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The Vermont Law School blog features blog posts and articles written by students (JD, LLM and Master's students), faculty members, and others,​ about ​​​​environmental law, energy law, food and agriculture law and policy, inter​national law, ​human rights, and more.​
Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals Media

Vermont Law and Graduate School’s Farmed Animal Advocacy Clinic (FAAC) recently drafted comments in support of…

water house Philippines

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has selected the proposal, “Quantifying the Impact of Flood Adaptation on Dengue Fever with Geospatial Analysis: a Case Study in Pasig-Marikina-Laguna Lake Watershed, the Philippines,” for inclusion in a special collection of case studies to advance research on climate change adaptation policies and their impact on public health.

Julia Wickham

Julia Wickham JD’26 is no stranger to nature. Growing up in eastern Iowa surrounded by rolling hills near the Mississippi River, it’s not a surprise she decided to go to law school in rural Vermont. 

Julia attended University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she studied history and political science. While she considered going to law school, she also dreamed of being a teacher or having seasonal jobs. After graduation, Julia moved to Minneapolis for seven years. She gave kayak tours and worked on vegetable farms while lobbying at the state level for the Minnesota Farmers…

Solar Panels

Vermont Decarbonization Updates

"Throughout the meat industry, even the most stringent slaughter standards are only held accountable on an annual basis anyway, says Delcianna Winders, associate professor of law, and director of the Animal Law and Policy Institute at Vermont Law School. The bottom line, according to Winders: 'having a brief pre-announced inspection once a year for compliance — with guidelines set by the very industry being regulated — is no assurance that the animals in your dog or cat food were handled … or slaughtered humanely.'”

Read the full article…

In the verdant landscape of northern Vermont, a group of law and policy students from the Farmed Animal Advocacy Clinic recently found solace and inspiration at…

Wild Horses

The rugged wilderness of Northern California and Southern Oregon is on the other side of the country and a world away from the South Royalton campus of Vermont Law and Graduate School. That hasn't stopped student attorneys from working with the Environmental Advocacy Clinic's client Wild Horse Fire Brigade to help address the pressing environmental challenges facing this ecosystem, which is threatened by the risks of wildfire, climate disruption, and mismanagement of the area's public lands.

A national leader in developing solutions for these issues, Wild Horse Fire Brigade,…

By: Vanessa Kranz, Animal Law Society Co-Chair '23-'24


On April 27, 2024, members of Vermont Law & Graduate School’s Animal Law Society volunteered to help VINE, a local farm animal sanctuary, build a much-needed fence.

VINE is a LGBTQ-led sanctuary with a focus on environmental justice. They have over 500 residents including goats, sheep, cows, turkeys, chickens, ducks, pigeons, roosters, llamas, and more! These residents each have their own story.


Many of the thrilling photographs of bears, wolves, and tigers on your social media feeds are taken at game farms — places critics say are the exotic-animal equivalent of puppy mills

Vermont law professor Delcianna Winders said that even though the department’s documented findings were very critical of the conditions at Triple D, it’s rare that anything is ever done to properly enforce even basic animal-welfare standards. “The USDA is, without a doubt, failing to protect animals at the facilities it is supposed to regulate,” she says. “Even when the agency’s own…

Workplace Hazards for Meat and Poultry Workers

Scholars explore line speed and worker safety regulations governing meatpacking and poultry plants.



Vermont Law and Graduate School has, once again, been named among the top environmental law schools in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

The school earned this recognition for its outstanding commitment to environmental legal education, academic excellence, and dedication to shaping future leaders in the environmental field.

"The bald eagle. The humpback whale. The dusky gopher frog.

These animals stand among the nearly 300 creatures great and small saved from extinction thanks to a half-century of protection by the Endangered Species Act.

Widely regarded by legal experts as one of the world’s most powerful statutes for protection of wildlife and ecosystems, the Nixon-era act has halted the decline of hundreds of species along with protecting their habitats.

'We would be in a much, much worse place if America had not made the commitment that it did back in 1973 to protect and conserve…

Listen to the most recent episode of the Hothouse Earth Podcast featuring Professor Laura Fox, director of the Farmed Animal Advocacy Clinic, along with host Laura Ireland.



Last weekend, VLGS students Drew McCormick, Taylor Rush, and Daria Bednarczyk made us proud while successfully competing in the …

Vermont Law and Graduate School invites scholars and journalists in the fields of environmental, energy, agriculture, animal advocacy, and international environmental law and policy to serve as Distinguished Summer Scholars and Media Fellows

Animal law and policy has had a presence at Vermont Law and Graduate School (VLGS)—and in its renowned Summer Session—for decades. Over the years, animal law and policy offerings have grown with new degree programs. Join us to learn from accomplished scholars and practitioners this summer in beautiful Vermont!

Open to students, professionals, and lifelong learners from across the country and the world, this summer’s animal law courses offer opportunities for anyone interested in…

Think like a lawyer. Report like a journalist.

We welcome applications from journalists covering animal law and policy issues to join us this summer in beautiful Vermont. 

Selected journalists will participate in the VLGS summer session, taught by internationally recognized scholars and leaders. While on campus, fellows will interact with experts in environmental and animal law and policy, forming connections that provide sources for stories and often evolve into years-long professional relationships…

Delcianna Winders, professor and director of the Animal Law and Policy Institute, is featured for the second time in the prestigious Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law and Policy, Inc.…

Last week, Devin Brennan (JD/MAPP'25) and Mario Heitmann (MAPP'24) traveled to the State House in Montpelier to testify before the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy in support…

Professor Laura Fox (JD/MELP'13), Professor Delcianna Winders, Jenny Bass (JD'24), Vanessa Kranz (JD'25), Daria Bednarczyk (JD'25/MELP'23), Professor Pamela Vesilind (JD'08),…

The Animal Law and Policy Institute celebrates two Vermont Law and Graduate School students who participated in the Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition, an event offering a profound opportunity for learning and advocacy in international environmental law. This year, the competition presented an intriguing…


The faculty, staff, and students of the Animal Law and Policy Institute mourn the loss of Steven Wise, animal…

The US uses endangered monkeys to test drugs. This law could free them.

Kevin Jones

April 22, 2024

Vermont Law and Graduate School has established the Kevin B. Jones Fund to support the continued development and advancement of America's clean energy leaders. The fund will contribute to the academic and professional development of our energy students through support for internships, participation in field study courses, participation in moot court competitions, and attending energy conferences.

In partnership with the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law and Policy, Inc. and Brooks McCormick Jr. Trust for Animal Rights Law and Policy, the Animal Law and Policy Institute (ALPI) at Vermont Law and Graduate School is pleased to offer up to three premier Animal Law and Policy LLM Fellowships for the 2024-2025 academic year. The fellowship combines the opportunity to…


Hope McLellan-Brandt JD/MELP'24 has built an extensive resume since she came to Vermont Law and Graduate School (VLGS). She has participated in COP27 and COP28 as a party member to the Republic of Palau delegation, attended the 2023 Bonn Climate Change Conference, and attained an externship with the Republic of Palau's Office of Climate Change.

When looking at these opportunities, you might think that her journey to law school was paved by a privileged education and income. This is far from the truth. Hope discovered her path because of her experience with environmental inequity…

Students Studying

Submitting a strong personal statement will help you stand out from other law school applicants. Here are some tips for success.

Know Your Audience: 
Research the law schools you are applying to. Vermont Law and Graduate School is nationally known for our top environmental law program and work in restorative justice. Understanding our mission in public interest law will help direct your personal statement to reflect our core advocacy values.

Find Your Authentic Voice: 
Begin with an inventory. What's notable, unique, distinctive, or impressive about your life…

The Animal Law and Policy Institute at Vermont Law and Graduate School welcomes law school faculty to apply to join us this summer as our Animal Law Distinguished Scholar. 

Each year, VLGS invites leaders in the fields of animal advocacy, environmental law, energy, and agriculture to serve as …

PEL Blog

The Transnational Environmental Law Clinic (TELC) at Vermont Law and Graduate School (VLGS) plays a critical role in addressing global environmental challenges by creating a platform for students to work on legal and policy research projects for partner organizations in China, Vietnam, Thailand, and other Asian countries. Students learn about specific environmental challenges in these countries and the gaps in their laws and policies that need to be addressed.

The clinic also supports the work of the U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law. With project topics such as how to…



Delcianna Winders, an associate professor of law and director of the Animal Law and Policy Institute at Vermont Law School calls the bill a step in the right direction. For now, she says, “Massive subsidies to industrial animal agriculture disincentives protecting animals during severe weather events,” Winders says, which leaves “millions to suffer and die every year.” This bill, she says, would at least require farmers to make some demonstration of preparedness, which could help to remove some of that incentive.


More transparency around disaster…

In an extraordinary turn of events, we are thrilled to announce a landmark victory for Animal Partisan in their lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This triumph marks a significant moment in the fight for transparency and accountability in government operations concerning animal protection. As previously reported, with the help of Vermont Law and Graduate School’s Farmed Animal Advocacy Clinic and Sorenson Law LLC, Animal Partisan sued the FBI over its refusal to release records responsive to a…

"Footage that was captured by Mercy for Animals’ undercover worker and shared exclusively with Bon Appétit depicts tens of thousands of birds that appear so tightly packed into barns that the ground is barely visible beneath them; multiple turkeys that seem to have skin lesions and bloody wounds; and various deformed birds that appear unable to stand or move themselves to food and water. In multiple instances, turkeys are kicked, shoved, and…

Canned Photography: Animals, Not-So-Wild Images, and Lawlessness

Hosted by the New York University Animal Studies Program with support from the The Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law and Policy, Inc. 

Watch the Recording Here

Description: "Stock photographs of apparently wild animals in apparently wild settings are frequently used for calendars, websites, and fundraising appeals—including by environmental and animal advocacy organizations. Unbeknownst to most, these photographs are frequently of captive…

Becca Gredone JD’22 currently serves as legal analyst for Nourish Colorado, a nonprofit working on food access and policy advocacy based in Denver.
Laura Fox standing with her banner and George Mason Statute
Prof. Fox (left) with GMU Dean Ann Ardis

We are delighted to announce that our very own Prof.

Laura Fox

Professor Laura Fox, Director of the Farmed Animal Advocacy Clinic, contributed to The Hill in No, Congress should not expand the use of categorical exclusions. She expands the Farmed Animal Advocacy Clinic's work arguing against categorical exclusions in NEPA for slaughterhouse oversight to geothermal energy. Fox argues that industries should not be advocating streamlining NEPA review while risking harm to people and the environment.



Background VLGS in Green with Circular V Logo

Last weekend, Jenny Bass presented her paper, When the Rubber Meets the Road . . . Then the Water, Fish, and the Whales: Using the Endangered Species Act to Overcome Dilution of the Clean Water Act, as part of the Law Student Scholarship Panel during the Student Convention at the 2023 Animal Law Conference.  

