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VLGS In the News

Jessica Brown promoted to director of VLGS justice reform center
Jessica Brown, associate director of the Center for Justice Reform at Vermont Law and Graduate School, has been elevated to director of the center. In her new role, Brown will lead efforts to address deficiencies in our justice systems and train the next generation of justice leaders. She will also oversee the statewide, regional, national and international educational and training center for justice reform efforts, including restorative justice. "We are delighted to name Professor Jessica Brown as director of the Center for Justice Reform," VLGS President Rod Smolla said. "Her unique blend ...
August 22, 2023
Businesses and their landlords are dividing responsibility for rebuilding, case by case
John Mayfield, owner of Julio's Cantina in Montpelier, is busy coordinating flooring, electrical, plumbing and the reconstruction of his restaurant with his landlord, who also happens to be his insurance agent.  Mayfield had to strip everything to the subfloor because the July floods filled the first floor with 3 feet of water, and flooded the basement to the ceiling. As he spoke to VTDigger on the outdoor patio of the restaurant last week, sheetrock was being installed, electricians and plumbers were working on the utilities, and the bathroom areas were being reworked to make them more ...
August 20, 2023
Vermont Law and Graduate School offering legal help to flooded businesses
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - For businesses that suffered losses from the recent flooding, there is legal help available through the Vermont Law and Graduate School. Nicole Killoran is the director of the school's entrepreneurial legal laboratory. She told our Darren Perron about the legal assistance the school is offering ...
August 17, 2023
Is It Worth Waiting for Solar Panel Prices to Fall More?
Prices will probably keep dropping, but that's not the only thing to consider when timing your solar purchase. The price of solar panels is probably going to keep dropping over the next decade. Solar has already become half as expensive as it was ten years ago. New federal incentives that are giving certainty to the solar industry will likely push the price down even further.  So, if solar panels are getting more affordable, why buy them now? Wouldn't the rational consumer wait, say, another decade for an even lower price? Well, maybe not. Can solar panels save you money? Interested in ...
August 17, 2023
Farmers are under threat, but not from foreign land-buyers
by Fran Miller, Opinion Contributor - 08/06/23 8:00 AM ET Share Tweet ... More by Fran Miller, Opinion Contributor - 08/06/23 8:00 AM ET Share Tweet ... More Share ✕ Members of Congress, presidential candidates and state legislatures have been raising the alarm about Chinese and other foreign investment in American farmland. They claim it may destabilize our food system and undermine national security. This uproar is directing attention away from the real crisis of ownership facing American farmers — land grabs by corporations based inside the United States. Foreign investors, most ...
August 06, 2023
Why Your State Matters When Going Solar
Policies where you live could determine whether you can afford to install solar and get a financial return on the investment. If you had to guess which states are best for solar panels, you'd say the sunniest ones, right? Well, not quite. The likes of Georgia and Florida might have the most sunshine, but they don't always have the best solar policies: things like economic incentives or net metering. In fact, some of the states with the most friendly solar policies -- making solar cheaper and more accessible for homeowners -- are in the Northeast. "The solar industry has done amazing things ...
August 03, 2023
Vermont Law Receives $2.5M for Climate Change Studies
"We have continuously bent Mother Nature to our will, and we're experiencing the results," Arthur Berndt said in a statement. "We urgently need to change course, to support policies and principles that will promote a livable future."
August 01, 2023
Regulatory Questions Loom As Lab-Grown Meat Hits Market
By Laurie Beyranevand (July 31, 2023, 12:52 PM EDT) -- Earlier this summer, the U.S. became the second country in the world, after Singapore, to approve the sale of cell-cultured or lab-grown meat.[1]...
