On July 1, 2017, Thomas McHenry, a nationally recognized environmental law attorney, began his term as the ninth president and dean of Vermont Law School. Formerly a partner with Gibson Dunn in Los Angeles, Calif., Dean McHenry brings 30 years of environmental and administrative law practice to VLS, the nation’s top-ranked environmental law school.
Dean McHenry is a longtime member of the VLS community and taught for several years in the school’s Summer Session. He has taught environmental business transactions and comparative U.S./France land use law, which included taking a group of VLS students to Paris and Provence to meet land use lawyers and planners. He plans to continue the tradition of learning outside the classroom, whether taking VLS students to visit abandoned mining sites now regulated under the Superfund and being used to install solar panels or visiting local farms to learn more about the challenges facing food growers and producers.
Prior to his leadership role at VLS, Dean McHenry co-chaired the Leadership Council at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and served as vice-chair of the Roberts Environmental Center at Claremont McKenna College, where he taught environmental law and policy to undergraduates for 25 years. His other nonprofit and community service includes the Council on Watershed Health in Los Angeles, the National Forest Foundation, the Natural Heritage Institute, Wildlife Trust, the Wolf Fund Advisory Board, the Center for Large Landscape Conservation, the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, the California State Parks Foundation,
California Waste Association, and the Santa Lucia and Tejon Conservancies.
Dean McHenry has provided legal counsel internationally on environmental and natural resources legislation and regulations in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean for the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
He earned his JD at New York University School of Law, a master’s in forest science at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and a bachelor’s degree in history at Yale College.