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Kinvin Wroth

L. Kinvin Wroth

Professor of Law Emeritus
Environmental Law Center

LLB, Harvard University, 1960

BA, Yale University, 1954


Curriculum Vitae

L. Kinvin Wroth


L. Kinvin Wroth, professor of law at Vermont Law School since 1996 and professor emeritus since 2017, served as the school's sixth dean from 1996 to 2004; from 2003 to 2004, he had the additional title of president. Previously, he served as dean of the University of Maine School of Law from 1978 to 1990 and was on the Maine Law faculty from 1964 until coming to VLS. His expertise includes procedure, professional conduct, and legal history. At VLS, he has taught Civil Procedure, Comparative Law, The Canadian Legal System, Race and the Law, Land Use Law, and Regulating the Maine Environment. He was director of VLS's Land Use Institute from 2005 to 2011.

Professor Wroth received his bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1954 and his LLB degree from Harvard University in 1960. He served as a teaching fellow and assistant professor of law at the Dickinson School of Law from 1960 to 1962. He returned to Harvard Law as a research associate from 1962 to 1964. While at Maine Law, he held an appointment as research fellow with the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History of Harvard University from 1968 to 1974. As reporter and consultant to the Vermont Supreme Court's rules advisory committees since 1969, he has drafted many of Vermont's rules of procedure, evidence, and professional conduct, as well as its code of judicial conduct. He was a consultant to similar advisory committees of the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine and has served on numerous court and bar committees in both states.

Professor Wroth has served as chair of the Legal History and Canadian-American (now North American) Cooperation Sections of the Association of American Law Schools and the Association's Government Relations Committee. He has also been chair of the American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education Independent Law Schools Committee. His work on the legal career of John Adams won the American Historical Association's Littleton-Griswold prize in 1966. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and an elected member of the American Law Institute, and has been honored by the American Judicature Society.



“Lawyers and Ecological Law,” chapter in From Environmental to Ecological Law (Kirsten Anker, Peter D. Burdon, Geoffrey Garver, Michelle Maloney, & Carla Sbert, eds.), Routledge (2021).

​Article, “Common Law: United States Law,” in 2 S. Katz, ed., Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History 82-85 (Oxford University Press, 2009)

​Biographical sketches of Charles Jackson (1775-1855), Joel Parker (1795-1875), Isaac Parker (1768-1830), Theophilus Parsons, Jr. (1797-1882), and Mark DeWolfe Howe (1906-1967) in R. Newman, ed., Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law 276, 286, 414-16, 418-419 (Yale University Press, 2009)

​“John Adams: Patriot Lawyer,” in Norman Gross, ed., America’s Lawyer Presidents: From Law Office to Oval Office 6-17 (N.W. Univ.Press/ABA Museum of Law, 2004)

​Articles, “Common Law (Anglo-American),” “Rule of Law,” in L. Levy et als., eds., Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, 1:332-333, 3:1613-1614, Macmillan, 1986 (2d edn. 2000)

​Biographical sketches of Robert Auchmuty, Benjamin Chew, Wyseman Clagett, Jeremiah Gridley, Charles Hamlin, Samuel Quincy, Chambers Russell, David Sewall, Stephen Sewall, and William Tudor, in American National Biography (Oxford University Press,1999)

​“Dr. Roark and the Daily Bugle: A Mediation Exercise for Torts,” in L. Riskin, J. Westbrook, and J. Levin, Instructors’ Manual to accompany Dispute Resolution and Lawyers, Abridged 449-60 (1998)

​“Legal Education,” in The College Board, Advising for Study in the United States: A Manual for Educational Advising Professionals 559-62 (1998)

​“The Maine Connection: Massachusetts Justice Downeast, 1620-1820,” in R. Osgood, ed., The History of Law in Massachusetts: The Supreme Judicial Court, 1692-1992 171, Boston, 1992

​“Vengeance: The Court-Martial of Captain Richard Lippincott in 1782,” in H. Peckham, ed., Sources of American Independence, 2:499-612, Chicago, 1978

​Coauthor, with Hiller B. Zobel, “The Case of Field v. Lambert,” in L. Butterfield et al., eds., The Earliest Diary of John Adams 82-96, Harvard, 1966


​Coauthor, with Richard H. Field and Vincent L. McKusick, Maine Civil Practice, 2d edition, 2 vols., West, 1970, and 1972, 1974, 1977, and 1981 Supplements (with Charles A. Harvey, Jr., and Raymond G. McGuire)

​Editor-in-chief, Province in Rebellion: A Documentary History of the Founding of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1774-1775, book and microfiche, Harvard, 1975

Legal Advocacy

​Vermont Rules for Electronic Filing and amendments to them and to the Vermont Rules of Appellate and Civil Procedure and Rules for Dissemination of Electronic Case Records promulgated at various times on and after effective October 1, 2010, as emergency rules and as permanent rules, effective October 31, 2011,Vt. Stat. Ann. (2000), Supp. 2013

