus on bringing solar ownership to low income and underserved communities.
  • Net zero housing policy and development.
  • Projects on energy and farm sustainability with the year-old Farm and Energy Initiative (a joint project with the VLS Center for Agriculture and Food Systems) with current projects on healthy soils, biodigester and biogas development, and sustainably balancing solar siting and agricultural land protection.
  • Research funded by the U.S. Department of Energy on data privacy policies governing use of customer solar and energy efficiency data.
  • Global and US Clean Transportation Policy.
  • State cybersecurity policy with the national NGO, Protect our Power.
  • Power to gas and the low carbon transition.
  • Student co-authored books and publications on climate refugees, the smart electric grid, the electric battery as a key to the low carbon future, the energy burden for Vermonters, federal tax incentives for small scale hydro, the legal and policy issues surrounding false green claims, and the analysis of divergent net metering reforms in Nevada and California.
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.