Vermont Law School

Vermont Law School
Motto Law for the Community and the World
Established 1972
School type Private
Dean Marc Mihaly, President and Dean
Location South Royalton, Vermont, United States
43°49′18″N 72°31′16″W / 43.8218°N 72.5210°W / 43.8218; -72.5210Coordinates: 43°49′18″N 72°31′16″W / 43.8218°N 72.5210°W / 43.8218; -72.5210
Enrollment 601 (J.D.), 42 (MELP), 20 (LLM)
Faculty 44
Bar pass rate 85.2%

Vermont Law School (VLS) is a private, American Bar Associationaccredited law school located in South Royalton, Vermont. The school has one of the United States' leading programs in environmental law, and has maintained consistently high ranking in Environmental Law by U.S. News and World Report.[1] The Law School offers several degrees, including Juris Doctor (JD), Master of Laws (LLM) in Environmental Law, Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP), Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy (MFALP), Master of Energy Regulation and Law (MERL), and dual degrees with a diverse range of institutions. According to Vermont Law School's 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 54.5% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[2]


Vermont Law School's 13-acre (5.3 ha) campus is located in South Royalton in central Vermont. The campus is set just above the broad banks of the White River.

The oldest and centermost classroom building on the campus is the town's original schoolhouse, built in 1892. In 2005 the former town schoolhouse (the original Law School building in 1973) was renovated and renamed Debevoise Hall, after one of the first deans of the Law School, Thomas M. Debevoise. Practicing what it preaches, the Law School emphasized environmental concerns in the renovation, as well as historical preservation and design efficiency. Debevoise Hall was the only LEED Silver Certified renovation building project in the state of Vermont.[3] Debevoise Hall continues to serve as classroom space and now also houses administration offices, the Environmental Law Center, and the Yates Common Room.[4]

The James L. and Evelena S. Oakes Hall building was constructed and dedicated in 1998. Oakes Hall incorporates "green building" techniques along with the latest classroom technology.[5]

Jonathon Chase, the late former dean of the Law School, liked to joke that South Royalton was the only town in America "with a law school and no stop light." Vermont Law School holds the distinction of being the law school farthest from a traffic light, at 27 miles (43 km).[6] As of September 2016, South Royalton does not have a stoplight.


Vermont Law School was founded in 1972 by the late Dr. Anthony Doria and held its first classes in the summer of 1973 with 113 students in what was then known as the old South Royalton schoolhouse. In December 1973, VLS was certified by the Vermont State Board of Education as an institution of higher learning. Provisional ABA approval came in February 1975, and a full complement of classes were offered in the fall of 1975. The Law School's charter class graduated in spring 1976. Full approval by the ABA came in 1978, and the Law School was accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) in 1980. VLS became a member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) in 1981.[4]

Solomon Amendment

Vermont Law School is one of two law schools in the U.S. to refuse cooperation with the Solomon Amendment, a statute passed by Congress requiring colleges and universities to allow military recruitment on campus or risk losing federal funding.[7] The school is also part of FAIR Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, a consortium of 38 law schools and law faculties that challenged the Solomon Amendment in Rumsfeld v. FAIR.


As well as the Juris Doctor (JD), the Law School offers several degrees and joint-degrees, as well as degrees with other universities. Degrees include Master of Laws (LLM) in Environmental Law, Master of Laws (LLM) in American Legal Studies, Master of Laws (LLM) in Food and Agriculture Law, and Master of Laws (LLM) in Energy Law; Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP), Master of Energy Regulation and Law (MERL), and Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy (MFALP).

The Law School has partnered with different domestic and international universities to offer dual-degree programs. Domestic schools include: Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (JD/Master of Environmental Management), Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth (MELP/Master of Business Administration), the University of Vermont Rubenstein School of Natural Resources (MELP/Master of Science in Natural Resources), Thunderbird School of Global Management (JD/Masters of Business Administration), the University of South Carolina (MELP/JD), University of South Dakota (MELP/JD), and Northeastern University School of Law (MELP/JD). International universities include the University of Cambridge (JD/master of philosophy), Cergy-Pontoise University (France), and the University of Seville (Spain).

Julien and Virginia Cornell Library

The Julien and Virginia Cornell Library opened in 1991.[5] The library contains over 250,000 print volumes, including primary and secondary legal materials focusing on state, national, and international law.[8] The library also possesses a collection of microforms including congressional documents, state session laws, and briefs. The library's electronic collection includes access to LexisNexis and Westlaw and other online gateways and databases, as well as a large catalog of full-text electronic journals and books and databases offering primary legal materials.

Vermont Law School maintains "an extensive interdisciplinary environmental collection, including journals, monographs, electronic resources, and other material related to the study of the environment and environmental law and policy."[9]

Centers, institutes, clinics, and programs

Law Centers and Research Institutes

Clinics and Experiential Programs


According to Vermont Law School's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 54.5% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[2] Vermont Law School's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 29%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[12]

Tuition and financial aid

JD tuition for 2015-2016 is $46,848.[13] Eighty-eight percent of the entering JD Class of 2014 received a partial merit scholarship.[14]


Vermont Law School students publish two legal journals, the Vermont Law Review and the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, on a regular basis several times a year in print and online. In addition to regular publication, both journals sponsor annual symposia.

Notable faculty and administrators

Notable alumni

See also


  1. US News and World Report (2011). "Environmental Law – Best Law Schools – Graduate Schools – Education – US News and World Report". Retrieved 2011-09-23.
  2. 1 2 "Employment Statistics" (PDF).
  3. "U.S. Green Building Council". Retrieved 2015-06-07.
  4. 1 2 Vermont Law School (2009). "Vermont Law School – History and Mission". Retrieved 2009-04-27.
  5. 1 2 "Id.".
  6. Nemethy, Andrew (The New York Times) (1988-05-15). "Off the Beaten Track to Study Law – The New York Times". Retrieved 2009-04-27.
  7. Zezima, Katie (2008-06-29). "Law School Pays the Price in 'Don't Ask' Rule Protest, New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
  8. School, Vermont. "Vermont Law School". Vermont Law School. Retrieved 2015-06-07.
  9. Library Information (2008). "Information about Julien and Virginia Library: Collections". Archived from the original (webpage) on 2007-12-22. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
  10. "Dworkin's Leadership at VLS Wins National Recognition". The Herald of Randolph. 2008-12-04.
  11. The Associated Press (2010-04-05). "Vermont Law School gets $450K for smart grid study". BusinessWeek.
  12. "Unemployment Score".
  15. "Deborah \Arnie\ Arnesen". Harvard University Institute of Politics. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  16. "Sarah E. Buxton's BIOGRAPHY". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
  17. "Shumlin taps Judge Harold Eaton for high court". Washington Times. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  18. "vincent 'vince' illuzzi's biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  19. Elizabeth MacDonough – Vermont Law School. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  20. "charles 'charley' a. murphy's biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  21. The Federal Reporter, Volume 751. Eagan, Minnesota: West Publishing. 1985. p. 104.
  22. "Vermont Law School Begins its 5th Year". Bennington Banner. September 12, 1977. p. 3. Retrieved April 25, 2015. (subscription required (help)). The president of the board of trustees, Sterry R. Waterman, senior judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, was also awarded the juris doctor degree. Although he had studied at three law schools prior to his long legal career and has several honorary degrees, he had not previously received the law degree.
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