July 31, 2023
Maverick Lloyd Foundation gives $2.5 million to Vermont Law and Graduate School
The Sharon-based Maverick Lloyd Foundation has made a donation to Vermont Law and Graduate School that is among the biggest the school has ever received. Vermont Law and Graduate School in South Royalton in 2020. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger Announced in the wake of flooding not seen in Vermont since Tropical Storm Irene ... , the $2.5 million gift will go toward the newly dubbed Maverick Lloyd School for the Environment , formerly known as the Vermont School of the Environment. "Environmental law is really an important field for us, particularly in this time because it seems that we're going to have to go through the legal methods in order to move effective solutions to climate change ... to hire professors with expertise not in the current curriculum to diversify its offerings, she said. "It's really wonderful to see local investment and enthusiasm for the future of the
July 27, 2023
Environmental Advocacy Clinic secures legal victory for wild horses
Settlement stops Bureau of Land Management's unlawful roundup of Pokegama herd in southern Oregon  Vermont Business Magazine Earlier this month, Vermont Law and Graduate School's Environmental Advocacy Clinic settled its federal lawsuit on behalf of Wild Horse Fire Brigade (WHFB), achieving an agreement with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that will halt the agency's unlawful roundup of wild horses from private lands in and around the Pokegama Wild Horse Management Area.   Filed last October, the lawsuit called for an immediate halt to the roundup of wild horses from private property ...
July 27, 2023
True threats and real violence: SCOTUS strikes a First Amendment balance
by Jared Carter, Opinion Contributor - 07/22/23 11:00 AM ET Share Tweet ... More by Jared Carter, Opinion Contributor - 07/22/23 11:00 AM ET Share Tweet ... More Share ✕ AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite As the presidential primary season heats up, bringing with it the usual blitz of advertising and debates, we can expect to see attacks by political rivals reach a boiling point. To a certain ... . This protects important societal interests by helping to ensure civil servants can do their jobs without fear of actual violence. The result is a reasonable balance. In the midst of insult-slinging and seemingly endless chaos on the political stage, I, for one, breathe a sigh of relief. Jared Carter is a professor of First Amendment law at Vermont Law and Graduate School and former associate director of the Cornell Law School First Amendment Clinic.
July 22, 2023
The next pandemic could spring from the US meat supply, new report finds
... Chicken Council senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, said in an emailed statement. A pork industry group did not immediately return a request for comment. Workers on pig and poultry farms are particularly vulnerable, because of a lack of regulations protecting them, said Delcianna Winders, an associate professor of law and director of the Animal Law and Policy Institute at Vermont Law and Graduate School in Royalton. "There is virtually no regulation of on-farm raising of animals. There's limited regulation of the slaughterhouse but it is extremely inadequate and it's getting worse ...
July 22, 2023
Vermont and Its Schools Sued Over PCBs. Will They Win?
... materials such as caulk, paint and glue. The EPA banned PCBs in 1979. The legislature allocated around $29 million from the education fund to pay for PCB cleanup in schools this year — the lion's share for Burlington High School — but few believe that the sum will cover the total cost. Christophe Courchesne, who teaches at Vermont Law School and directs its Environmental Advocacy Clinic, said the state's legal approach makes sense. "When you've put a toxic chemical like this into the world in the quantities and various ways that [Monsanto] did, the system will respond ...
July 19, 2023
‘Tipping point’: Asbestos, opioid lawyers enter climate fray
These lawyers have won big against asbestos and opioid manufacturers. Now, they're coming for oil and gas companies. In the past nine months, four law firms that specialize in corporate wrongdoing have filed lawsuits against oil and gas majors on behalf of local governments seeking compensation for the ravages of climate change. The filings signal that climate liability litigation — once mostly the domain of environmental firms and government attorneys — is drawing attention and resources from new corners of the legal industry. "Climate litigation is increasingly seen as a commercially ...
July 12, 2023
The Case That Could Be Fox’s Next Dominion
Of all the distortions and paranoia that Tucker Carlson promoted on his since-canceled Fox News program, one looms large: a conspiracy theory that an Arizona man working as a covert government agent incited the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol to sabotage and discredit former President Donald Trump and his political movement. What's known about the man — a two-time Trump voter named Ray Epps — is that he took part in demonstrations in Washington that day and the night before. He was captured on camera urging a crowd to march with him and enter the Capitol. But at other points, he pleads ...
