Search the VLS website

Make a Gift
Media Outreach CenterVLS Press Kit

VLS Press Kit

Vermont Law School – OFFICIAL FACT SHEET

An Overview

  • one of a handful of independent, private law schools in the U.S. and the only law school in Vermont
  • Mission statement: “To educate students in a diverse community that fosters personal growth and that enables them to attain outstanding professional skills and high ethical values with which to serve as lawyers and environmental and other professionals in an increasingly technological and interdependent global society.” Motto: “Lex pro urbe et orbe” (Law for the community and the world).
  • has placed first ten times since the U.S. News & World Report environmental specialty rankings began in 1991 and has never placed lower than second
  • ranked as a leading clinical law program by U.S. News & World Report
  • named one of the best law schools for women by The National Jurist
  • fully accredited: American Bar Association, Association of American Law Schools, New England Assn. of Schools and Colleges
  • located in the village of South Royalton on the banks of the White River, in a National Register Historic District
  • comprised of 19 buildings on a 13-acre campus; James L. and Evelena S. Oakes Hall, $3.25-million classroom building, opened in 1998
  • established in 1972; the first class enrolled in 1973 and graduated in 1976

Student Body (2005-06)

·        VLS student team wins ABA National Negotiation Competition

·        635 full-time students, including 567 J.D. students (of which 189 are also pursuing the M.S.E.L. degree as joint-degree students), 55 M.S.E.L. students, and 13 LL.M. students

·        46 states and the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Japan, Russia, and Spain

·        47% men, 53% women, 14.8% people of color

·        Average age:  28

Faculty and Staff (2005-06)

  • 41 regular faculty members, 5 visiting faculty members, and 63 adjunct faculty; 72 full-time and 10 part-time administrative staff
  • 45% of the regular faculty members are women
  • 19 faculty members have one or more advanced degrees, in addition to a J.D.
  • Faculty members have published 33 books and have recently had articles published by such journals as the Chicago Journal of International Law, Criminal Law Bulletin, Duke Journal on Gender, Policy & Law, Environmental Forum, European Intellectual Property Review, European Review of Native American Studies, Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Harvard Environmental Law Journal, Hastings Women’s Law Journal, International Law, Jurimetrics, Notre Dame Law Review, Syracuse Law Review, and Tax Law, among others.


  • traditional core legal curriculum and experiential programs with a specialty in environmental law
  • four programs are offered: Juris Doctor (J.D.), Master of Studies in Environmental Law (M.S.E.L.), Joint J.D. and M.S.E.L., and Master of Laws in Environmental Law (LL.M.)
  • curriculum prepares graduates to practice law in all 50 states
  • offers the largest number of environmental law courses in the country
  • General Practice Program integrates substantive law and professional skills by simulating a general practice law firm; professors, in the role of senior partners, instruct and supervise student "associates;" offers off-campus experience in the fourth semester
  • three-semester Legal Writing Program culminates in an Appellate Advocacy course featuring the preparation of briefs for cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court
  • leading experts explore major environmental issues during interdisciplinary Summer Session for lawyers and non-lawyers
  • three courses at Thayer School of Engineering and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth are open to VLS students, and seven courses at VLS are open to students in the Master of Environmental Engineering program at Thayer and the M.B.A. program at Tuck
  • joint degree program with The Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies allows individuals to earn both a master’s degree from Yale and a J.D. law degree from VLS
  • dual M.B.A./M.S.E.L. degree program with the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
  • special program allows individuals to earn both a bachelor's degree from the University of Vermont and a J.D. law degree from VLS in six years instead of the usual seven; dual M.S./M.S.E.L. degree program with the University of Vermont School of Natural Resources
  • dual J.D./M.S.E.L. programs with the University of South Dakota and the University of South Carolina law schools
  • exchange programs with five U.S. law schools; international partners include McGill University (Montreal), the University of Paris 13, the University of Cergy-Pontoise (France), Petrozavodsk State University Law Faculty (Russia), the University of Seville, the University of Trento (Italy), and Sun Yat-Sen University School of Law (China)
  • Vermont Law School and the University of Cergy-Pontoise (France) offer a dual J.D./MII-DJCE degree program in the law of business organizations to students from both institutions.

Experiential Programs

  • more than half of our J.D. students enroll in a practicum-based learning experience; these programs also attract visiting students
  • South Royalton Legal Clinic provides legal services for lower-income Vermonters in a broad array of civil cases and has won precedent-setting cases before the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont and the Vermont Supreme Court.  In the last decade the clinic has represented indigent clients in 771 cases.
  • off-campus experiential programs: Environmental Semester in Washington, DC, Semester in Practice, Legislation Clinic, J.D. and M.S.E.L. Internships
  • General Practice Program simulates the circumstances encountered in a general practice
  • Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic established in 2002.  This clinic brings major case litigation on important environmental matters.