A heartfelt thank you to the Animal Law Podcast for featuring the Farmed Animal Advocacy Clinic’s lawsuit: Animal Partisan v. FBI. 

This case is a vital stand for…

Darren Perron spoke with VLGS's Professor Delcianna Winders about the growing interest in animal advocacy, and the new Animal Law and Policy LLM Fellowships.

Watch here: Vt. Law School offering animal advocacy fellowships (

Background VLGS in Green with V Logo

This episode of Knowing Animals features Professor Delcianna J. Winders. Delci is an associate professor of law and director of the Animal Law and Policy Institute at Vermont Law and Graduate School. Her published work addresses the law around farmed animals, slaughterhouse workers, captive wild animals, animal advocacy, animal testing, and related subjects in animal and administrative law. They talk about her 2022 paper ‘Treating Humans Worse Than Animals?…


What has been your education/career path so far?

I have spent all of my young adult years working in human services. I've worked in mental health facilities…


Mid-career and aspiring animal advocates have a new opportunity to further their work and education with Vermont Law and Graduate School (VLGS).  

The Animal Law and Policy Institute, in partnership with the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law and Policy, Inc. and Brooks McCormick Jr. Trust for…

Today, Vermont Law and Graduate School’s Farmed Animal Advocacy Clinic (FAAC) submitted comments on behalf of their client, the Center for Biological Diversity, addressing the Council for Environmental Quality’s proposed Phase 2 rule changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The comments are narrowly focused to address the prolific and problematic use of categorical exclusions (CEs) by government agencies to avoid meaningful NEPA review.

Enacted in 1970, NEPA is often…

This week, the Ladies Who Law podcast welcomed Delci Winders to talk about animal law, her career path, opportunities at VLGS, advancing legal education in this field, and how…

We're thrilled to announce the publication of our inaugural Farmed Animal Advocacy Clinic "Year in Review" report! This comprehensive document offers an inside look into the work we've done, the victories we've achieved, and the progress we've made in our mission to train students in advancing the welfare and legal status of farmed animals.


The recent decision in Held v. Montana, is undoubtedly a monumental step in addressing the dire need for actionable climate change solutions. It not only highlights the state's responsibility to protect the environment for its citizens but also underscores the constitutional right to a stable climate system. By emphasizing CO2’s contributions to climate change and challenging the government's support of fossil fuels, the youth plaintiffs spotlighted the responsibility of states to adopt policies reflective of the broader concerns of environmental stability. However, it's important to…

Listen to Professor Winders on the Sentientism Podcast discussing “what’s real” and “who matters.” Sentientism is "evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings." The video of the compelling conversation may be found ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠here on YouTube⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠.

Johanna Doren MFALP’20, currently serves as Local Food Access Coordinator at Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT), a nonprofit organization with a mission to promote organic practices to build an economically viable, ecologically sound, and socially just Vermont agricultural system.


Professor Delci Winders, Director of the Animal Law and Policy Institute at VLGS shares her thoughts in USA Today's: "The next pandemic could spring from the US meat supply, new report finds."

The article includes:

The report led by Harvard Law School and NYU's Center for Environmental and Animal Protection highlights several areas of vulnerability, including commercial farms where millions of livestock come into close…

EJSBS climate protest

Vermont Law and Graduate School (VLGS) announced the launch of a new website – Environmental Justice State by State ( This online resource highlights the achievements of environmental justice communities in advancing law and policy at the state level. It features a comprehensive law library and database containing information about environmental justice laws, policies, mapping tools, and…

Animal Partisan, a pioneering animal protection organization that utilizes innovative legal strategies to challenge the key industries involved in animal exploitation, just filed a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In this endeavor, Animal Partisan is represented by the Farmed Animal Advocacy Clinic at Vermont Law and Graduate School, in collaboration with the…

VLGS President Rod Smolla
The Supreme Court today held that universities may no longer engage in race-conscious student admissions, ruling that race-conscious admissions practices violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. While Vermont Law and Graduate School is a private institution, the Supreme Court’s decision is binding on VLGS, as it was binding directly on Harvard, because VLGS must comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which has been interpreted as imposing the same legal obligations as the Fourteenth Amendment. VLGS will of course comply with the Court’s opinion, as it is…
offshore wind

The United States is undergoing a monumental energy transformation in which offshore wind will play a major role by helping to decarbonize our energy systems and mitigate the impact of climate change. It provides an opportunity to change what we ask of our energy systems. If implemented properly, offshore wind can drive the clean energy transition and provide considerable social, cultural, and environmental benefits.

Vermont Law and Graduate School is excited to welcome two Animal Law…

This summer, eight summer honors interns are joining CAFS from across the country to work alongside faculty, staff, and our project partners. Learn a bit more about what they're working on!

Daria Bednarck (a rising 2L) and Social Media Coordinator for the Animal Law Society has been awarded a 2023 Advancement of Animal Law Scholarship. Read more!

Vermont Law and Graduate School is excited to welcome two Animal Law…

Laura Fox, Douglas M. Costle Chair in Environmental Law and Director of the Farmed Animal Advocacy Clinic at VLGS, has published "The Intersectionality of Environmental Injustice, Other Societal Harms, and Farmed Animal Welfare" in the Environmental Justice journal.  

This timely and important work uncovers deep-seated connections between how we treated farmed animals and the severe societal and environmental consequences that follow. It also…


On May 19, 2023, Vermont Law and Graduate School commemorated the life and work of Don Baur. Don was an outstanding environmental and animal lawyer, a mentor and inspiration to many, and champion for the Animal Law and Policy Institute. He has been incredibly missed since his passing last fall.  

During the…




Last weekend’s graduation…



The Animal Law and Policy Institute was honored to co-host the Centre for Animal Rights Law's Lecturers' Workshop at the VLGS…

Mother pig in a gestation crate

In a momentous decision, the United States Supreme Court has upheld the Ninth Circuit's dismissal of…

Background VLGS with the River

Animal law and policy has had a presence at Vermont Law and Graduate School (VLGS)—and in its renowned Summer Session—for decades. Over the years, animal law and…

A woman looks at a table with factsheets on it
Created by faculty and students at VLGS's Center for Agriculture and Food Systems, a new series of factsheets aims to prevent the loss of land owned as "heirs' property."
Brett Stokes and Jill martin Diaz

On February 2, 2023, VIA attorneys Brett Stokes and Jill Martin Diaz co-filed a mass action in the District of Vermont alongside lead litigators from Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project, the Advocacy Center’s Immigrant Justice Program, the North Carolina Justice Center, and Brad Banias Law. The action seeks equitable relief from USCIS for its failure to adjudicate NC-based noncitizen survivors…

On March 18th, two Vermont Law and Graduate School (VLGS) teams competed in the revived National Animal Law…

Students and partners pose for a photo with Senator Debbie Stabenow
Students and faculty from VLGS's Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) at Vermont Law and Graduate School joined a coalition of farm and food organizations in Washington, D.C. for the Food Not Feed Summit, an event focused on changing America’s agriculture policies.

The New York State Bar Association Committee on Animals and the Law published the latest Laws and Paws Newsletter announcing their student writing competition winners.

Congratulations to VLGS students Vanessa Beane and Bailey Soderberg for their winning entries!

Second place – Vanessa Beane, student at Vermont Law School. Beane received $250 for her winning paper entitled “The Big Cat Public Safety Act: Why the Legacy Clause Needs to be…

Two roosters at VINE Sanctuary

Meeting animals who have been rescued from farms, confinement, and fighting can be one of the most powerful experiences for students learning to effectively advocate for animals. Looking into these animals’ eyes, learning their personalities, and seeing them thrive in a safe space inspires advocates to use the legal system to help save lives.  

VINE Sanctuary…

Vermont Law and Graduate School Square Logo

The Animal Law and Policy Institute at Vermont Law and Graduate School is excited to announce the Animal Law pathway within the Online Hybrid J.D…

Female student with brown hair and green sweater reading a text book

Vermont Law and Graduate School’s Farmed Animal Advocacy Clinic Assists Groups in Urging the US EPA to Meaningfully Regulate CAFOs under the Clean Air Act by Eliminating its Fugitive Emissions Exemption

Gordon Merrick headshot
Gordon N. Merrick JD’20 currently serves as Policy & Programs Manager for the nonprofit Organic Farming Research Foundation, an organization focused on advancing organic agriculture through scientific research.
VLGS MAPP Master of Animal Protection Policy image

This January (2023) Associate Professor of Law and the Director of the Animal Law and Policy Institute Prof. Delci Winders discussed our new Master of Animal Protection and Policy (MAPP) degree. MAPP students learn to navigate law and policy landscapes and effect change for animals. The curriculum, developed by faculty from the Animal Law…

Animal law Podcast 91

The Animal Law and Policy Institute at Vermont Law and Graduate School is proud to partner with the Cambridge Center for Animal Rights Law to help host their Lecturers' Workshop on May 8-12, 2023. 

Learn more with Mariann Sullivan on this week's episode of the Animal Law Podcast: So You Want to Teach Animal Rights Law.

Professor Winders weighs in on Neuralink's animal testing, the lack of enforcement under the Animal Welfare Act, and "animal experiment exceptionalism."  

She was quoted in Reuters exclusive, "Musk’s Neuralink faces federal probe, employee backlash over animal tests," which broke last week, and Vox's follow-up, "Neuralink shows what happens…

Lauren Wustenberg headshot
A joint degree student in both the Juris Doctor and Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy (MFALP) programs, Lauren Wustenberg now serves as Counsel on the Majority Staff for the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry under Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

The Animal Law and Policy Institute has partnered with the Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law to host a Lecturers' Workshop for those interested in teaching an animal rights law course at an undergraduate, graduate, or law school. Applications are due December 23, 2022 for the workshop that will take place May 8-12, 2023 in Burlington, Vermont. You may visit their website to learn more!


Brett Stokes and Jill martin Diaz

Over Thanksgiving week, Kevin Jones, director of the Institute for the Energy and the Environment (IEE) and Professor of Energy Law and Policy, and Jill Martin Diaz, assistant professor and lead attorney of Vermont Immigrant Assistance at Vermont Law and Graduate School (VLGS), traveled to Cuba with 13 students from the Global Sustainability Field Studies course. This is a rich experiential environment for the students to learn about sustainable energy and agriculture in both urban and rural areas on this unique island nation.

During the week, the students learned about Cuban…


In November of 2022, VLGS student Daria Bednarczyk (pictured far right) participated in the Animal Legal Defense Fund's Student Convention presenting her paper, "Behind Closed Doors…

Student sitting at desk with laptop, smiling

Vermont Law and Graduate School’s Farmed Animal Advocacy Clinic (“FAAC”) assisted community members and public interest groups in submitting a public comment against the potential expan

Watch Joaquin Phoenix's video thanking Professor Winders, and encouraging VLGS animal law and policy students, in VegNews!

