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News Release

Vermont Law and Graduate School Alum Receives Prestigious Public Interest Law Award

Wednesday, March 27, 2024


Travis Stills, Class of ‘96, Honored for Dedication to Environmental Law

Vermont Law and Graduate School alum, who now works to advocate for environmental protection and justice out west, has been awarded the Kerry Rydberg-Jack Tuholske Award for Excellence in Public Interest Environmental Lawyering.

Now in its 35th year, the award is presented annually to a lawyer exemplifying public interest in environmental advocacy. This year’s award recipient is Travis Stills. Stills received the award at the 42nd Public Interest Environmental Law Conference earlier this month in Eugene, Oregon.

Stills, who graduated in 1996, found in Vermont Law and Graduate School what he referred to as a liberal arts legal education, which suited his academic interests and his “fire in the belly passions.” VLGS, he said, teaches lawyers how to be lawyers right out the door.

Today Stills practices energy and environmental law in Durango, Colorado, and he represents nonprofit organizations and other groups in challenges to polluting projects and extractive land management plans. He is still close with a number of his mentors and peers, a reflection of the community focus of the school.

“This award is so richly deserved. Travis is a superb public interest lawyer and colleague, and he has been a tremendous resource and an inspiration to the EAC and its students in recent years. We are excited to continue our partnership with him in the years to come,” Christophe Courchesne, director of VLGS’s Environmental Advocacy Clinic (EAC) and law professor, said.

Presented each year to a lawyer who exemplifies the best in public interest environmental advocacy, the award is named for the late Kerry Rydberg, who dedicated himself to fighting on behalf of grassroots environmental groups in the late 1980s before being killed in a car accident, cutting short an already strong legacy.

The award also bears the name of Jack Tuholske, former VLGS faculty who was honored in 2010. A leading public interest environmental lawyer, Tuholske inspired an entire generation of environmental lawyers and his brilliance in the courtroom left a legacy of protection for the wildlands he loved. Tuholske died in 2020.


About Vermont Law and Graduate School: Vermont Law and Graduate School, a private, independent institution, is home to a law school that offers ABA-accredited residential and online hybrid JD programs and a graduate school that offers master’s degrees and certificates in multiple disciplines, including programs offered by the Maverick Lloyd School for the Environment, the Center for Justice Reform and other graduate-level programs emphasizing the intersection of environmental justice, social justice and public policy. Both the law and graduate schools strongly feature experiential clinical and field work learning. For more information, visit, Facebook