Graduates (Class of 2004)

  • 60.1% of J.D. graduates passed a bar exam on the first attempt; 91.9% were employed or in a degree program within six months
  • 40.4% of J.D. graduates are in private practice; 17.6% work in business and industry; 13.9% hold judicial clerkships; 12.5% work in public interest law; 9.5% work in government; 2.9% work in academia; 2.2% work in the military
  • 22.7% of the graduating class found legal and professional employment in Vermont

Environmental Law Center

  • established in 1978 to educate for environmental stewardship
  • administers the Master of Studies in Environmental Law and LL.M. in Environmental Law degree programs
  • Summer Session offers 30 cutting-edge courses in environmental law, policy, science, ethics, and alternative dispute resolution, taught by experts in the field
  • provides externships in Washington, D.C., and internships throughout the U.S. and select foreign countries
  • conducts policy research, sponsors conferences, publishes scholarly papers, and awards fellowships
  • Vermont Institute for Energy and the Environment opening in 2005
  • Land Use Institute opening in 2005
  • Celebrated 25 years at Vermont Law School in 2004-05


  • Julien and Virginia Cornell Library, opened 1991, features a collection of about 2,300 periodical and serial titles, and 230,000 volumes
  • information professionals with J.D. and M.L.S. degrees, who are experts in teaching, providing reference services, and selecting print and digital legal resources
  • primary sources for research in the law of all 50 states and federal law, and a leading collection in environmental law
  • a research facility for practicing lawyers in Vermont and New Hampshire
  • a fully automated library system featuring JULIEN, the online library catalog; access to other collections through national interlibrary loan systems
  • access to the Internet, Westlaw, LexisNexis, and numerous other digital resources through library computing lab, the campus network, and wireless communications


  • fully integrated, campus-wide computing network with fiber optic backbone
  • PC computing environment in the student labs; Internet connection with interactive Web site
  • video conferencing facilities support distance learning programs with other law schools

Student Life

  • more than 40 campus groups including a Habitat for Humanity chapter and several diversity organizations
  • students provide assistance with income tax preparation, serve as role models for local youth through the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program, act as court- appointed guardians for children and mentally incompetent adults, publish summaries of Vermont court decisions, conduct research for Vermont attorneys, and support interns working on public interest projects
  • students participate in national trial advocacy, environmental, and international moot court competitions; intramural Debevoise competition finalists argue before the Vermont Supreme Court
  • a select group of VLS students performs at least 200 hours of community service each for an agency working on legal issues as participants in the New Hampshire/Vermont Schweitzer Fellows Program, in partnership with University of Vermont and Dartmouth College

Financial Aid (2004-05)

·        90% of students receive some form of financial assistance; 63% of students receive campus-based aid and 46% received Vermont Law School grants and scholarships

·        First Nations Environmental Law Fellowship: up to one year’s tuition and assistance with living expenses to two Native Americans in the M.S.E.L. program who have demonstrated a commitment to helping tribes manage their environmental programs

·        Vermont Law School Loan Repayment Assistance Program assists graduates entering low-paying, public interest positions to repay educational debts; in 2004, awards of $1,000 to $6,000 were made to 43 applicants, totaling $143,000.


  • J. Scott Cameron of Montpelier has been chair of the board of trustees since 2001
  • Geoffrey B. Shields became president and dean in 2004

Economic Impact (2003)

  • VLS contributes more than $23 million to the region’s economy annually
  • does not receive any state funding


  • the Vermont Supreme Court visits campus one day each year to hear arguments
  • VLS has an international partnership with Petrozavodsk State University in the Republic of Karelia, Russia; since 1993, VLS has provided advice and help in development of PSU’s curriculum, legal clinic, library, and technology
  • the Vermont Law Review is published four times a year and organizes an annual symposium
  • The Vermont Journal of Environmental Law is an online journal, which organizes an annual spring symposium

Last Updated: Jun 8, 2007

Campus Directory | Campus E-mail | CampusWeb | Employment Opportunities | Give a Gift | Maps, Directions & Lodging
Academic Program & Calendar | Admissions & Financial Aid | Alumni Relations & Development | Career Services
Clinics/Experiential Learning | Environmental Law Center | Faculty | Julien & Virginia Cornell Library
Life at Vermont Law School | Media Outreach Center | Trees of the VLS Campus | VLS Administration