Two students reviewing a document

New legislation regulating industrial animal agriculture will be before the Senate, and Vermont Law and Graduate School’s Farmed Animal Advocacy Clinic (“FAAC”) assisted in researching and drafting some of the legislative language in the bill. Today, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker…

Week one COP27 delegation at the Egypt Pavilion (left to right: Logan Keen, Heidi Johnson, Prof Derek Walker, Katie Bernhardt, Wenfang Liang, JiaYu Deng)

The United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 opened this week in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, with a focus on an aggressive implementation of the Paris Agreement, and two groups of Vermont Law and Graduate School student delegates have the great opportunity of attending in person—VLGS is an accredited "observer" of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.


Please consider applying for Vermont Law and Graduate School's …


Watch Online: 

Slaughterhouse Workers, Animals, and the Environment with Delcianna Winders & Elan Abrell - Yale Law School



The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a bright light on industrial slaughterhouses in the United States and their impacts on the vulnerable beings—both human and animal—they exploit. But the severity of these impacts is the result of a long…

McKenna Hayes holding a head of lettuce
One of the first students to enroll in the Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy degree at VLGS, McKenna Hayes MFALP’16 now directs the Food Hub at Food Connects, a nonprofit delivering local food, educational programs, and consulting services to the local Vermont food system.

Participants at the 2022 Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship

Vermont Law and Graduate School hosted the 13th Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship, September 23–24. This event offered environmental law…

"Does Animal Agriculture Cause Climate Change and Pandemics?"

By Jennifer Mishler


Delcianna Winders, a professor and Director of the Animal Law and Policy Institute at Vermont Law School, writes, “For decades, industrial animal agriculture has benefited from a hands-off approach in nearly every area of the law, at every level of government.”

Animal activists and animal advocacy organizations continue to fight to establish legal rights for farmed and other…

This past school year was a busy one for all things animal law and policy at Vermont Law and Graduate School, and it all started with the launch of a Concentration in Animal Law for JD students. So it’s only fitting that, as we head into a new…

This summer, six students from law schools around the country joined Vermont Law and Graduate School's Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) for the Summer Honors Internship program, which ran from May 31 to August 5.
Brett Stokes and Jill martin Diaz
VLS Animal Law Media Fellow Melanie Kaplan with rescued beagle Hammy. Credit: James Haworth

Thanks to a generous gift from the American Society for the Prevention for Cruelty to Animals (…

The Class of 2022 stands on the steps of the Cornell Library before the graduation ceremony.
As we look back on the 2022 commencement, we recognize and celebrate the exemplary students who won awards.
Marina Bolotnikova is an independent journalist who has written for Vox, The Guardian, The Intercept, The New York Times, and many other publications.
Visitors to the Bronx Zoo look at Happy, a lone Asian elephant in a small, bare enclosure, from an open-air vehicle
Monica Miller JD'12 will appear in court this week to argue that Happy The Elephant should have a fundamental right to liberty and be transferred to a sanctuary.
An overview of the animal law and policy classes, events, media fellows, and more this summer at VLS.
A white man with short black hair wearing a blue dress shirt, blue tie with diagonal stripes and grey jacket stands smiling against a brick wall
VLS student Christian Quigley shares his goals and experiences with earning a joint JD/Masters in Restorative Justice.
Protestors hold a banner that reads "Rise for Environmental Justice for All."
Students and faculty in Vermont Law School’s Environmental Justice Clinic and Climate Justice Practicum are helping to strengthen environmental justice legislation across the country: from the City of Philadelphia to the State of Vermont to federal legislative action.
Photo of students studying outside
As we get ready for Admitted Students Day, we asked our current students what advice they'd give to their past selves. Here's what they said.
By Julia Guerrein JD'22. A dual-degree student shares her experience combining environmental law at VLS with an MPhil in environmental policy at the University of Cambridge.
Professor Pat Parenteau
On Thursday, March 17, the Embedded Racism in the Law series features former Environmental Justice Clinic Director Marianne Engelman-Lado in conversation with Pat Parenteau about environmental justice at the EPA. Pat shares a preview of their discussion.
As legal counsel for Animal Outlook, Will Lowrey JD'17 is standing up for farmed animal welfare in the courtroom and mentoring future animal advocates. One of those is 3L Ashely Monti, who reflects on his work and his recent victory in court.
There is no shame, there is no embarrassment, there is no weakness in seeking out ways to make our present life different or better!
Women stand behind a table of Mexican food
In the past year, the Vermont Legal Food Hub (based at VLS's Center for Agriculture and Food Systems) supported a women-led Latinx food collective, a nut processing collaborative, a program to help restaurants survive COVID-19, and more.
Photograph of a Bailey Soderberg, brown hair and a brown dress.
Vermont Law School 2L will work on projects aiming to improve legal protections for farmed animals.
Tseming Yang headshot
The founding director of Vermont Law School's U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law reflects on the program as it turns 15 years old.
Former Vermont Law School Trustee R. Allan Paul picture
In honor of former Vermont Law School Trustee R. Allan Paul, we ask alumni, faculty, staff, and others to share tributes to his contributions to VLS and the Vermont legal community.
A pig in a gestation crate at the Smithfield Foods/Murphy Brown pig breeding facility, Waverly, Virginia, United States
Pork producers have been spuriously asserting that a California law allowing farmed animals room to move their limbs will spell the end of bacon. This blog presents survey data showing that grocery stores, restaurants, foodservice companies, and pork producers are in fact prepared to comply with the law when it goes into effect on January 1.
"Eyes Open, Minds Open" by Zora Duncan

Every year, the RJ4All International Institute celebrates International Restorative Justice Week. This year, RJ Week took place from November 21 – 28, and the National Center on Restorative Justice (NCORJ) marked the occasion by unveiling their restorative justice art gallery, titled “Reimagining Justice.”

The NCORJ issued a call to artists and restorative justice advocates to creatively represent a restorative approach to justice-making, or to advance public understanding and implementation of restorative justice through art. Submissions were…

Students in a Vermont Law School classroom
From a classroom at Vermont Law School, students in the Transnational Environmental Law Practicum are supporting environmental organizations halfway around the word.
In her newly published book, The Uninnocent: Notes on Violence and Mercy, VLS Adjunct Professor Katharine Blake explores the aftermath of a crime that changed her family, and career, forever. The crime? Her 16-year old cousin’s seemingly random murder of a nine-year old boy while suffering from a “psychotic break.” 
Professional Certificate in Restorative Justice Scholarship Recipients
The Center for Justice Reform is proud to announce this year's Professional Certificate in Restorative Justice Scholarship Recipients. Read on to hear from each of these outstanding students.
Thumbnail VJEL Editors 2021
Waste is an important environmental topic, now more than ever. Symposium Editor Carolyn Clark provides an overview of VJEL's symposium on this complex issue.
Delcianna Winders headshot
September 23, 2021
Delcianna ("Delci") Winders, a renowned animal law expert and advocate, joined the Vermont Law School faculty this fall as a visiting associate professor of law and director of the new program. We caught up with VLS's newest environmental law faculty member to learn more about animal law and how students can get involved.
September 22, 2021
Sherri White-Williamson JD/MERL’18 is on a mission. The North Carolina native is shining a bright light on how people of color and low-income communities bear the brunt of environmental pollution.

September 17, 2021

Vermont Law School students are changemakers. Mission Scholarships offered by VLS support students who want to use the power of the law to make a difference in their communities and the world. Mission Scholarships are available to students pursuing careers in public service/social justice, and environmental stewardship—the core values of the Vermont Law School education.

Meet Current Mission Scholar: Josie Watson JD'23

Josie Watson…

September 15, 2021 

Katie Merrill is the director of admissions at Vermont Law School, a powerhouse of admissions knowledge, and a former grassroots organizer. She saw how the status quo was no longer acceptable and personally saw the difference a person can make in the world. This is her ninth year serving VLS by finding top-notch leaders to join our community.


Here are her top five tips for applying to law school:

5. Research: Before jumping into the admissions process with any law school it is important to get to know what that school stands for and if it aligns…

September 3, 2021 

August 29, 2011, was supposed to be the first day of classes at Vermont Law School. Instead, catastrophe struck. South Royalton was battered by Hurricane Irene, which dumped around ten inches of rain on the area in less than 24 hours. The White River overflowed its banks. The power was out. Oakes Parking Lot was underwater. Classes were canceled, and students were encouraged to aid in recovery efforts.

VLS students rose to the occasion. They mucked out the basements of their new neighbors. They delivered food and supplies to those in need. The…

Summer Honors Interns headshots
August 16, 2021
Five law students from across the country joined the team at Vermont Law School's Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) as Honors Interns this summer.
Call for Papers decorative image

Dr. Lindsey Pointer, the Associate Director of the National Center on Restorative Justice and the Center for Justice Reform, is serving as an editor for the North American volume of the International Encyclopedia of Restorative Justice. This is an international collaboration that aims to document the growth of restorative justice around the world. Please see the call for papers below and consider submitting a proposal.

The editorial team for the North American Volume of the International Encyclopedia of Restorative Justice seeks proposals for short chapters (1500–2500 words) that…

July 30, 2021

This poem was submitted by Emma Hirst MARJ’21 to a restorative justice art contest held by Amherst College in spring 2021.

July 28, 2021

By Justin Campfield

When Vermont Law School launched the Center or Justice Reform and debuted the nation’s first Master of Arts in Restorative Justice (MARJ) degree in 2018, it could not have foreseen the series of tragic events, most prominent among them the death of George Floyd, that have since thrust social justice and criminal justice…

July 22, 2021

As COVID-19 swept across the U.S., it dramatically altered the work lives of three Vermont Law School Alumni.

 By Corin Hirsch

In the mid-afternoon of Friday, March 13, 2020, lobbyist Rebecca Ramos JD/MSEL’97 was in the cafeteria of the Vermont State House, one of her usual haunts during 12-plus hour days when the legislature is in session.

Rebecca Ramos JD/MSEL’97

Photo by Jay Ericson

She was there when she learned Governor Phil Scott had declared a state of emergency, putting in place preliminary restrictions—no out-of-state…

July 20, 2021

When VLS alumna and faculty member Molly Gray JD’14 was sworn in as Vermont’s 82nd lieutenant governor, she became the fourth female in the state’s history to hold the position and the latest in a long line of Swans who have put their legal training to use in elected office.

Earlier this year, Loquitur had the opportunity to talk with Lt. Governor Gray about how her time at VLS prepared her for statewide office, how being lieutenant governor will impact her teaching, and what she hopes to accomplish in her new role, among other topics.

July 20, 2021

When VLS alumna and faculty member Molly Gray JD’14 was sworn in as Vermont’s 82nd lieutenant governor, she became the fourth female in the state’s history to hold the position and the latest in a long line of Swans who have put their legal training to use in elected office.

Earlier this year, Loquitur had the opportunity to talk with Lt. Governor Gray about how her time at VLS prepared her for statewide office, how being lieutenant governor will impact her teaching, and what she hopes to accomplish in her new role, among other topics.

