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Liz Ryan Cole

Liz Ryan Cole

Professor of Law Emerita

JD, Boston University, 1973

BA, Oberlin College, 1968


Liz Ryan Cole


Professor Liz Ryan Cole specializes in legal ethics and clinical legal education. As founding director of the Semester in Practice, she designed the field placement course and taught and supervised full-time and part-time clinical externships all over the world from 1984 to 2012. She currently teaches Legal Ethics in the Practice of Law, a problem based course in professional responsibility, and actively supports adopters of the course book, Legal Ethics in the Practice of Law, 4th ed. Zitrin, Langford and Cole. A fifth edition, designed for use in multiple settings, not only the classroom but also in internal clinics and externships, will be published in the summer of 2018.

Professor Cole’s formal education includes a BA (Oberlin College, 1968), a JD (Boston University, 1973) and coursework at Yale’s School of Organization and Management, and the National Training Labs (Bethel, Maine). She practiced law in San Jose, California from 1974 to 1977, both with Community Legal Services and as a partner in the firm of Katz, Cole and Beam. She was the Legal Services Training and Advocacy Project’s training coordinator in New Haven, Connecticut, from 1978 to 1980, and the Legal Services Corporation Region II training coordinator from 1980 to 1983.

Professor Cole joined Vermont Law School's faculty in 1984 as director of the Semester in Practice program and director of the Office of Career Services. She has been a trustee of Vermont Legal Aid and served on several committees for the Vermont Bar Association. She was a founder and first president of the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) and in 2002 received CLEA’s Outstanding Advocate for Clinical Legal Education Award. She is a member of the Global Alliance for Justice Education (GAJE), and pursues her interest in international collaboration across legal cultures whenever possible. She writes and speaks on legal education, including comparative and clinical legal education, legal ethics, and the training and supervision of law students and lawyers. Professor Cole is qualified to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator©, and uses this instrument often with students and lawyers as they improve their understanding of how they make decisions. She is an owner/developer of Pinnacle Project, a co-housing community, a member of the CoHo/US Advocacy & Affordability team, a member of her town’s planning commission and conducts workshops for lawyers and judges on improving their ability to give and receive feedback.



Learning From Supervision, in Learning from Practice: A Professional Development Text for Legal Externs (J.P. Ogilvy, et al. eds., West Group 1998).


Teacher's Manual for Learning from Practice: A Professional Development Text for Legal Externs (J.P. Ogilvy, et al. eds., West Group 1998).


Lessons from a Semester in Practice, 1 Clinical L. Rev. 1 (1994).

A Key, A Tool for Understanding, The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Vt. B.J., Feb. 1992, at 18.

Training the Mentor: Improving the Ability of Legal Experts to Teach Students and New Lawyers, 19 N.M. L. Rev. 163 (1989)

Gender Bias in the Courts, Vt. B.J., Feb. 1987, at 5.


Student Interns Practice for Credit, Lawyer Training and Hiring Report, Vol. 6, No. 11, Apr. 1986


​Designer and Lead Trainer, "Performance Critique Workshop," Vermont Law School and the Clinical Legal Education Association, offered two or three times each year, York, ME, 2002, and Hanover, NH, 2001.​
​"Workshop for New Clinical Law Teachers—Performance Critique,​" Clinical Legal Education Association in conjunction with the American Association of Law Schools, Montreal, 2001.

​"The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator—An Introduction for Clinicians," Midwest Clinical Teachers Conference, Lawrence, KS, 1994. ​
​"Litigation and the MBTI," Vermont Bar Association Continuing Legal Education program, Killington, VT, 1991.​

​"The Future of Clinical Legal Education," Department of Education, Des Moines, IA, 1994.

Awards & Accomplishments


​Member, Sterry Waterman Inn of Court, 1994–present.

​Member, Board of Trustees, Vermont Legal Aid, 1984–94.

​First President, Clinical Legal Education Association, 1992–93

​Member, continuing legal education committee, Vermont Bar Association, 1984–87, 1991.

​Member, Clinical Section, Association of American Law Schools since 1988; Member, executive committee, 1987–91, and Chair, committee on externships, 1988–89