Today, the Board of Trustees of Vermont Law School (VLS) named Beth McCormack interim president and dean. Interim Dean McCormack is the first woman to hold the position in VLS’s history and succeeds Dean Thomas McHenry, who announced his intention to step down last November. McHenry assumes the title of President and Dean Emeritus.
“I am very excited to announce that the Vermont Law School Board of Trustees unanimously elected Beth as the school's next interim president and dean,” said Glenn Berger, chair of the board. “Interim Dean McCormack is a fantastic law professor and a well-regarded leader in the legal and law school communities. With her background and substantial knowledge about the administration of the school, Beth is ready to immediately lead VLS.”
Interim Dean McCormack has been on the faculty at VLS since 2011, and has served as the vice dean for students since 2017. The faculty advisor to the Moot Court Advisory Board and coach of VLS’s National Moot Court team, McCormack has taught Civil Procedure I and II, Appellate Advocacy, Legal Writing II, Legal Writing I, Legal Methods and Advanced Appellate Advocacy, among others. Additional administrative roles held at VLS include serving as the deputy vice dean for academic affairs (2016-2017), assistant director of the legal writing program (2013-2016), and assistant director of the academic success program (2012-2013).
"Working at Vermont Law School these past ten years has been the greatest joy of my professional life,” said Interim Dean McCormack. “I love working with our students and watching what our graduates achieve in their communities, the world, and for the environment. One of the things I have always loved most about our school is the resilience and innovation of our students, faculty and staff. Even as the pandemic has provided numerous challenges, our work has carried on and we’ve accomplished quite a bit over the past year. I am honored to lead the school as interim president and dean and to be the first of many women to do so."
Prior to joining the faculty at Vermont Law School, Interim Dean McCormack practiced in the litigation section of the Boston law firm Mintz Levin. She has extensive experience in commercial litigation with a focus in construction law. Her practice included all aspects of state and federal litigation as well as alternative dispute resolution. From 2003 to 2011, she was an adjunct professor at Boston University School of Law, where she taught Legal Research and Writing to first-year law students. In 2007, McCormack served as a special assistant district attorney at the Middlesex District Attorney's Office for a six-month term, where she took more than 20 criminal cases to trial. She is admitted to practice in Massachusetts, before the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
She received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Chicago, and her juris doctor, cum laude, from Boston University School of Law.
Interim Dean McCormack’s experience in working within the administrative and instructional aspects of VLS will be a valuable asset, as the school looks to continue to strengthen its programs and financial standing.
“Vermont Law School is going through a strategic planning exercise that will better prepare and position the law school for the future. Beth’s insight and leadership through this time will be absolutely critical to the process,” added Chair Berger.
Interim Dean McCormack assumed the position immediately upon today’s vote by the board. To ensure a smooth transition for the school, President and Dean Emeritus McHenry will work with her as a consultant through June. A national search for a permanent president and dean is expected to begin this summer.
During President and Dean Emeritus McHenry’s tenure he successfully led a financial right sizing of the school and worked to expand programmatic initiatives, including more resources through grants, to the school’s legal clinics and centers.