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Environmental Law Center (ELC)


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.

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


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…

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…

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…

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.

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."
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…

Rod Smolla at Podium

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…

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 ex

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.

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.