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Richard Brooks

Richard Brooks

Professor of Law Emeritus
Founding Director, Environmental Law Center
Environmental Law Center

PhD, Brandeis University, 1974

LLB, Yale University, 1962

MA, University of Chicago, 1958

BA, University of Chicago, 1956


Richard Brooks


Professor Richard Brooks, founding director of Vermont Law School's Environmental Law Center, is an internationally recognized scholar of environmental law and policy. The courses he has taught at Vermont Law School include Air Pollution Law, Coastal Management Law, Comparative Law, Environmental Law, Environmental Ethics, Land Use Law, Population Law, Professional Responsibility, and Torts. He also served as the coordinator of Vermont Law School's Foreign, International and Comparative Law Program.

Professor Brooks earned his BA degree in 1956 and his MA degree in social and political philosophy in 1958, both from the University of Chicago. He received his LLB degree from Yale Law School in 1962 and his PhD degree in planning from Brandeis University in 1974. His legal career began as an associate with Parker, Badger & Fisher in Greenwich, Connecticut, and as director of program analysis and legal counsel with Community Progress, Inc., in New Haven. He served for three years as executive director and legal counsel with Thames Valley Council for Community Action, Inc., and for 10 years as an urban legal planning consultant. From 1971 to 1978, he maintained a private law practice, taught planning and law at the University of Rhode Island, and directed the Connecticut College Urban Studies Program. During that time, he argued a case for the Natural Resources Defense Council that upheld the Connecticut coastal management permitting program, and drafted legislation, revisions, and amendments for state and municipal coastal zone management.

Professor Brooks founded Vermont Law School's Environmental Law Center in 1978 and remained its director until 1990. Throughout his career, he has served as a consultant for environmental groups, state of Vermont agencies, and for the U.S. Department of Energy. He has served since 1980 as a visiting professor in environmental studies at Dartmouth College and as a visiting professor of law at McGill and the University of Trento. In the past decade, as emeritus, Professor Brooks has turned to his first love - the classics - and explored their relations to modern law in several volumes.



​With Melissa Scanlan, reviewing Environmental Protection in Multi-Layered Systems: Lessons for the Water Sector, edited by Mariachiara Alberton and Francesco Palmero in Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 2014.

The Many Busts of Aristotle on Display: A Review of Calnan's 'Justice and Tort Law,' 36 Tort & Ins. L.J. 1105 (2001).​

​With David Farnsworth, Environmental Liability and Participation: The Second-Best Solution, 40 McGill L.J. 805 (1995) (reviewing Gretta Goldenman Et al., Environmental Liability and Privitazation In Central America and Eastern Europe, 1994). ​

U. S. Environmental Law: Ecosystems, the Commons and Environmental Rights (1993) (unpublished paper presented to the Institu Nacional de Administracao, Lisbon, Portugal, May 1993) (on file with author).​

A Program for the Education of Environmental Auditors at Vermont Law School's Environmental Law Center, Envtl. Auditor, 1991, at 59.​

​With Janette Eadon, Environmental Mediation in Vermont (1983) (on file with Environmental Law Center, Vermont Law School).​

​Essay, Beyond Advocacy and Towards Justice: The Contribution of Legal Reasoning to Planning and Policy Making, Am. Inst. Planners (1972).​


​With Ross Virginia, "A Decade of Change in the Concept of the Ecosystem Legal Regime", (Series Editors' Preface) in Mary Jane Angelo, The Law and Ecology of Pesticides and Pest Management, (2013).

"State and Local Environmental Impact Requirements," in Zoning and Land Use Controls (Patrick Rohan ed., 1988).​

Institutional Factors of Power Production in New England, in Impact Of Water Availability on Electrical Energy Production on New England (BEDA 1977).


With James Bernard Murphy, Aquinas and Modern Law (Ashgate Press 2013).​

​Editor, Augustine and Modern Law (Ashgate Press 2011).

​Editor, Cicero and Modern Law (Ashgate Press 2009)​

​Editor, Plato and Modern Law (Ashgate Press 2007).