July 16, 2021

When Beth McCormack was named interim president and dean by the VLS Board of Trustees on January 23, she became the first woman to hold that position in the school’s history. A VLS faculty member since 2011 and a veteran of multiple administrative roles, including serving as vice dean for students, McCormack has been tasked with leading the school through the development and early-stage implementation of a strategic plan that will better prepare it for the future. Loquitur recently talked with Dean McCormack about her path to becoming the interim president and dean,…

Wenfang Liang headshot
June 30, 2021
Wenfang Liang LLM'22 is a fellow with the U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law (PEL), a VLS program that works collaboratively with government institutions, non-government organizations, lawyers, judges, lawmakers, and others to promote good environmental governance in Asia.

June 21, 2021 

Tamara Toles O'Laughlin JD/MELP'09 commenced her role as North American director for by orchestrating the largest-ever coordinated series of events on climate: the national climate strikes on September 20, 2019.

If anyone was poised to take on a task of this magnitude, it was Toles O'Laughlin. After graduating from Vermont Law School, Toles O'Laughlin interned for "every environmental organization possible" and then made a name for herself as executive director of the Maryland Environmental Health Network. There, she was the chief architect…

June 8, 2021
Each year, a select group of students participates in an International Climate Law course that takes them to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (also known as the "COP" conference). Mitul Patel JD/MERL'21 and Andrea Salazar JD/MERL'22 describe the experience.

June 1, 2021 

On Friday, May 14, the staff and faculty gathered virtually to recognize several members of the Class of 2020 and 2021 for outstanding service, stewardship, and leadership, and to confer upon them the following awards:

Diversity Award: April Urbanowski and Jameson Davis 

In recognition for inspiring multi-cultural awareness in the Vermont Law School community. 

April plans to take the Washington DC bar and work in environmental justice policy and advocacy. She’s looking forward to spending more time at the community garden, radio…

VT state capitol building in Montpelier
May 19, 2021
Vermont Law School's Environmental Justice Clinic worked alongside legislators to develop language for a new bill.
Three Can't-Miss Environmental Law Summer Courses
May 11, 2021
From this summer’s selection of 23 environmental law courses, we asked Associate Dean and Professor Jenny Rushlow to weigh in on the three she’s most excited about.
For Earth Day, Vermont Law School invited students to submit photographs they’d taken to celebrate the beauty of the natural world.
Quotes from recent VLS grads for newly admitted students at Vermont Law School.
conference 100
April 2, 2021
The Center for Agriculture and Food Systems is expanding a farmland access resource to serve more communities.

March 30, 2021

Vermont Law School is proud to announce the recipients of the Professional Certificate in Restorative Justice scholarship, as selected by members of the Advisory Board of the National Center on Restorative Justice.

The certificate program is a unique nine-credit program for graduate students, restorative justice…

March 18, 2021



Delinda Passas MARJ'20 was among the first cohort of online Master of Arts in Restorative Justice (MARJ) students in 2018 and continues to stay an active part of the VLS community through weekly conversations held for current and former restorative justice students. Delinda uses her background in restorative justice to share education on restorative practices and foster relationships within the community to support a restorative justice program…

Judge Peter Hall

I am sad to inform the VLS community of Judge Peter Hall's passing last Thursday.  

A giant of the Vermont legal community, Judge Hall was the lone Vermonter on the U.S.…

Mission Scholars' headshots
March 11, 2021
This year, Vermont Law School's U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law is supporting 15 aspiring lawyers working pro bono on environmental advocacy in China
Rachel Thompson AJD’17

March 9, 2021

Rachel Thompson AJD’17 has always been passionate about fighting for what is right and defending those who don’t have a voice. She chose to pursue a law career because she wanted to empower others to understand their rights and defend those whose rights were not being respected.

Rachel Thompson AJD’17

For Thompson, it was an easy choice to jump into the Accelerated Juris Doctor (AJD) program, which fast-tracked her into the field in two years.

Veronica Ung-Kono and Jeannie Oliver headshots
March 8, 2021
Titled "Elevate," the three-part interview series is the brainchild of VLS student Veronica Ung-Kono JD/MERL'21 and professor Jeannie Oliver. We caught up with the duo to hear more about it.
Dr. Lindsey Pointer

Dr. Lindsey Pointer, assistant director of the National Center on Restorative Justice and an assistant professor at VLS, recently published her second book focusing on…

Max Kempner

February 26, 2021

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of former Dean Maximilian W. Kempner.

Dean Kempner led VLS from 1991 to 1996, and his tenure was marked by transformational growth and progress that continue to benefit our community to this day.  

His many accomplishments include greatly expanded opportunities for women on the faculty and staff, the development of multiple study-abroad and international exchange programs, a 400-percent increase in the endowment, the initiation of a campus-wide master plan, launch of the First…

Dean J

February 26, 2021

The murder of George Floyd by police on May 25, 2020, triggered grief, horror, and outrage throughout America and the entire world. It also triggered a groundswell of reflection, activism, and determination, as everyone asked themselves, “How can I personally contribute to ending racial injustice?”

Shirley Jefferson, Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity and Associate Professor of Law, has devoted her life to fighting racism. As a teen in 1960s Selma, Alabama, she participated in the civil rights movement, integrating her high school,…

Students and staff of the Vermont Immigrant Assistance (VIA) Project, part of the South Royalton Legal Clinic, have been assisting undocumented immigrants with their registrations for state covid-19 funds.
An idyllic beach in St. Croix with an oil refinery in the distance.
February 19, 2021
Students in Vermont Law School’s Environmental Justice Clinic are supporting frontline communities in their fight against an oil refinery that has polluted a Caribbean Island for decades.

February 18, 2021

By Kyla Schweber MARJ'21


Restorative justice differs from the traditional adversarial process, which tends to be a very cookie-cutter form of justice. In the current correctional system, an offender commits a crime, and a judge will administer a punishment most likely based on precedent if that person is found guilty. Unlike the adversarial system, restorative justice is not a universal process, it is specific to the community, situation, and people involved.

“Although the definition of restorative justice continues to evolve,…

February 18, 2021

By Robert Sand Founding Director, Center for Justice Reform

The New Year invites a time for family and reflection, sometimes even reflections on our own childhood. Thinking about childhood often leads to reminders about nursery rhymes and other stories for kids. Looking at those stories and poems now shows how horrible some of them really are, full of fright and harm.

So why not rewrite those old stories and poems through a different lens, a restorative lens? We welcome submissions of your Restorative ReWrites and will publish some of them in…

February 10, 2021
What environmental law and policy issues will be at the forefront of 2021? The Vermont Journal of Environmental Law has released its predictions in the Top Ten Watchlist for 2021.
Dean Beth McCormack

February 5, 2021

Dear friends of Vermont Law School:

My name is Beth McCormack and late last month I was honored to be named Vermont Law School’s interim president and dean – the first woman to serve in this role. While I’ve met many of you during my decade as a professor and administrator at VLS, I would like to introduce myself to those of you who I haven’t met, as well as share a few thoughts about the future of our school.

I joined the VLS faculty in 2011 and have been the vice dean for students since 2017. In that position I have been responsible for all of our…

Johanna Doren and Emily Whittier headshots
January 29, 2021
Johanna Doren and Emily Whittier worked with Feeding the Valley Alliance while earning their Master's in Food and Agricultural Law and Policy (MFALP) degrees.
Dr. Tade Oyewunmi is a Vermont Law School assistant professor and senior research fellow in energy law and policy. His teaching and research focuses on policies and regulation of natural gas and electricity markets, international energy and resources law, decarbonization and energy transitions, energy justice, and regulation of network-based industries. 

Vermont Law School recently caught up with Amber Widmayer LLM'17 to discuss why she chose VLS in general, and the LLM in Energy Law specifically, and what she is up to now.

January 14, 2021

While a growing number of Master of Arts in Restorative Justice (MARJ) students are now official graduates and have gone on to new jobs, experiences, and even time zones, we hope that ALL continue to feel connected to the restorative justice community here at Vermont Law School. It is so exciting to see the variety of paths MARJ alums have taken, and this alumna spotlight is one way we hope to stay tuned in to those journeys.

Emily Severson was among the first…

Headshot of Emily Lyons
January 12, 2021
Working in private practice in Washington, D.C., this alumna focuses on food regulation while staying true to her farming roots.

January 8, 2021

Karla Barron MARJ'21

Vermont Law School students Karla Barron MARJ’21 and Caleb Sabatka MARJ’21 recently combined forces to submit public comments to the Department of Labor opposing a controversial executive order signed by President Trump.

Caleb Sabatka MARJ’21

Issued on Sept. 22, 2020, Executive Order 13950 purports to combat “race or sex stereotyping in the Federal workforce or in the Uniformed Services” by preventing federal contractors from conducting workplace training that the order claims teaches, among other things, “that men and members of certain…

December 18, 2020

As the year comes to a close, we reflect on all that 2020 was. It might not have been the year we expected, but as a community, we got through it. In anticipation of the New Year, here are the most popular blogs of 2020 based on readership. Enjoy!

1) David Versus Goliath

Kyle Tisdel JD’05

Kyle Tisdel JD’05 and his colleague took a seat at the large, oak counsel’s table in the federal courtroom in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The cavernous chamber made the two public interest attorneys feel…

December 17, 2020
Vermont Law School wishes you a truly happy and restorative holiday season.
A farmer kneels inside a greenhouse tending to her plants.
December 16, 2020
Based at Vermont Law School's Center for Agriculture and Food Systems, the Vermont Legal Food Hub connects local farmers, food producers, and related organizations with free legal services.

December 8, 2020

As the semester draws to a close, the 2L students at VLS have completed a major rite of passage.

Lauren Wustenberg JD’21

Appellate arguments are a chance for students to put into practice everything they’ve learned in the previous semesters. In the required Appellate Advocacy course, students spend the semester researching a case that is currently pending before the United States Supreme Court. They are assigned to act as the lawyer for one side and spend the semester researching their case and participating in practice moots before the Moot Court Advisory…

December 4, 2020

Vermont Law School recently caught up with Matthew Rubin MERL'18 to discuss why he chose VLS in general, and the MERLS program specifically, and what he is up to now.

November 25, 2020

This year has been a challenge, to say the least, and finding gratitude may not have been the easiest task to accomplish. It seems like everything about 2020 redefined the term “non-conventional,” so as we crash into the holiday season, it is only appropriate that we consider non-conventional things to be thankful for.

Being thankful for friends, family, and healthy food is always good for the soul. But as members of the Vermont Law School community, we know that laws are worthy of our gratitude as well. Laws regulate and shape the human experience ranging…

November 22, 2020

Professor Hillary Hoffmann's areas of expertise include federal Indian law, natural resources law, and public lands law. Her recent scholarship analyzes the systems governing natural resource uses on federal and tribal lands and explores the conflicts that arise from Constitutional and other systemic challenges facing indigenous nations in the United States. She has also lectured and published extensively on the topics of energy development, mining, livestock grazing, and other…

Jonathan Rosenbloom headshot
November 19, 2020
Environmental law professor Jonathan Rosenbloom studies how local municipalities can step up to build sustainability, resilience, and equity.

