Professor Mears specializes in environmental law and policy. He has experience in the major pollution laws (air quality, water quality and hazardous waste management and cleanup), water resources law, federal facilities regulation, and state and federal sovereignty. As the former Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic here at VLS, David helped students hone their lawyering skills while assisting non-profit organizations and individuals with environmental problems and conservation projects.
Professor Mears returned to Vermont Law School in August 2015 after serving four years as Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. Prior to joining the State of Vermont, he taught at Vermont Law School from 2005 to 2011. During that time, he also taught as a Fulbright Scholar at Sun Yat Sen University in Guangzhou, China. Professor Mears has held a number of positions in state and federal government including positions in Texas as Enforcement Coordinator in the Texas Water Commission, Assistant Attorney General in the Texas Office of Attorney General, and Senior Attorney for Water Quality with the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. He left Texas to serve as the Energy and Environmental Policy Director with the Texas Office for State-Federal Relations in Washington DC, then served both as a Trial Attorney and Counselor for State and Local Affairs with the U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division. Following his time at the Department of Justice, Professor Mears was appointed Senior Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Ecology Division in the Washington Office of the Attorney General.
Professor Mears has a degree in environmental engineering technology from Cornell University, and a Juris Doctor and Masters of Environmental Law and Policy degrees from Vermont Law School.