July 10, 2023
How GOP lawmakers seek to strip out affirmative action at military academies
... , collaborative, and effective." The retired leaders also emphasized that the group of officers across the military services is far less racially diverse than the pool of enlisted troops. Should that gap grow, it could harm internal morale and engagement with allies and partners, they stated. Rod Smolla, the president of Vermont Law and Graduate School, said military leaders have had major sway in keeping affirmative action alive within the military in the past. He pointed to the Supreme Court case upholding affirmative action at the University of Michigan 20 years ago in 2003, ...
July 02, 2023
What will SCOTUS affirmative action ruling mean for local college admissions?
... In a 6-3 decision, the court struck down admissions plans at Harvard and the University of North Carolina, the nation's oldest private and public colleges, respectively. "This is a decision that moves us much more to a colorblind approach to constitutional law, but not entirely colorblind," said Rod Smolla, the president of Vermont Law and Graduate School. He says there's always a debate about how America should think about equality -- whether the rules of the game should be the same for everyone or whether institutions should mirror the diversity in society. "You can judge the ...
June 29, 2023
New Vermont Law School location includes legal aid clinic to help Burlington community
The Vermont Law and Graduate School has opened a new location in Burlington. As our Kiana Burks reports, it will include a legal aid clinic where students can assist members of the community.
June 22, 2023
Small Firms, Small Towns: Bringing Legal Services To Rural Communities
... they'd have in an attorney's office. Partner With a Bar Association or Nonprofit For older attorneys currently operating a small firm in a rural community, connecting with the state bar association could provide opportunities to mentor young attorneys, according to Nicole Killoran, a professor at Vermont Law School whose work emphasizes rural access to justice and preparing up-and-coming attorneys for successful careers. "There is a lot of interest in the graying bar to mentor the younger bar," Killoran says, adding that these young mentees could even be positioned to take over an established practice when ... advertising their own services for those who can pay. While several of the programs Killoran is involved with do provide legal advice, she says basic legal education is also a huge part of the work she undertakes in relation to increasing rural access to legal services.
June 20, 2023
Advocates object to White Mountain National Forest plan to manage land near Gorham
... is also planning to reconstruct or build about 13 miles of road in the area, build 4 miles of mountain bike trails, designate 300 acres as a backcountry ski zone and develop up to 15% of that as skiing terrain, and improve a short trail to a swimming site. But a recent objection, filed by the Vermont Law and Graduate School's Environmental Advocacy Clinic on behalf of the advocacy organization Standing Trees, says the Forest Service hasn't fully considered the environmental impacts of logging — including its potential to threaten climate resilience and wildlife habitat. The objection contends ...
June 15, 2023
Is CAFO Animal Waste the Dirty Secret of Organic Foods?
STORY AT-A-GLANCE Chicken feces, or chicken litter, and other animal waste from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) is commonly used as fertilizer, including for organic crops CAFO waste used as fertilizer is contaminated with pathogens, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, antibiotics, antibiotic-resistant genes, growth hormones, heavy metals and pesticides In the U.S., feces from broiler chickens were contaminated with antibiotic-resistant E. coli, with genes resistant to more than seven antibiotics, including amoxicillin, ceftiofur, tetracycline and sulfonamide A ...
June 14, 2023
Analysis: US Supreme Court rulings preview
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The U.S. Supreme Court's conservative majority last year made headlines with controversial rulings on abortion, guns, and religion. The court faces another set of important cases this term, including ones on affirmative action, student loans, and civil rights for gay people. Darren Perron spoke with Jared Carter, a professor at Vermont Law School about some of the rulings that are expected soon. Related Story: Analysis: Donald Trump's mounting legal jeopardy
June 14, 2023