Editor with James Bernard Murphy, Aristotle and Modern Law​ (Ashgate Publishing 2003).
Lead author with Ross Jones and Ross A. Virginia, Law and Ecology: The Rise of the Ecosystem Regime, (Ashgate Publishing 2002).​​
Lead Author with K. Leonard, et al., Toward Community Sustainability: Vermont’s Act 250​ (Vol. I 1996, Vol. II 1997).
Co-author with Thomas Hoban, Green Justice: The Environment and The Courts (2d ed., Westview ​Press 1996).​
"Buying the Sky: Acid Rain Controls in the U.S. Under the 1990 Clean Air Act," in Acid Rain, (J. Rose ed., Gordon and Breach Science Publishers 1994).​
​"Federal Air Pollution Control," in Zoning and Land Use Controls​ (Patrick Rohan ed., 1991).
"The Law of Municipal Comprehensive Planning," in Zoning and Land Use Controls ​(Patrick Rohan ed., 1990).
​"State and Regional Land Use Controls," in Zoning and Land Use Controls​ (Patrick Rohan ed., 1989).

Municipal Environmental Ordinances: Compendium of Municipal Environmental Laws, University of Rhode Island (1977).

New Towns and Communal Values (Praeger 1974).​


Making the 'Mediterranean of the Western Hemisphere' a Sustainable Community: The Connecticut Coastal Management Act and the Long Island Sound, Vt. L. Rev. 13:3 453 (2012).​
The Gulf Oil Spill: The Road Not Taken, 74 Albany L. Rev. 489 (2010/2011).​
Refurbishing of Life Stages: A Meditation Upon the Law of the Stages of Life, Buffalo L. Rev. (Sep. 2006).​
Kelo and the "Whaling City": A Search for the Urban Public Interest, Real Estate L. Rev. (Sep. 2006).​

Speaking (Vermont) Truth to (Washington) Power, 29 Vt. L. Rev. 877-893 (2005). ​

Introduction to Symposium, Quebec, Canada and First Nations: The Problem of Secession, 23 Vt. L. Rev. 699 (1999).​
With Anne Drost, Civil Society Regimes and Ecosystem Management: Selected Problems in Lake Champlain, 15 U. Ariz. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 289 (1998).​
Law and Civil Society in the U.S., Canada, Quebec and the First Nations, 15 U. Ariz. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 1 (1998).​
Legal Realism, Norman Williams and Vermont’s Act 250, 20 Vt. L. Rev. 699 (1996).​
A Constitutional Right to a Healthful Environment, 16 Vt. L. Rev. 1063 (1992).​
A New Agenda for Modern Environmental Law, 6J. Envtl. L. & Litig. 1 (1991).​
Environmental Law Center: Curriculum Innovation and the Future of Environmental Law and its Study, Hazardous Materials (1991).​
Ethical Legal Identity and Professional Responsibility, 4 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 317 (1990).​
An Introduction to the Vermont Law Review's Section on the Developments and Issues in Environmental Law, 13 Vt. L. Rev. 627 (1989).​
Intellectual Technology: The Dilemma of Environmental Law, 15 Rutgers Computer & Tech. L.J. 411 (1989).​
Les Mains Sales: The Ethical and Political Implications of SLAPP Suits, 7 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 61 (1989).
Coercion to Environmental Virtue: Can and Should Law Mandate Environmentally Sensitive Life Styles?, 31 Am. J. Juris. (1987).​
Response in Rethinking Tort & Environmental Liability Laws, 24 Hous. L. Rev. 53 (1987).​
Undergraduate Legal Education as a Vehicle for Liberal Education, J. Liberal Educ. (1987).​
Aesthetic Theory & Landscape Protection: The Many Meanings of Beauty & Their Implications for the Design, Control & Protection of Vermont's Landscape, 4 U.C.L.A. J. Envtl. L. & Pol'y 129 (1985).​
Grafting Fiscal Impact Analysis on Vermont's Act 250: The Lessons of the Pyramid Mall Case, 12 Pol'y Stud. J. 511 (1984).​
The Mini-Dialectics of the Law of Acid Rain, 18 Int'l J. Envtl. Stud. (1982).​
The Future of Ethical Humanism, 31 J. Legal Educ. 287 (1981).​
The Deregulatory Approach to Public Planning, Planning (1981).​
The Evaluation of Compensable Regulations: A Return to Beuscher's Defense of Invalidation, 19 Urban L. Ann. 27 (1980).​
The Law of Plan Implementation in the United States, 16 Urban L. Ann. 225 (1979).​
Jurisprudence of Planning: Notes on the Outline of Law Required to Support and Control Planners, 24 Cath. Law. 1 (1978).​
The Legalization of Planning within the Growth of the Administrative State, 31 Admin. L. Rev. 67 (1979).​
The Policy Issues of New Towns: One Failure of Law to Guide Planning in America, 8 Urban Law. 99 (1976).
Protecting Rhode Island's Environment by Implementing the Comprehensive Plan of Development: A New Legal Frontier, 24 Rhode Island B.J. (1976).​
The Legal Structures and Policy Implications of New Towns, 50 Conn. B.J. 42 (1976).​
Social Planning in Columbia, J. Am. Inst. Planners Nov. 1971.​
An Urban Growth Policy for Rhode Island, Rhode Island Business Q. Sept. 1971.
Millstone Two and the Rainbow: Planning Law and Environmental Protection, 4 Conn. L. Rev. 54 (1971).​
New Towns and Citizen Participation: A Policy Analysis, J. Comm. Devel. Soc. (1971).​
The Functions of the Constitution and the Establishment Clause, 13 Cath. Law. 325 (1967).​
The Neighborhood Social-Legal Program, 33 Social Service Rev. (1964).​