November 18, 2020

Last month, the National Center on Restorative Justice (NCRJ) at Vermont Law School launched "Reimagining Justice," a restorative justice art contest. The contest encouraged the restorative justice and art communities to consider a very important question: How can we use the power of images to communicate the concept of restorative justice and the greater philosophical shift at work to a wider audience?

In celebration of International Restorative Justice Week, a gallery of contest submissions and…

November 16, 2020

By Karla Barron MARJ'21

Everyone is feeling something. The uplifted weight of the false and negative rhetoric that now lies in defeat. It is a sigh of slight relief and air of hope.

I, like so many others, did my due diligence and voted because it was the most critical election I can remember during my lifetime. The culmination of burdens, injustices, struggles, fears and so much more that many of us have been carrying, gave rise to this moment.

I didn’t mind the media following the results. I wasn’t ready to relive the emotions of…

November 5, 2020

By Meg York, Staff Attorney and Assistant Professor

Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court has caused many Vermonters to fear that their rights are in jeopardy. The LGBTQ community is particularly vulnerable. Until very recently, LGBTQ rights were not even rights. Marriage equality, though secured earlier in Vermont, was recognized nationally in the 5-4 United States v. Windsor decision in 2013 and mandated nationally in the 5-4 Obergefell v. Hodges decision in 2015. However, earlier this year, Justices Thomas and…

Father Phil Schmitter
October 28, 2020
The Black Lives Matter movement and the spread of COVID have once again raised the question: How much pollution can a community tolerate?

October 23, 2020

By Austin Scarborough JD'21

Every year, the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law hosts a symposium. The topics vary and are based on different issues of environmental law. This year, the symposium was based on decarbonization and titled, “Don’t Be a Fossil Fool: Transitioning To, Living In, and Protecting A Decarbonized World.”

There were four panels that focused on clean energy justice, climate goals, nature-based solutions, and grid security. Each panel addressed a different aspect of the importance of decarbonization. Panel members were…

Two people and a dog sit next to the White River outside VLS campus.
October 12, 2020
Read about Act H.833, a new bill that will protect Vermont surface waters and make the state more resilient against climate change. The bill became law last week, thanks to a coalition of environmental organizations represented by VLS's Environmental Advocacy Clinic.
October 6, 2020
Jonathan Willson MERL'15 explains why he chose Vermont Law School.
Kerene Tayloe headshot
October 2, 2020
Environmental Justice Clinicians interview Kerene Tayloe, Director of Federal Legislative Affairs at WE ACT for Environmental Justice

September 25, 2020

On Friday, September 18, the world lost a true hero of the legal profession. Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s lifetime of achievements and trailblazing career inspired people the world over to fight for fairness, justice and equality.

Vermont Law School was among the first higher education institutions to award Justice Ginsburg an honorary degree, which we bestowed on her at the 1984 Commencement. As the former director of the ACLU and a current D.C. Court of Appeals Judge, she had embodied the school’s motto to great effect: using…

September 22, 2020
The crisp air blows in and transforms green South Royalton into a palette of foliage colors. Oranges, reds, and yellows fill the trees that surround the campus
Jose Bravo headshot
September 18, 2020
Environmental Justice Clinicians Sophia Battle JD'21 and Joel Nelson JD'21 talk with José Bravo, Executive Director of the Just Transition Alliance.
Esther Akwii headshot
September 16, 2020
As an LLM Fellow at the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS), Esther Akwii LLM'20 helped pilot a range of CAFS projects in partnership with organizations across the U.S

September 14, 2020

Since her junior year of high school, Lauren Mabie AJD’21 knew she was destined to be a justice-driven lawyer. She started her journey to Vermont Law School at American University where she attended for her undergraduate. While enrolled there, she joined the Army ROTC program. This took her for a short detour from law – she was assigned to an Air Defense Artillery unit in Germany for four years. During this time, she never lost sight of her end goal of studying law.

 A close community of justice-driven students, staff, and faculty is what…

A farm
September 11, 2020
Panelists from a recent Center for Agriculture and Food Systems event on structural racism in American agriculture discuss the books that inspire their work.
Naemma Muhammad
August 31, 2020
Environmental Justice Clinicians Vanessa Romero JD/MELP'21 and Kendall Keelen JD'22 Talk with Naeema Muhammad, Director of Organizing at the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network.

August 31, 2020

California-based Monica Miller JD’12 fights for the separation of church and state. As legal director and senior counsel for the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center and executive director of the Humanist Legal Society, Miller’s work is often around issues that arise in public schools. When a letter isn’t enough, Miller has filed lawsuits in federal court. She won a case against a South Carolina public elementary school for holding end-of-year ceremonies in a Christian chapel and a case against a Mississippi high school for inviting a…

Ben Eaton
August 19, 2020
Environmental Justice Clinicians John Kirkpatrick and Patrick Raya speak with Perry County, Alabama, Commissioner Benjamin Eaton.

August 27, 2020

Even in his childhood, Michael Crouse JD'21 had values rooted in environmental stewardship. That is why environmental law was a natural choice for him when he decided to pursue a law degree. When he began his research for a Juris Doctor program, he closed in on Vermont Law School because of its strong ranking in U.S. News & World Report.

That ranking caught his eye, but what took his interest to the next level was VLS's Institute for…

August 26, 2020
Environmental Justice Law Society (EJLS) is proud announce the premier of Trace the Roots: Voices Left Out of Environmental Conversations, a short documentary featuring environmental justice leaders Mustafa Santiago Ali, Raya Salter, and Nadia Seeteram.

August 21, 2020

We're thrilled to introduce the students who joined us (remotely) from law schools around the country as Summer Honors Interns at the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems.

Clockwise, from top left:

Kesha Ram
August 19, 2020
Environmental Justice Clinic students Rico Edwards JD'22/MARJ'19 and Blake Whitehead MARJ'20 interview Center for Whole Communities Senior Fellow and Vermont State Senate candidate Kesha Ram.

August 14, 2020

Professor Joe Brennan is the Vice President for Students and a Professor of Law. Professor Brennan began his legal career as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Edwin H. Stern, P.J.A.D, in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. Following his clerkship, Professor Brennan was a civil defense litigation attorney in New Jersey. His practice focused on product liability, premises liability, personal injury, complex litigation, employment law, breach of contract, fraud, and claims brought under the Uniform Commercial Code. He designed and taught an LSAT…

An illustration of eight people each with a speech bubble above their head. Inside the speech bubbles are icons representing the work of the environmental justice clinic: a can of toxic materials, a fist, a scale, a megaphone, a smokestack, a faucet with water coming out, a globe, and a handshake.
August 12, 2020
Introducing the Environmental Justice Clinic’s new blog series, in which student teams sit down with clients and partners from across the country. Over the next six weeks, we’ll hear their perspectives on the connections between environmental justice, the struggle for racial justice, and the Movement for Black Lives.

August 6, 2020

By Rebecca Beyer 

Vermont Law School student Natacha Tremblay JD’19 was finishing up her last day in the South Royalton Legal Clinic (SRLC) when she got some good news: one of her clients, a man who had immigrated to the United States from Vietnam when he was a child, was no longer at risk of deportation.

Tremblay and Assistant Professor Erin Jacobsen JD’11, the lead attorney for the clinic’s Vermont Immigration Assistance (VIA) Project, had…

August 4, 2020

As a 30-year U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Richard (Rick) Johnson JD’97 has always been drawn to challenges and eager to pioneer solutions. He fought in Desert Storm and deployed to more than 40 countries, including Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Bosnia. He served as commander of a C-130 squadron, inspector general for the U.S. Secretary of Defense, and chief of staff for the Marine Corps Reserves. While in the Reserves, he earned his law degree from VLS.

Now retired from the Marine Corps, Johnson’s appetite for problem-solving has led him to tackle the…


July 29, 2020

An Energy Clinic team investigates a solar project site

The Energy Clinic is preparing to file the 45-day notice to be followed by the application for a Certificate of Public Good for a 150 kW net metered community solar array on Putting Down Roots Farm in Royalton, Vermont. In addition to the local farm, the clinic has partnered with local nonprofit BALE and Catamount Solar to plan and develop this unique community solar project. The…

July 24, 2020

Q&A with Derek Miodownik MARJ'21, Community and Restorative Justice Executive for the Vermont Department of Corrections, and online student in the Masters of Restorative Justice Program at VLS. (Note: Derek discussed his experience with us in the fall of 2019.)

How have you seen restorative justice change in the 24 years you’ve been involved in the field?

July 23, 2020

A member of Tuscarora, one of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois Confederacy, Grant Jonathan MSEL’97 saw firsthand how environmental degradation and a changing climate impacted the land and Indian Nations. “I wanted to contribute and do some- thing about it,” he said. Jonathan attended law school at the University of Buffalo and then was awarded a First Nations Environmental Law Fellowship at Vermont Law School. Since then, Jonathan has done nothing but tribal environmental work.


For the past 18 years, Jonathan has…

July 17, 2020 

By David Goodman

Kyle Tisdel takes on big oil and gas and wins!

Kyle Tisdel JD’05 and his colleague took a seat at the large, oak counsel’s table in the federal courtroom in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The cavernous chamber made the two public interest attorneys feel small. So did the scene at the table for opposing counsel, where 15 attorneys jockeyed for space. They included lawyers from the U.S. Departments of Justice and Interior and a clutch of attorneys representing the oil and gas industry who had flown in from New York and Washington, D.C.

July 15, 2020

The Energy Clinic has been working with low to moderate-income (LMI) communities in New Hampshire to help their members develop community solar arrays to both reduce their carbon footprint and their energy or lot rent costs.

Alyssa Hartman standing outside at Vermont Law School
July 13, 2020
As the executive director of the Artisan Grain Collaborative, a VLS alumna channels her Master’s in Food and Agriculture Law and Policy to bolster staple crop supply chains in the Upper Midwest.

July 10, 2020

Anyone will tell you that law school is not easy. From cold calling to appellate, journals to bar prep, it's a very busy three years. Add on top of that a Masters degree in Energy Regulation and Law, work as a Research Associate in the IEE, Advanced Clinician work in the Energy Clinic, member of the Energy Law Society AND participation in Moot Court and it's amazing JD/MERL 2021 Ellie Hardwick found time to chat with us! We are delighted she did, because talking to Ellie is always a joy (especially when she brings her sweet pup, Tallulah, with her!)

July 9, 2020

Congratulations to the Class of 2020 award winners!

