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VLS President and Dean, Thomas McHenry

Thomas McHenry

Master's, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

JD, New York University School of Law

Bachelor's in History, Yale College

Curriculum Vitae

Thomas McHenry


Thomas J.P. McHenry, a nationally recognized environmental law attorney, was the ninth president and dean of Vermont Law School and became President and Dean Emeritus on Jan. 24, 2021. Formerly a partner in the environmental practice group with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Los Angeles, California, Dean McHenry brought 30 years of environmental and administrative law practice to VLS, the nation’s premier environmental law school.

Dean McHenry taught for several years in the school’s Summer Session: 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. Dean McHenry previously served on the faculty of Claremont McKenna College (CMC) for 26 years where he taught environmental law and policy, environmental leadership and American conservation history. He also served as vice chair of the advisory board of the Roberts Environmental Center at CMC.

Dean McHenry’s law practice was primarily in the energy and environmental area and included air and water quality, waste management, renewable energy project financing and siting and a variety of natural resource issues. He served on a number of statewide governmental advisory committees and chaired the state toxics advisory board. 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.

Prior to assuming his leadership role at VLS, Dean McHenry chaired the Leadership Council at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. His other nonprofit and community service includes serving on the boards of 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 Ranch Land Conservancies.

Dean McHenry earned his JD at New York University School of Law where he served on the staff of the Journal of International Law & Politics. He also earned a master’s degree in forest science at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and a bachelor’s degree in history at Yale College. Following a one-year fellowship with the National Park Department of Taiwan, Dean McHenry clerked for Lawrence Karlton, Chief Judge of the Eastern District of California.

At VLS, Dean McHenry has taught water quality, forest law and policy and new frontiers in environmental law and policy.


Presenter, “Environmental Curriculum: What Should Law Schools Teach?”, 9th Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship, Vermont Law School, September 22, 2018.

Moderator, 9th Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship, Vermont Law School, September 22, 2018.