Distinguished Scholars

Vermont Law School invites leaders in the fields of environmental, energy, agriculture, and international environmental law to serve as Distinguished Summer Scholars in residency during the VLS Summer Session. Each Distinguished Summer Scholar delivers a public lecture, participates in informal social events on campus, and is available to meet with students individually. These distinguished visitors are a significant intellectual resource for our summer students and also offer valuable networking opportunities.



Environmental Law Scholar

Shi-Ling Hsu, D’Alemberte Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Environmental Programs, Florida State University College of Law

Professor Shi-Ling Hsu is an expert in the areas of environmental and natural resource law, climate change, law and economics, and property. He has published in a wide variety of legal journals and recently published a book, The Case for a Carbon Tax: Getting Past our Hang-ups to Effective Climate Policy (Island Press 2011).

Prior to entering academia, Hsu was a senior attorney and economist for the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C. He also practiced law in California, both as a deputy city attorney for the City and County of San Francisco and as an associate attorney with the firm of Fenwick & West in Palo Alto. He teaches Property and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Climate Change. Hsu received his BS from Columbia University; JD from Columbia Law School; and both MS and PhD from the University of California, Davis.

Energy Law Scholar

Natacha Teresa Mesa Tejeda, Professor of Commercial Law, Faculty of Law, University of Havana, Cuba

Professor Mesa Tejeda is an expert in the area of commercial law. She has published articles in a wide variety of legal journals and recently edited and published a book, Foreign Investment. A Vision from the Law (2016).

In addition to teaching, she works as an External Consultant of the International Law Firm of Havana, with a concentration in ​​corporate law. She currently provides assistance to a Cuban company with foreign capital and whose corporate purpose is the production and commercialization of electric power generated through solar panels.


Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Scholar

Andrea Freeman, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law

Andrea Freeman’s scholarship interrogates the intersection of critical race and class theory with issues of food policy, health, gender, and consumer credit. Many of her articles explore her pioneering theory of food oppression, which examines how facially neutral food-related law, policy, and government action disproportionately harm marginalized communities. She also studies the effects of racism by credit card companies against consumers. Freeman teaches Constitutional Law, Federal Courts, and Race and Law at the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law. In Spring 2016, she taught Federal Courts at the UC Berkeley School of Law. She is a member of the ACLU of Hawaii Litigation Committee, and received the Community Faculty of the Year award in 2015.

After graduating from the UC Berkeley School of Law in 2006, she clerked for Judge Jon O. Newman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and former chief Judge José A. Fusté of the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. Before law school, she worked in Toronto as a counselor for women and children who experienced domestic violence and in New York as a production manager in the independent film industry. She has an honors degree in History from the University of Toronto.


International Environmental Law Scholar

Tseming Yang, Professor of Law, Santa Clara University Law School

Photo credit: Joanne H Lee/Santa Clara University

Tseming Yang is Professor of Law and a Bannan Institute Scholar at Santa Clara University, where he teaches environmental law and other related courses.  Over the past two decades, his research and writing has revolved around various areas of U.S., international, and comparative environmental law and governance, including environmental justice, climate change and other international environmental treaties, and China’s environmental law and governance system.  His current research interest focuses on the varying approaches to environmental governance and sustainability across the world.

Much of Professor Yang’s research and teaching has been informed and influenced by his public service and policy advocacy work.  In addition to starting his environmental law career as an attorney in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Professor Yang also served as Deputy General Counsel of the U.S. EPA under President Obama.  In that latter role, Professor Yang led the EPA’s international environmental law work and environmental law capacity-building cooperation with China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection.  From 2007 to 2010, as a member of the Vermont Law School faculty, he also led the establishment of the US-China Partnership for Environmental Law, a U.S. AID and State Department-funded initiative to strengthen China’s institutional capacity in environmental law and governance.  

In 2009, Professor Yang was honored by the American Bar Association as a Distinguished Environmental Advocate.  He serves on the Board of Trustees of Earthjustice and blogs on contemporary developments in environmental law and policy at citizenyang.com. He received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Harvard University and his JD degree from the University of California at Berkeley.