On June 26, the VLS community gathered virtually to recognize several of our graduating students for outstanding service, stewardship and leadership, and to confer upon them the following awards:

National Association of Women Lawyers Award: Elyssa Willadsen

Presented to the outstanding law student in the graduating class of participating ABA-approved law schools who demonstrated academic achievement, exhibited motivation, tenacity and enthusiasm; contributed to the advancement of women in…

by Claire Andrews, Program Coordinator, U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law

July 8, 2020

Hiking in Vermont is the gift that keeps on giving, no matter the season. Whether the branches are frosted with snow like diamonds, or burgeoning with the kaleidoscope of fall colors, each trail is a unique and pleasant surprise that offers a different adventure from season to season

June 24, 2020

Each season in South Royalton brings its own delights, from blazing fall colors to cross-country skiing. But summertime’s charms are in a league of their own. Here are some fun ways to unwind and enjoy the season while still practicing social distancing.

Professor Pat Parenteau

June 22, 2020

The horrific killing of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers, caught on a bystander's cell phone, has shocked the world and galvanized the largest movement in support of Black Lives Matter and an end to systemic institutional racism since the civil rights marches of the 60's. I was involved in some of those 60's protests but this time it's different. Now there is a much greater percentage of white and young people participating in the protests, as well as a number of police chiefs and cops in many cities taking a knee in solidarity…

Bears Ears National Monument
June 18, 2020
Two longtime professors and environmental public interest lawyers team up to teach a new summer course on protecting public lands out West.
Out of the Haze by Rebecca Beyer
Across the country, Vermont Law School graduates are helping provide clarity amid a swirl of confusing and sometimes conflicting cannabis laws.
Plant Breeder's Guide

June 11, 2020

  Assistant Professor Emily Spiegel recently teamed up with Food and Agriculture Clinic student Cydnee Bence JD'20 to create an innovative guide to intellectual property for plant breeders. Titled A Breed Apart, the resource outlines "defensive publication," a way plant breeders can keep innovations in the public domain. The tool will help breeders support biodiversity and push back against alarming trends in big ag: the consolidation of seed companies, prohibitive patents on genetic resources, and crop diversity loss.

  Over the course of a semester…

The Death of George Floyd: The Laws and Limits of Minnesota’s Homicide Statutes

June 5, 2020

  The Food and Agriculture Law Society stands with Black communities, organizers, and protesters. FALS stands in support and solidarity of Black lives because Black Lives Matter.

  We see that the Black community is grieving. We are grieving with you. We are appalled by the inexcusable murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many more.

  The US food system was founded on stolen land and cultivated by the hands of enslaved people. American agriculture was built on indigenous knowledge and the labor of marginalized people. Our current…


June 4, 2020

  Vermont Law Review stands in solidarity with the black community. We recognize the violence and injustices that our current systems perpetuate. VLR supports and encourages those who speak out and protest against racism. As future lawyers, we have the duty to act and stand against racial injustices. We encourage all to educate themselves on how to be a part of the solution. We each have a duty to support those most affected, those protesting, and those who cannot protest for their own safety. Our…


June 3, 2020

  On September 27, 1966, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said: "Certain conditions continue to exist in our society, which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the promise of freedom and justice have not been met." More than fifty years later, America still refuses to hear Black Americans’ voices. The senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are no exception.…

A VLS student group responds to the murders of Black Americans, white supremacy, systemic racism, and the protests that have erupted in response.

June 2, 2020

When it comes to climate change, Maeve McDermott is taking a global approach, not only to the problem, but to her own education. A native of Midlothian, Illinois (and a diehard White Sox fan), she earned a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with majors in biochemistry and Spanish literature, as well as minors in Global Health and Environmental Studies. She has completed four semesters through the Accelerated Juris Doctor program at Vermont Law School. In the fall of 2019, she arrived at the storied University of Cambridge to pursue an MPhil in…

President Tom McHenry speaking at a lectern

June 1, 2020

Like so many across America, I am deeply upset by the racial injustice illustrated most recently by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as the continuing incidents of police brutality directed at people of color.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionately devastating impact on the health and economic status of our communities of color. It has also confirmed what we already knew -- that deep racial disparities continue to exist in our nation. We stand with our students, faculty, staff and alumni in demanding an end to this…


May 28, 2020

In 2019 the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) selected Vermont Law School's Environmental Advocacy Clinic as legal counsel in its high impact litigation and policy advocacy, ushering in a wave of change on campus. The clinic (formerly the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic) was renamed, its students began tackling new environmental cases, and NWF's Legal Advocacy Director Jim Murphy arrived to direct the clinic and join the faculty.

Murphy, an…

May 26, 2020
Explore why and how Vermont Law School leads the state in offering commercial EV charging access.
May 14, 2020
Does filling a person’s body with toxic chemicals constitute injury? That’s the question residents of Hoosick Falls, New York raised when they sought justice from the companies that contaminated their drinking water.
May 14, 2020
Three Vermont Law School alumni from the online program share why they chose VLS online. Hear from Ricardo Edwards JD'22/MARJ'19, Michelle Bender MELP'15, and Delinda Passas MARJ'20.
May 12, 2020
Student attorneys in VLS's Environmental Advocacy Clinic (EAC) take on real-world cases to protect natural resources and the environment. Since the clinic announced a new partnership with the National Wildlife Federation in late 2019, it's been very busy: from tackling national cases for the leading conservation organization, to advocating on behalf of local community groups.

by Jerry Thomas JD/MELP’21

May 7, 2020

Jerry Thomas (right) with Cameron Humphrey of Yale's School of Forestry & the Environment in Alabama

As a member of Vermont Law School’s new Environmental Justice (EJ) Clinic, I recently had the opportunity to visit and work with members of the Ashurst Bar/Smith community in Tallassee, Alabama, who are being subjected to the negative effects of living near a large solid waste landfill.

Time and again, Tallassee residents have been let down by their government. The Ashurst Bar/Smith…

May 5, 2020
With courses taught by world-renowned visiting scholars and experts, Vermont Law School’s Summer Session is open to students from schools around the country. This summer the classes will move online due to the COVID-19 campus closure. But with 24 environmental law courses on deck, there is no shortage of exciting topics to choose from.

April 30, 2020

Eva Moss (left) sells her flowers at a farmers market in North Carolina.

After graduating from Vermont Law School's Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy program, Eva Moss moved to North Carolina and founded Heartstrong Farm. In addition to running the no-till flower-growing business, she now …

April 22, 2020
Vermont Law School students, faculty, and alumni share tips for incremental changes that make a difference.
April 21, 2020
Carrie Scrufari arrived at Vermont Law School in 2014 as a Food and Agriculture LLM Fellow. We caught up with Scrufari—who is now associate general counsel at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—to learn more about her time at VLS and how it served as a springboard into a food law career.

April 7, 2020

With workplaces upended during COVID-19, farms are in uncharted territory. The Center for Agriculture and Food Systems created a guide to employment law for Vermont farmers and farm workers covering some of the most pressing questions raised by the novel coronavirus: from paid sick leave, to unemployment insurance, to rules for small businesses. View or download the latest version of…


April 6, 2020

In mid-March, Vermont Law School (VLS) made the tough-but-necessary decision to temporarily close campus, moving classes online for the rest of the semester. While no cases of the novel coronavirus had yet been detected in the South Royalton area, the school’s COVID-19 Task Force was meeting daily and closely following guidance from public health officials. “We made this decision after much deliberation and discussion, guided at all times by the…


March 6, 2020

Scarcity Training at Vermont Law School

Growing up and living with scarcity impacts decision-making and judgment. On Friday, March 6, 2020, 50 people working in court diversion and pretrial services together with VLS students, faculty, and staff came together to learn how scarcity affects people we encounter in our current or future work. The VLS Center for Justice Reform hosted the training and co-sponsored it along with the Vermont Attorney General’s…

As a claims representative for the Intertribal Agriculture Council, Vermont Law School alumni Alicia Nevaquaya MSEL’08 identified farmers and ranchers who would benefit under the terms of the national class action civil rights discrimination lawsuit, Keepseagle v. Vilsack.
January 25, 2019
David Bridgers JD/MSL’93 serves as common counsel to some of the country’s major gasoline and petro-fuel companies, while acting as an outside voice for the group with the EPA and the City of New York.
December 20, 2018
Lizzie Tisher JD'14 discusses her work in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic (now the EAC), helping a group of neighbors fight the environmental and health impacts of an asphalt plant near their homes
December 6, 2018
Thad Adkins JD'09, an environmental attorney in Helena, Montana, ended up representing a fellow Montanan imprisoned for 23 years in the appeal of a lifetime.
December 4, 2018
Helena Wooden-Aguilar JD’02 was in her second year as an attorney in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Civil Rights when she got an unusual call at her desk.

October 9, 2018

Nico Lustig JD/MFALP’19 has a professional mission: to use the law to help communities, entrepreneurs, and workers create cooperatives, benefit corporations, and social enterprises that strengthen connection and cultivate human and environmental health. A student in the JD/ Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy (MFALP) joint degree program, Nico already had years of experience working on local food issues before she came to VLS.

She worked as the Food Business Development Specialist at the Franklin County Community Development Corporation in…

October 2, 2018
The Energy Clinic and student clinicians worked with Mascoma Meadows, a resident-owned community in Lebanon, NH this summer. Their work focused on a 100kW low income community solar project and commercial and community solar projects in Randolph and South Royalton, VT
September 29, 2018
This past July, U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law (PEL) welcomed a delegation of experts to receive training on the basic U.S. legal systems and practice for natural resource damage compensation and restoration.
September 27, 2018
The Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic (ENRLC) has partnered with Earthjustice, the largest nonprofit environmental law organization in the nation, to hire a full-time staff attorney for the clinic.

September 20, 2018

The Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) received a $1.5 million award from the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Library (NAL) as part of a cooperative agreement to continue their partnership. This funding will be used for a variety of major projects and initiatives addressing food and agricultural law. Specifically, the funding will support a new partnership with the Extension Service’s Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety at the University of Vermont, to assist farmers and food producers in…

August 28, 2018
The Environmental and Natural Resources Clinic (ENRLC) has won a case to protect the city of South Portland from fossil fuel infrastructure. The ruling could have broad implications for local authorities that seek to protect citizens from pipeline companies.
August 23, 2018
This past month, Vermont Law School, Patagonia and Yale published a guide on guide for entrepreneurs to help budding businesses navigate Certified B Corporations and benefit corporations, which offers a roadmap for entrepreneurs, corporate executives, attorneys, and legislators in using business as a force for good.
August 7, 2018
Accomplished attorney and environmental advocate Jennifer Rushlow will be joining Vermont Law School’s Environmental Law Center this fall. She is an experienced litigator, a creative developer of impactful projects, and a passionate and effective advocate for equity and justice

July 30, 2018

In July, Sophia Kruszewski joined the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems to lead the Food and Agriculture Clinic. Sophia returns to VLS after spending the last five years immersed in federal food and agriculture policy with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). At NSAC, Sophia focused on the Food Safety Modernization Act and its implementing regulations, as well as the Farm…

July 19, 2018
In June, the Vermont Law School’s Center for Justice Reform held the 2018 International Restorative Justice Conference: Global Unity and Healing in Burlington, Vermont at the UVM Dudley H. Davis Conference Center. Over 350 people attended from Vermont, across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia.
July 18, 2018
The Center for Justice Reform partnered with two forward-thinking Vermont prosecutors to help host two expungement days. Working in conjunction with prosecutors and Vermont Legal Aid, the Center and VLS student volunteers helped approximately citizens remove old marijuana convictions from their record.
Decorative image of Debevoise Tower

July 17, 2018

Dear Vermont Law School Community:

A month ago, I wrote to you about the financial challenges our School was facing, and how we are working to address them. Today, I can confidently say that Vermont Law School has a stronger, more sustainable financial model that positions the school to thrive in coming years.