Meditative Reflections on Ecology, Environmental Law and the Protection of Scenic Beauty, part of the Gordon H. Barker Memorial Paper Series In Natural Resource Policy, University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Resource Policy Studies and Programs (1992).​

Awards & Accomplishments

Awards, Honors or Grants

​Recipient of the Mina Shaunessy Post Secondary Education Award, U.S. Dept. of Education (1984).​​

Service Work

​Chair, Environmental Committee, Vermont Bar Association, 1986.

​Contributions to the Law:

  • Convened task force that drafted Vermont's environmental enforcement legislation, enacted 1988.
  • Drafted Connecticut coastal area management legislation, 1975.
  • Drafted revisions for Federal Coastal Zone Management Act, 1975; drafted model municipal coastal management act, 1975.
  • Drafted amendments to Rhode Island zoning enabling legislation, 1974.
  • Argued Breccarioli case (for Natural Resources Defense Council) that upheld Connecticut's coastal management permitting program, 1974.
  • Other:

    • Visiting Professor in Environmental Studies at Dartmouth College, since 1980.
    • Past consultant, Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., and U.S. Department of Energy.
    • Professor of Law, Social Planning, and Environmental Planning, University of Rhode Island, 1971-78.

    ​Chair, Association of American Law Schools, section on North American Cooperation, 1998-99.

    ​Member, editorial review boards of Environment and Land Use Law Annual, since 1985, Environmental Auditor, since 1989, and Hazardous Materials Journal, since 1990.

    ​Chair, Air Pollution Committee, American Bar Association, since 1996.

    Chair, Association of American Law Schools, section on North American Cooperation, 1998-99. Associate, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C., since 1985. Chair, Air Pollution Committee, American Bar Association, since 1996. Chair, Environmental Committee, Vermont Bar Association, 1986. Member, editorial review boards of Environment and Land Use Law Annual, since 1985, Environmental Auditor, since 1989, and Hazardous Materials Journal, since 1990.


    Professor at Vermont Law School since 1978.

    Visiting Professor in Environmental Studies at Dartmouth College, since 1980.

    Past consultant, Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., and U.S. Department of Energy.

    Associate Professor of Law and Planning, University of Rhode Island, 1971-78.

    Chair, Urban Studies Program, Connecticut College 1968