​Vermont Rules of Criminal Procedure (1973) with Reporter's Notes and various amendments, Vt. Stat. Ann. (2003), Supp. 2011

​Vermont Rules of Civil and Appellate Procedure (1971) with Reporter's Notes and various amendments, Vt. Stat. Ann. (2000), Supp. 2011

​Vermont Rules for Environmental Court Proceedings (2005), with Reporter’s Notes and various amendments, Vt. Stat. Ann. (2000), Supp. 2011

​Various amendments, Vermont Rules for Family Proceedings, with Reporter's Notes, Vt. Stat. Ann. (2000), Supp. 2011

​Vermont Code of Judicial Conduct, A.O. 10 (1994) with Reporter's Notes and various amendments, Vt. Stat. Ann. (2009), Supp. 2011

​Various amendments, Vermont Rules of Probate Procedure, with Reporter's Notes, Vt. Stat.­Ann. (2009), Supp. 2011

​Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct, amendments to conform to 2002-2003 amendments of ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, circulated for public comment, March 4, 2005; recommended to Supreme Court with revisions, January 2008; promulgated June 17, effective Sept. 1, 2009, Vt. Stat. Ann. (2009), Supp. 2011

​Vermont Rules of Evidence (1983) with Reporter's Notes, Vt. Stat. Ann. (2003) (with J. Dooley)

​Various amendments, Maine Code of Professional Responsibility and Maine Bar Rules, with Advisory Committee's and Board Notes, West, Maine Reporter, 1983-1996

​Various amendments, Maine Rules of Civil Procedure, with Advisory Committee's Notes, West, Maine Reporter, 1966-1996

​Maine Administrative Court Rules, with Advisory Committee's Notes, and various amendments, West, Maine Reporter, 1978-1993

​Maine Code of Judicial Conduct, and amendments, with Advisory Committee's Notes, West, Maine Reporter, 1990-1993

​Maine Bar Admission Rules, and amendments, with Board notes, West, Maine Reporter, 1986, 1993

​Maine Rules of Probate Procedure, with Advisory Committee's Notes, and various amendments, West, Maine Reporter, 1981-1989

​Maine Rules of Small Claims Procedure, with Advisory Committee's Notes, and various amendments, West, Maine Reporter, 1982-1989

​Testimony and statement on arbitration of underground petroleum pollution claims in Maine, in Transcript of Public Hearing on Groundwater Contamination and Leaking Underground Petroleum Storage Tanks, Northeast-Midwest Institute, Portland, Maine, December 7, 1985, pp. 23-32 and App. II

​Testimony and statement on election contests and the electoral vote, in The Electoral College and Direct Election, Hearings before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 95th Cong., 1st Sess., 1977, pp. 122-132

​Coauthor, with Richard W. Smith, "The Law of Maritime Personal Injury as applied to Commercial Fisherman," a working paper for the Ad Hoc Committee on Commercial Fishing Vessel Insurance of the National Marine Fisheries Service, United States Department of Commerce, 1973

​Prepared testimony as expert witness for the United States on the history of admiralty law and English and American law in the colonial period, before the Special Master in United States v. Maine (Atlantic seabed title case), 420 U.S. 515 (1975), 1972


Introduction, "Achieving Environmental Sustainability in the Face of Climate Change: A Joint Cross-Border Conference on Sustainability" 13 VT. JOUR. ENVI. LAW 417 (2012)

"Six Flags Revisited: Coastal Zone Management or Marine Spatial Planning for Lake Champlain?," 13 VT. JOUR. ENVI. LAW 489 (2012).​

​Introduction, Joint McGill-Vermont Law School Workshop Water, 34 Vt. L. Rev. 855 (2010)

​“Hold Back the Sea: The Common Law and the Constitution,” Introduction to Stop the Beach Renourishment: Essay Reflections from Amici Curiae, 35 Vt. L. Rev. 413 (2010)

​"Wroth on Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct" in LexisNexis Emerging Issues Analysis, 2009 Emerging Issues 4536 (November 2009)

Lingle and Kelo: The Accidental Tourist in Canada and NAFTA-Land,” in The Supreme Court and Takings: Four Essays 62-83 (Vermont Law School, [2006]).