This has not been an easy process, but with the thoughtful support of the Board of Trustees, we have been implementing changes to our instructional budget. This programmatic…

President Tom McHenry

May 31, 2018

Dear Vermont Law School Community:

Less than a year ago, I arrived in South Royalton to serve Vermont Law School as the new President and Dean. I have quickly learned what a close and conscientious community this truly is, and also just how big some of the challenges are that we face together.

It is no secret that VLS, like many institutions of higher education (and particularly law schools), has been facing considerable financial pressures for most of this decade.

VLS is a small, independent institution. These very characteristics help…

May 23, 2018
This summer, a field study course on Environmental Governance in the Developing World will offer VLS students the opportunity observe firsthand some of the challenges to implementing strong environmental governance in Southeast Asia.

May 20, 2018

Thomas Mitchell delivered the 14th Annual Norman Williams Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Planning and the Law on April 12 at VLS. Mitchell, who serves as Interim Dean and Professor at Texas A&M University School of Law, discussed “How to Address Racial Disparity in Property Ownership.” He addressed how legislative reform of property laws that negatively impact disadvantaged property owners in disproportionate ways can be achieved, although there…

May 18, 2018
The Institute for Energy and the Environment has added two new international fellows to its team: Anna Butenko as Senior Fellow for European Energy Law and Policy, and Arturo Brandt as Senior Fellow for Latin American Climate and Energy Law and Policy.
VLS’s Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) Moot Court Team represented VLS at the 26th Annual National NALSA Moot Court Competition at Arizona State University Law School in 2021.

May 12, 2018

VLS’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) is part of a collaborative group that launched a national Healthy Food Policy Project (HFPP) in the fall of 2017. The project identi es and elevates local laws and policies that promote access to healthy food and contribute to strong local economies, improved environmental quality, and health equity. The project, which focuses on socially disadvantaged and marginalized groups, is available at…

May 9, 2018
Shi-Ling Hsu, Natacha Teresa Mesa Tejeda, Andrea Freeman, and Tseming Yang will be representing environmental, energy, agriculture, and international environmental law while serving as Distinguished Summer Scholars in residency during this year's Summer Session.

April 30, 2018

In 1978, a visionary and teacher, Professor Richard Brooks, joined Vermont Law School in founding the Environmental Law Center, an intellectual center of excellence and professional training that would support the environmental movement. By building ideas and training leaders, the center helped to transform growing public understanding of the importance of protecting public health and the environment into public policy, law, and action.

Picture of MacDonough at VLS Commencement

April 9, 2018

VLS Community:

It is my distinct honor and pleasure to announce that Elizabeth C. MacDonough has accepted our invitation to serve as the 2018 Commencement Speaker. As the Parliamentarian of the U.S. Senate, she is the official advisor to the Senate on the interpretation of the standing rules and parliamentary procedure. She is the first woman to hold this role. Ms. MacDonough is a VLS alumna graduating with a J.D. in 1998. She will address the law school community at the Commencement ceremony on the South Royalton Green on Saturday, May 12 which starts…

April 6, 2018
The Institute for Energy and the Environment at VLS led sixteen students and faculty members to learn about Cuban culture, and its legal system, and renewable energy law and policy.
April 2, 2018
Vermont Journal of Environmental Law (VJEL) at VLS has published the 2018 “Vermont Law Top 10 Environmental Watch List,” highlighting critical law and policy issues that could escalate in the coming year.

March 31, 2018

The Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) at Vermont Law School, Farmers Market Coalition, and Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont have launched an online Farmers Market Legal Toolkit, a free resource to support building resilient and accessible markets throughout the U.S. The toolkit, created with support from the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, is available at


March 28, 2018
VLS’s Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic (ENRLC), achieved their latest victory in a six-year battle against polluting industry in Graniteville, Vermont last December.
March 21, 2018
U.S. News & World Report has again recognized Vermont Law School as the No. 1 environmental law school in the United States.

December 20, 2017

Dec. 20, 2017

Dear VLS Community,

With a heavy heart I share with you that on Monday, Dec. 18, our friend, colleague, teacher, and alumnus Professor…


[updated Jan. 2, 2018]


With great sadness we announce the death of Gil Kujovich, Professor Emeritus of Vermont Law School. Professor Kujovich, 71, passed away after a long illness in the company of his loving wife, Joni Chenoweth, and family on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in Boston, Mass.

“Our hearts are heavy as we share the news of the passing of Professor Gil Kujovich,” said President and Dean Thomas McHenry. “He and Joni are friends and mentors to many Vermont Law School alumni, faculty, and staff. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Kujovich family.”


Nov. 10, 2017 By Laurie Izutsu Earlier this week, on a November day striking in its darkness and its warmth, I caught up with Chris Whidden JD’18, president of the Veterans Law Student Association (VLSA) at Vermont Law School, and an Army veteran. I first met Chris back in August. He had come directly from a medical procedure at the VA, under the fog of anesthesia, so as not to miss our scheduled appointment. In June, Chris had completed an independent research project designed to gather empirical evidence to support a Veterans Treatment Court in Vermont. In a comprehensive report just shy…

Decorative image of Montpelier statehouse gold dome
October 19, 2017
The American Bar Association has granted acquiescence in VLS' applications to establish a Professional Certificate in Restorative Justice, and a Master of Arts in Restorative Justice degree, an important step toward establishing our Center for Justice Reform.

September 7, 2017

Dear VLS Community,

This week the Trump administration announced plans to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that, since 2012, has enabled more than three quarters of a million undocumented immigrants to legally live, work and study in the United States without fear of deportation. Brought to the U.S. as children, DACA recipients are often described as Dreamers. They have jobs, attend college, and pay taxes.

Vermont Law School stands with the Dreamers firmly and unequivocally against any policy change that would…

July 18, 2017

By Sarah M. Reiter, Adjunct Faculty, Vermont Law School; Aaron Strong, Assistant Professor of Marine Policy, School of Marine Sciences, University of Maine, Orono

Along the rocky shores of Maine, in that dynamic place where land meets sea and the tides ebb and flow, no one knows who owns the seaweed. The legal status of rockweed—a growing industry in Maine—is important to the scientists that study its ecological benefits, the harvesters that collect it for commercial purposes, the state agency concerned with its sustainable management as a marine resource, and…

June 16, 2017

​​​By Sarah Reiter, Adjunct Faculty, Vermont Law School

T​he state of California continues to act as a pioneer when it comes to American climate change initiatives, in both the mitigation and adaptation spheres. In defiant opposition to President Trump’s stance on climate change, the California Air Resources Board recently voted to move ahead with strict emissions regulations, and the California Ocean Protection Council adopted a resolution to use a recent science report to update the State’s Sea Level Rise Guidance policies.

Nevertheless, the Coastal…

June 5, 2017

By Pat Parenteau, Senior Counsel and Professor, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic​​

June 1, 2017,​ will go down as the day the United States turned its back on the international community and relinquished its leadership on the greatest environmental threat the world has ever faced. President Trump's decision to leave the Paris climate agreement—signed by all of the nations of the world except Syria and Nicaragua—was, in the words of distinguis​​hed career diplomat R. Nicholas Burns, a "colossal foreign policy mistake."

But there's a catch.…

May 23, 2017

By Sarah Reiter, Adjunct Faculty, Vermont Law School; Megan Mach, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University

Despite legal protection, species and habitats found in California’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) remain exposed to harmful ocean, land and climate-based stressors. In this study, published in Ocean and Coastal Management, we used a mapping approach to assess the cumulative impacts of various stressors on the network. Not surprisingly, we…

May 12, 2017

As a candidate, Donald Trump famously dismissed climate change as a “hoax” invented by the Chinese to gain a competitive advantage in the global marketplace. As President, Trump put Scott Pruitt, who disputes the scientific consensus that carbon dioxide is the primary driver of climate change, in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency.

In his first budget,​ Trump proposed to eliminate many climate change programs outright, and cut others sharply. The EPA, which focuses on significant climate science, would see its budget cut by 31%, reducing it to levels…

May 8, 2017

​By Sarah M. Reiter, Associate Director, Career Serv​ices and Adjunct Faculty

Our students will be traveling far and wide this summer to experience law for the community and the world. We’d like to wish fair winds and following seas to Jaime Neary, Nicole Webbert, Vincent Puleo, Kaelyn Barbour, Amy Stevens, Simonne Valcour, and Rachael Swiatek as the embark on ocean-based work for their 1L summer. Spanning the waters of the continental U.S., our students will be tackling the major issues facing our ocean.

Splitting her time between…

April 6, 2017
As community solar projects become increasingly popular around the country, there’s a question that any potential participants should be askin​​​g: will our community actually own our solar power?​​

March 17, 2017

Marijuana reform is at a unique crossroad as policies on the recreational drug vary from state to state. On February 21, 2017, Vermont Law School professor Robert Sand offered his perspective on a fundamentally different approach to the current punitive model.

"It's become a device that marginalizes, and stigmatizes, and penalizes," Sand said of marijuana."As a result, we've created more harm by how we've responded to marijuana, than has ever been created by the plant itself. And that just…

February 17, 2017

By Robert Sand, Assistant Professor of Law

"I was very pleased to see that H.55, a bill that guarantees public defense services to all needy people who were 25 or under at the time of their alleged offense, passed the Vermont House yesterday. This bill rejects the notion that some criminal charges are not "serious" for young people. All charges are serious and can have devastating direct and collateral consequences. This bill is an important advancement in justice. Thank you to the Committee Chair Rep. Maxine Grad and the entire House…

November 16, 2016

Raising Sierra Leone

Born in Sierra Leone, educated in Norway and the U.S., Joseph Kaifala created the nonprofit Jeneba Project to rebuild schools and libraries in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea—an impoverished region whose educational infrastructure was destroyed with so much else during years of brutal conflict and civil war. Here, Kaifala is shown meeting with Bishop George Biguzzi at the dedication of the newly-constructed secondary school in Masoila, Sierra Leone. The Jeneba Project also promotes literacy and raises funds for scholastic supplies…


November 16​​​​​, 2016
A former U.S. Army helicopter pilot, VLS alum Carina Roselli sees a bigger fight environmental preservation.​


November 14​, 2016
International wildlife policy has a friend in VLS alum Leigh Henry, who supports the prosecution and sentencing of high-profile illegal traffickers.​​​​​​​

November 12, 2016
VLS alum Olga Kariyawasam's credentials​​ speak for themselves as her bilingual assets are in high demand in a globalized economy.​​​
November 10, 2016
As Chief Counsel of Environmental and International Law for the World Bank, Chuck Di Leva has a global view of climate change.
November 8, 2016
VLS alum Shazia Khan is on a mission to provide a country with 55 million people without electricity the power they need.​​

November 6, 2016
As Environmental Protection Specialist for the Federal Aviation Administration, VLS alum Dan Williams has become a climate changer.​​

November 4, 2016
Find out how Gretchen Oldham is uniting nations through her work as a professional support lawyer with Cleary Gottlieb Paris LLP.​
November 2, 2016
Vermont has been a safe haven for some 6,300 refugees who have settled here since 1989, including Daniel, who caught Erin Jacobsen JD'11's attention​.

