VLS Launches Legal Lab to Support Vermont's Green Entrepreneurs

In an effort to support the burgeoning local green economy, Vermont Law School is announcing the launch of Vermont Law School Entrepreneurship and Legal Lab, or “VSELL.” This novel, new collaboration between Vermont attorneys, business leaders, and government officials will provide free or low-cost legal assistance to entrepreneurs who are seeking to launch new green and sustainable businesses. The VSELL program will also train law students interested in learning how to practice business law, while supporting a broader state effort to encourage more business startups.

“We want to build on Vermont’s strong reputation for innovation by providing legal support to our talented entrepreneurs when they most need the help, but can least afford it,” said Trey Martin, currently Of Counsel to Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC and a Vermont Law School graduate. Martin was recently named as Attorney Advisor to VSELL and will play a lead role in running the program. “I am excited by the chance to help grow Vermont businesses which contribute to the triple bottom line of social, environmental and financial benefits for our state,” said Martin.

VSELL received a generous grant from the City of Burlington Mayor’s Prize awarded last December, with funds from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Along with donations from other foundations, alumni and local business leaders, these funds have allowed Vermont Law School to initiate a program that will focus initially on helping business startups in Burlington. Over time, VSELL hopes to expand its service statewide.

Burlington Mayor Weinberger applauded the launch. “For Burlington to continue to thrive and enjoy job growth, we need entrepreneurs starting and growing businesses here,” said Weinberger. “I am pleased to partner with Vermont Law School and other entrepreneur support organizations to make that possible.”

Vermont Law School Dean and President Tom McHenry has made it a priority for the law school to give back to Vermont. “I am excited that our students and faculty will be able to partner with Vermont lawyers, businesses and government leaders to help start businesses and grow jobs,” said President McHenry. “I could not be more grateful to Burlington Mayor Weinberger for the Mayor’s Prize funding which has served as the seed money to help us launch VSELL.”