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News Release

Longtime VLGS Professor Gets Lifetime Achievement Award

Monday, September 26, 2022


Pat Parenteau Honored by the American Bar Association

Pat Parenteau, emeritus professor at Vermont Law and Graduate School, received the 2022 American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Lifetime Achievement Award last weekend during the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources fall conference event.

During the event, he told the audience, “We’re all climate lawyers now,” advising that now is the time — the last best chance — to avoid a climate catastrophe.

Parenteau added that lawyers have an ethical responsibility to act as a force for positive and rapid change regardless of whether they work in private practice, government, or nonprofit sectors.

Parenteau, who retired this year after more than 30 years at Vermont Law and Graduate School, is an expert in environmental law, particularly around climate change, water pollution, and wildlife protection. He has served as a resource for major news outlets, from the New York Times to National Public Radio and Bloomberg.

A professor at VLGS since 1993, Parenteau served as director of the Environmental Law Center, founded the school’s Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic and served as senior counsel at the Environmental Advocacy Clinic.

In May 2022 he received an honorary degree from the school to which he dedicated decades.

Off campus, Parenteau has worked as an advocate, as vice president for conservation at the National Wildlife Federation, of counsel to the Perkins Coie law firm, special counsel to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, commissioner of the Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation, and regional counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In 2018, Parenteau taught in the Fulbright Scholar program in Cork, Ireland.

“Pat is a VLGS legend and we are so happy to see him honored in this way,” Jennifer Rushlow, dean of the Vermont School for the Environment at VLGS, said. “He is an inspiration to us all — past, present and future environmental advocates, lawyers or otherwise, and we thank him for his lifetime of amazing work.”


About Vermont Law and Graduate School: Vermont Law and Graduate School, a private, independent institution, is home to the nation’s premier environmental law program. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, South Royalton Legal Clinic, Environmental Advocacy Clinic, Energy Clinic, Food and Agriculture Clinic, Environmental Justice Clinic, and Center for Justice Reform. For more information, visit and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.