September 30, 2016
On this increasingly small and fragile planet, China is the single biggest Environmental Stage. Enter Vermont Law School.

September 28​, 2016
I​n her work and in her teaching, Stephanie Farrior has shown that the fight for social justice knows no boundaries.​​
September 26​, 2016
Vermont Law School mourns the passing of Cheryl Hanna, who was a passionate leader in the Vermont community.
September 24​, 2016
Vermont Law School mourns the passing of Geoffrey “Jeff” Benson Shields, who left an indelible mark on the law school as president and dean from 2004 to 2012.
September 22​​​, 2016
​Alan Panebaker JD/MELP '11 represented the very best of VLS and his passion for the outdoors lives on in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic.
September 20​, 2016
​When VLS alum Ben Leoni JD'11 is not focusing on land-use and zoning disputes, he's hitting the slopes as a professional backcountry skier.​​

September 18​, 2016
There's no mountain eco-system high enough that VLS Alum Warnock MSEL'99 won't fight protect as the Conservation Director for Hell's Canyon Preservation Council.​​

September 16, 2016
VLS alum Reggie Hall JD/MSEL'02 helps make it possible for local conservation groups to purchase land by providing financial and technical assistance.​​

September 14, 2016
VLS alum Allison Buckley's MELP'10 role as Natural Resources Planner has given her the chance to help conserve thousands of acres of land.​​

September 12, 2016
From the Green Mountains to Alaskan, VLS alum ​Mike O'Brien ​JD/MSEL'02 has served the environment, and worked hard to make it safe for all.​
September 10, 2016
By becoming an advocate for removing old dams, supporting and restoring rivers and improving public access for boaters, VLS alum Megan Hooker MSEL'05 has made the great outdoors her office.​​
September 8, 2016
When VLS Alum Stacy Tatman JD'13 is not photographing nature, she's managing regulatory and legislative issues on behalf of it.
September 6, 2016
From Vermont to Maine, VLS alum Eliza Donoghue JD'12 has made it her life's passion to protect New England​ forests and land.​
September 4, 2016
When VLS alum Theresa Labriola MSEL '99 is not exploring the ocean and its wildlife, she's fighting to protect them.

September 2, 2016
From snowshoeing in Vermont to negotiating a land purchase Lehman Brothers, VLS Alum Kate Brown JD/MSL'16, has had a deep connection with nature.

August 31, 2016
VLS Alum Cyndy Kozara MSEL'99 turned her law degree into a career preserving land and wildlife for the Green Mountain Horse Association (GMHA)​.​​
August 29, 2016
The impact that Climate Change has had on Vermont is undeniable, and VLS is preparing the next generation of policymakers and legislators to protect the environment.​
August 27, 2016
Whether its politics and international affairs or trails and fishing holes Vermont is ingrained in VLS alum Molly Gray JD'14.​
August 25, 2016
VLS Professor Jack Tuholske love of the outdoors has translated well to lessons in and out of the classroom, including a two summer course in Montana.​

August 23, 2016
Thanks to Vermont Law, VLS alum Tom Mitchiner '15 was able to give meaning to his passion for outdoor sports.

August 21, 2016
VLS Alum Kelly Nokes '15 came to Vermont Law not only because of her passion for protecting the environment, but to satisfy her inner adrenaline junkie as well.

August 19, 2016
From Oregon to South Royalton, Professor Rebe​cca Purdom has balanced her expertise in law with a love for the ​outdoors.​​​​​​

August 17, 2016
An aspiring bass fishing pro, VLS Alum David Scott '15 came to South Royalton with the mission of protecting that waterways and what he loves.​​​​​

August 15, 2016
​​VLS Alum Meghan Jeans, director of the Boston aquarium's Conservation Programs, is leading an effort​ to advance seafood sustainability.​​​​​
August 13, 2016
VLS Alum Paige Tomaselli's '04 work for the Center for Food Safety has helped protect animals, the environment and public health, all while fighting "factory farms."​​​​
August 11, 2016
Nancy and Walter Warner '12 have been able to grow their unique jam business, thanks in large part to Walter's legal education and externships.​
August 9, 2016
As a first-year law student Huyffer aspired to be a principled small-town lawyer, instead, her days now begin with 4 a.m. milking, arranging ​logistics for a dairy business, and caring for her children—four boys, ages six to thirteen.​
August 7, 2016
While it’s become common in recent years to espouse the virtues of small, localized farming, Michael Formica isn’t one of the movement's evangelists. ​"I’m ‘Big Bacon,’” he says, with a laugh.​

In May 2011, an extraordinary range of experts and advocates gathered at Georgetown University to discuss the future of food. Journalist Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and a prominent critic of industrial agriculture, gave the opening remarks. Among other panelists and speakers that day were CEOs of organic food companies; the senior technology officer from General Mills; the president of The Land Institute; FDA’s deputy commissioner for food; the outreach director for the National Farm to School Network; a vice-president from the Grocery Manufacturers Association; food writers…

From the same starting point, it’s a five-minute drive north beyond the river to the open-air cow barn and the neat rows of organic vegetables at Luna Bleu Farm, where Suzanne Long and Tim Sanford work a small, diversified farm that includes grass-fed beef and free-range chickens.

The couple sells produce and meat to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shareholders, local restaurants, and the South Royalton Cooperative Market, among other places, and at the Norwich Farmers Market, where Long has been on the board of directors for close to a decade. After a discouragingly wet…

August 1, 2016
VLS alum, Becca Pincus MSEL'11, Chair of Arctic Studies at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and Professor-In-Residence at the Center for Arctic Study and Policy, works to support the Coast Guard's strategic objectives in the Arctic region.​​
July 30, 2016
VLS alum, Andy Meeks JD/MSEL'03, Development Director at The Freshwater Trust in Portland, Oregon, calls himself a "disrupter of the status quo" in the fight for clean and abundant fresh water.​
July 28, 2016
VLS alum, Margaux Valenti JD'13, Staff Attorney at Riverkeeper in Buffalo, New York, helps gain access, through contractual agreements, to private and public lands to install river restoration projects.
July 26, 2016
VLS alum, Tom Leary JD/MSEL'95, Deputy Legal Counsel to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman at the Department of Defense in Arlington, Virginia dives into the legal and policy issues related to protecting oceans and marine ecosystems.
July 24, 2016
VLS alum, Michelle Bender MELP'15, Earth Policy Fellow at Earth Law Center in Redwood City, California, dives into the legal and policy issues related to protecting oceans and marine ecosystems.
July 22, 2016
VLS alum, Peter Van Tuyn JD/MSEL'89, Managing Partner at Bessenyey & Van Tuyn, LLC in Anchorage, Alaska, dives into the legal and policy issues related to protecting oceans and marine ecosystems.​
July 20, 2016
VLS alum, Sarah Mooney Reiter JD'13, Ocean Policy Analyst at Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif., dives into the legal and policy issues related to protecting oceans and marine ecosystems.​
July 18, 2016
VLS alum, Zachary Lees JD/MELP'12, Staff Attorney at Clean Ocean Action in Sandy Hook, N.J., dives into the legal and policy issues related to protecting oceans and marine ecosystems.​
July 16, 2016
VLS alum, Stephanie Showalter Otts JD/MSEL'01, ​Senior Research Counsel and Director of Sea Grant Programs at the University of Mississippi School of Law in Oxford, Miss., dives into the legal and policy issues related to protecting oceans and marine ecosystems.

The kelp forests and rare deep-sea corals off New England’s coast deserve preservation. MeghanJeans is involved with a campaign to protect marine species and habitats through a Marine National Monument off the coast. “Monument designation for Cashes Ledge and several coral canyons and seamounts in the Gulf of Maine would help guard against destructive human activities and enhance the ecosystem’s resiliency by conferring permanent protections for these incredible places,” she says. “With colleagues in the conservation community and other ocean stakeholders, we are working to advance the…

July 12, 2016
VLS alum, Jim Landis LLM'09, Counsel at Lowcountry Counsel Office U.S. Marine Corps in Beaufort, S.C., dives into the legal and policy issues related to protecting oceans and marine ecosystems.
July 10, 2016
Betsy Baker, Professor of Law at VLS, is now a go-to expert on the​ Arctic. Through her work with the U.S. State Department and the Arctic Council, an international governing body for the Arctic, Baker has played an important role in elevating the status and understanding of the frozen north.
July 8, 2016
Alum William Taylor JD/MSEL'83, ​Attorney at Pierce Atwood LLP in Portland, Maine and Partner, Environmental Practice Group, shares his Clean Water Act (CWA)-related work along with CWA trends and big issues.​
July 6, 2016
Alum Anne Hedges MSEL'93, ​Deputy Director and Lead Lobbyist, Montana Environmental Information Center, a statewide nonprofit focused on air and water pollution issues, shares her Clean Water Act (CWA)-related work along with CWA trends and big issues.​
July 4, 2016
Alum Michael Woodard JD'98, Assistant VP and Legal Counsel for Domestic Policy, National Pork Producers Council, shares his Clean Water Act (CWA)-related work along with CWA trends and big issues.
July 2, 2016
Alum Lee Woodard JD'82, Partner with Harris Beach PLLC, shares his Clean Water Act (CWA)-related work along with CWA trends and big issues.​
June 30, 2016
Alum Julia Anastasio MSEL'96, Executive Director and General Counsel, Association of Clean Water Administrators in Washington, D.C., shares her Clean Water Act (CWA)-related work along with​ CWA trends and big issues.
June 28, 2016
Few ​​question the need for clean waterways and safe drinking water. But the controversy and litigation involved in attaining those goals is increasing and sometimes makes the ultimate objectives harder to reach.
June 26, 2016
In the face of drought, floods, and sometimes invisible pollution, access to clean water is growing more fraught than ever. The work of VLS alumni in three regions of the country offers a glimpse of how it's all playing out.
June 24, 2016
Over spring break a group of VLS students volunteered with the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project in Texas to provide legal assistance to asylum​-seeking mothers and children being held at detention centers by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
May 1, 2015
Things in Bob Liu's JD'14 life began to shift partway through his 1L year, when he overheard friends discussing the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps