Longtime leader at Vermont Law and Graduate School, Beth McCormack, has been named dean of the institution’s law school.
With “overwhelming support” from the hiring committee, McCormack was chosen because of her strong showing of student-centered leadership at VLGS over the last two years, her dedication to strengthening the JD program and her love of the school.
McCormack first joined the school in 2011 as an assistant professor of law. She has since served as a professor of law, assistant director of academic success, assistant director of the legal writing program, deputy vice dean for academic affairs and vice dean for students.
“I love this school — its values, its traditions, and its people,” McCormack said. “I am proud of our renowned expertise in environmental law and policy, our leadership in restorative justice and justice reform and our dedication to experiential learning. Above all, I am inspired by our students and alumni and what they do in their communities and the world. Working here has been the greatest joy of my professional career and I am honored to continue to lead the school as dean.”
In January 2021, McCormack became the first woman in the school’s history to serve as interim president and dean, then, in July 2022, she was appointed to the interim role of her now permanent position.
“I am very pleased and excited that the VLGS board appointed Beth McCormack as the dean of the Vermont Law School,” VLGS’ board chair, Glenn Berger, said. “Dean McCormack has a proven track record as an excellent administrator, terrific teacher and a caring mentor to students. The board and I look forward to working with Dean McCormack.”
McCormack played a vital role in helping VLGS navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. She also helped expand the school’s presence by establishing a new Burlington location and launching an online Hybrid JD program. She led an inclusive strategic planning process, which resulted in the development of Vermont Law and Graduate School. During this time she has remained a committed and devoted teacher, helping to train the next generation of advocates and leaders. She led the school when it received a $6.5 million donation — the largest in the school’s history. Her guidance has also been integral in expanding and elevating VLGS’ master’s programming.
“Dean Beth McCormack is an outstanding legal educator and inspirational leader, embodying the highest traditions of the legal profession," VLGS President Rod Smolla said. “She has already demonstrated extraordinary skill in leading the school in the early stages of the implementation of the school’s strategic plan and will continue to lead the school as it moves forward with its unique and admirable mission.”
She has received a number of accolades for her work, including the Phenomenal Faculty Woman of the Year Award multiple times from the Women’s Law Group, the Faculty of the Year Award from the Black Law Students’ Association, and the Vermont Law School Bar Association Faculty Service Award. Before joining the higher ed community, McCormack practiced with the Boston law firm Mintz Levin.
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 Center for Justice Reform, Energy Clinic, Environmental Advocacy Clinic, Environmental Justice Clinic, Environmental Law Center, Farmed Animal Advocacy Clinic, Food and Agriculture Clinic and South Royalton Legal Clinic. For more information, visit www.vermontlaw.edu and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.