​“Access to Justice: The Problem of Law Student Debt,” 30 Vermont Bar Jour., No. 1, p. 28-29 (2004)

​“Thoughts on Decanal Recidivism,” 33 U. Toledo L. Rev. 269 (2001)

​“The Silver Oar and More: Henry J. Bourguignon as Legal Historian,” 31 U. Toledo L. Rev. 185 (2000)

​Quebec, Canada, and the First Nations: The Problem of Secession,” 23 Vermont L. Rev. 709 (1999)

​“The Constitution and the Common Law: The Original Intent about the Original Intent,” 22 Suffolk Univ. L. Rev. 553 (1988)

​“Notes for a Comparative Study of the Origins of Federalism in the United States and Canada,” 15 Arizona Jour, Int’l and Comp. Law 93 (1998)

​“Inaugural Address: The Law as a Public Profession,” 21 Vermont L. Rev. 375 (1996)

​“Justice Godfrey and the Rules,” 47 Maine L. Rev. 305 (1995)

​“The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts and the Eastern Circuit, 1780-1820,” Supreme Judicial Court Historical Society (Mass.), 1993 Annual Report 55 (1994)

​Coauthor, with Hugh Calkins, Comment, “Good News and Bad News: A Three-Year Progress Report on Implementation of the Legal Needs Study,” 8 Maine Bar Jour. 196 (1993)

​“Vincent L. McKusick and the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure: A Thirty-five Year Perspective,” 43 Maine L. Rev. 389 (1991)

​“Pluralism and Uniformity in the Common Law Legal Tradition,” 37 Univ. of New Brunswick L. Jour. 76 (1988)

​“The Federal Rules of Evidence in the States: A Ten-Year Perspective,” 30 Villanova L. Rev. 1315 (1985)

​“Documents of the Colonial Conflict: Sources for the Legal History of the American Revolution,” 69 Law Library Jour. 277 (1976)

​“Possible Kingdoms: The New England Town from the Perspective of Legal History,” 15 Am. Jour. Legal History 318 (1971)

​“Federal Power as a Limit upon State Control of Marine Resources,” 4 Maine Law Affecting Marine Resources 843 (1970)

​Coauthor, with Hiller B. Zobel, “The Boston Massacre,” 55 Am. Bar Assn. Jour. 329 (1969)

​“1967 Amendments to the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure,” 20 Maine L. Rev. 49 (1968)

​“The Massachusetts Vice Admiralty Court and the Federal Admiralty Jurisdiction,” 6 Am. Jour. Legal Hist. 250, 347 (1962), and, with revisions, in G. Billias, ed., Law and Authority in Colonial America 32-73, Barre, Mass., 1965

​“Election Contests and the Electoral Vote,” 65 Dick L. Rev. 321 (1961).


​Edited, with Introduction, The Supreme Court and the Clean Water Act: Five Essays (Vermont Law School, Land Use Institute, 2007), and online in Vermont Journal of Environmental Law

Vermont by Design: Next Steps, report of the Land Use Institute’s February 2006 conference, with an implementation plan for the conference recommendations, published and distributed in August 2006.​
“American Federalism, the Separation of Powers, and American Environmental Law,” in Proceedings of the International Summer Forest Environmental Law School 3-24 (2000).​

​Coauthor, with others, Report of the Maine Commission on Legal Needs: An Action Plan for the 1990's, Augusta, 1990

​Coeditor, with Michael T. Hertz, Is the Common Law Dead?, proceedings of a conference jointly sponsored by the Faculty of Law, Dalhousie University, and the University of Maine School of Law, Halifax and Portland, 1977


​“Election 2000: The Disease and the Cure,” 27 Vermont Bar Jour., no. 2, p. 53-54 (2001), and 16 Loquitur , no. 2, p. 10-13 (2001)


Governance: panel moderator, Vermont Law and Graduate School Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship (September 2022).

“The Unites States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the Environment—Two-year Review,” Critical Assessments: panel presenter (with Hoi Kong), Vermont Law and Graduate School Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship (September 2022).

“After NAFTA: The U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement and Sustainability,” 11th Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship, Vermont Law School, (September 26, 2020).

Introductory Remarks, Economics for the Anthropocene Webinar on Ecological Law and Governance, co-hosted by Vermont Law School and McGill University Faculty of Law, February 26, 2019.

Testimony, “An Act Relating to Changes in Act 250,” Vermont House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish, and Wildlife, Montpelier, VT, February 19, 2019.

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

Presenter, “Renegotiating NAFTA: Threat or Opportunity for Sustainability”, 9th Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship, Vermont Law School, September 22, 2018.

Panel moderator, “From Environmental to Ecological Law,” the Law and Governance component of Economics for the Anthropocene (E4A), McGill Faculty of Law, Montreal, QC, October 17-18, 2017.

Lecture, “Electoral College Reform:  Now? Or Never?”, Community Partnership meeting, Brookfield, VT, September 12, 2017. 

Appeared before the Vermont Legislative Committee on Judicial Rules in Montpelier to present pending amendments to the Vermont Rules of Civil and Probate Procedure and Rules for Family Proceedings on November 28, 2016.

Participated by video link in a Montreal meeting of the E4A Law and Governance group with members of the McGill Faculty of Law on November 15, 2016.​

​Kinvin Wroth appeared before the Legislative Committee on Judicial Rules to make a presentation on pending amendments to the Vermont Rules for Family Proceedings, the Vermont Rules for Public Access to Court Records, the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Vermont Rules of Probate Procedure on December 2, 2014.

​Moderator, the 3rd Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship, Vermont Law School, October 11, 2013

​Presenter on recent amendments to the Vermont Rules of Civil and Appellate Procedure and Rules for Family Proceedings at a session of the Legislative Committee on Judicial Rules in Montpelier, VT, on August 15, 2013

​Organized, planned, and presented a brief paper entitled "Hold Back the Sea: The Common Law and the Constitution" at, the "Workshop on Water" conducted jointly by LUI with the McGill Faculty of Law at VLS on October 24, 2009

​Planned, moderated, and spoke at a panel on statewide planning at a conference to celebrate the 40th anniversary of ct 250 cosponsored by the Land Use Institute, the Vermont Attorney General's office, and the Vermont Bar Association and held in the House Chamber at the Vermont State House, Montpelier, on October 21, 2009

​Organized, prepared materials for, and moderated programs on "What's New with the Rules" at the September and March Vermont Bar Association meetings, September 2007-September 2009

​Presentation on "The Multinational Practice of Law: Its Impact on North American Legal Education," as part of a panel entitled "Faculties of Law under Pressure: Internationalization, Professional Constraints, and Globalization," at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers, Montreal, May 27, 2008

​Organized, moderated, and participated in two programs of the AALS Section on North American Cooperation, "Canada and Mexico: Their UN Diplomatic Agendas" and "North American Cross-Border Practice and the Law Schools" at the AALS Annual Meeting, January 5 and 6, 2008

​Co-moderated working group sessions bringing together utility regulators and executives and land use regulators and developers at VLS on October 23, and November 28, 2007, as part of a joint Land Use Institute-Institute for Energy and the Environment project, "Energy and Land Use: Merging the Regulatory Streams"

​Introduced program, panelists, and keynote speaker and participated in the final panel, "Where Do We Go from Here?", Northeast Conference on Flood Hazards, Liability and Opportunities, jointly sponsored by the Land Use Institute with the Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, and the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, at VLS, October 15, 2007

​Organized, prepared materials for, and moderated a program entitled "Ethics 2000 Comes to Vermont," at the Vermont Bar Association annual meeting on September 25, 2009-a review of the recent substantial amendments to the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct, for which I was Reporter.

Awards & Accomplishments

Awards, Honors or Grants

Elected Honary Director, Maine Justice Foundation (formerly the Maine Bar Foundation), in recognition of role as an incorporator of the foundation in 1983 and subsequent service as a board member and officer 

​Co-recipient, Littleton-Griswold Prize, American Historical Association, 1966, for Legal Papers of John Adams

​Recognized and honored with others at the January 2008 meeting of the AALS House of Representatives and Association luncheon for efforts leading to passage of College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which provides student loan relief for law students and others in public service employment

​Consultant to five of Maine Supreme Judicial Court's rules advisory committees, 1967–96

​Honored for contributions to legal scholarship, judicial system, and public service by American Judicature Society, Maine State Bar Association, Maine Bar Foundation, Maine Civil Liberties Union, and Maine Trial Judges Association


​Member, Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) Board of Directors, 2003–05

​Elected Member, American Law Institute, since 1989

​Member, Commission on the Future of Vermont's Justice System, 1998

​Chair, Alternative Dispute Resolution Task Force, Commission to Study the Future of Maine's Courts, 1991–93

​Member or Chair, numerous ABA, AALS, and New England Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation teams since 1983

​Chair, Legal History Section, Association of American Law Schools, 1980

​Member and Secretary, Vermont Supreme Court's Access to Justice Committee and Coalition, since 1999

​Fellow, American Bar Foundation, since 1994

​Chair, Independent Law Schools Committee, Legal Education Section, American Bar Association, 2001–04

​Officer, and President, 1988, Maine Bar Foundation, 1983–87

​Chair, AALS Canadian-American (now North American) Cooperation Section, 1983–84, 1991, 1994 and 2007

​Chair, President's Assembly, Association of Vermont Independent Colleges, 2002–04

​Chair, Steering Committee, Maine Commission on Legal Needs, 1989–90

​Chair, Government Relations Committee, Association of American Law Schools, 2001–03 and since 2007

​Member, board of directors, Pine Tree Legal Assistance, 1985–95

Service Work

​Reporter and Consultant, Vermont Supreme Court's rules advisory committees, since 1969; has drafted Vermont's rules of civil, criminal, and appellate procedure; rules of evidence; the code of judicial conduct; rules for environmental court proceedings,and various amendments to those rules and the rules of probate procedure and rules for family court proceedings, and the rules of professional conduct