Vermont Law School

The information on this page was provided by the law school.

Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs


Introduction

Vermont Law School (VLS) is a private, independent, law and graduate institution. VLS operates from the belief that lawyers and legal scholars should advocate for the common good and help protect the natural world. The Juris Doctor (JD) program emphasizes public service, and the master’s and LLM programs allow you to focus on a variety of environmental and criminal justice reform issues. The school’s legal scholars, practitioners, and staff prepare students to impact fields affecting the public interest, public policy, and social justice. Graduates work in a variety of fields, including nonprofit organizations, private firms, government agencies, corporations, and educational institutions.

As an international leader in environmental law, VLS is active in broadening the array of social justice, energy policy, and climate crisis issues to be addressed by legal scholarship and legal education. The school features distinctive programs in international law and dual JD/master’s degree programs in business administration, environmental management, environmental policy, philosophy, and other fields.

Vermont Law School works with advocacy organizations, domestic and international governments, and other educational institutions that share its commitment to make a difference in their communities and countries.

Faculty

The stimulating community at Vermont Law School has attracted scholars and practitioners of national and international renown. VLS faculty strike a balance between scholarship and application, between rigorous research and a realistic approach to problem-solving. They understand the nuanced analytical and political abilities needed in advocacy work, while also recognizing the portfolio of core skills graduates will need in their first jobs and throughout their legal careers.

As legal experts, VLS faculty are frequently sought out by national and international law firms, educational institutions, government agencies, and advocacy organizations. VLS faculty members regularly work on important cases in environmental law, international and comparative law, human rights, national security law, business law, and constitutional law, providing frequent opportunities for students to engage in related independent study and research projects. Because of the school’s size and focus on teaching, close relationships between students and faculty tend to last a lifetime.

Curriculum and Experiential Programs

The fundamentals of law are rigorously addressed in the required general curriculum, in addition to which VLS students can customize their educations to build skill sets in practice areas on the leading edge of the law and social change.

VLS students are able to take advantage of many clinics and experiential programs that provide hands-on training and involve students in real cases and legal issues. These include

  • the Semester in Practice program, a field-based external clinic where students apprentice (for credit) with legal professionals in a range of fields, including law firms, government, nonprofits, nongovernmental organizations, and corporations.
  • the South Royalton Legal Clinic, which serves low-income area residents who need assistance in matters involving family law, housing, welfare and unemployment, health care, immigration, Social Security, children’s rights, veterans’ issues, consumer protection, bankruptcy, contracts, wills, and civil rights. Guided by experienced attorneys, students represent clients in state court, federal court, and administrative hearings.
  • the Center for Justice Reform, which is a statewide, regional, national, and international educational and training location for justice reform efforts, including restorative justice.
  • the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, where qualified students work alongside legal experts to advance environmental protection goals while developing their research, advocacy, and litigation skills.
  • the Legislative Clinic, which takes advantage of VLS’s proximity to the state capital through internships with the Vermont General Assembly.
  • judicial externships, which allow students to apprentice (for credit) in judicial chambers with an experienced judge and judicial law clerk.
  • the Center for Applied Human Rights, which provides research and advocacy opportunities in human rights law and policy on an international scale.
  • the General Practice Program, which simulates a professional law firm with professors as partners overseeing student associates who are expected to perform a range of legal activities and handle client cases. The program received the 2007 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award from the American Bar Association.

Joint- and Dual-Degrees and Specialized Program Offerings

In addition to the general JD program, VLS offers

  • three unique one-year master’s degree programs in Environmental Law and Policy, Energy Regulation and Law, and Food and Agriculture Law and Policy.
  • a Master of Arts in Restorative Justice for students who want to address deficiencies in our justice system.
  • specialized certificate programs in Climate Law, Criminal Law, Dispute Resolution, Energy Law, Food and Agriculture Law, General Practice, Land Use, Water Law, and Business Law.
  • dual JD/master’s degree programs in business administration, environmental management, environmental policy, philosophy, and other fields through partnerships with Yale, Dartmouth, Northeastern, Cambridge, Cergy-Pontoise, University of South Carolina, University of South Dakota, Elon, Quinnipiac, and the University of Vermont.
  • international semester-exchange programs with University of Cergy-Pontoise (France), Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (France), McGill University (Canada), and University of Trento (Italy).
  • the largest and most extensive selection of environmental law courses in the country, taught by some of the top scholars in the field.
  • extensive summer programs that attract legal, energy, industry, and environmental experts from around the country and the world who teach courses and lead seminars on a range of pressing topics.

Student Community

VLS students come from every state and several countries. In a typical year, the entering class will represent more than 35 states and at least 100 undergraduate institutions. While some students come to VLS soon after graduating from college, others have spent years in a wide variety of professions, including engineering, teaching, lobbying, corporate management, and nonprofit work. As a result, this allows VLS to enjoy a diversity of perspectives on campus and in the classroom.

VLS’s small size and collaborative environment foster an atmosphere where students are valued for the contributions they make and the initiative they take within the community. Whether through independent study with faculty, engagement with one of the many active student organizations, or participation with the Student Bar Association (SBA), students help shape academic and cocurricular coursework and campus policies.

Admission

Successful candidates demonstrate academic excellence and motivation and will bring diverse perspectives and interests, as well as strong talents, to the community. The two admission criteria that are weighed most heavily are academic records and the required personal essays. In addition, the school responds favorably to candidates who have been active in their communities and engaged with student organizations or professional endeavors. VLS is committed to supporting individuals traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, beginning in December.

Tuition and Financial Aid

At Vermont Law School, a combination of merit scholarships, need-based aid, loans, tuition grants, and work-study opportunities are employed to address the financial needs of law school candidates. On average, 90 percent of the student body receives some form of financial assistance, and a large number of enrolling students receive VLS merit- or need-based aid. In addition to counseling students on loan repayment strategies—including the federal income-based loan repayment and loan forgiveness program—VLS offers a Loan Repayment Assistance Program, which supports graduates pursuing public interest careers in repaying educational debts.

Career Services

In addition to the network of staff, peers, and faculty advocates who serve as ready resources to every VLS student and graduate, the Office of Career Services operates as a clearinghouse for information on professional and experiential opportunities for students throughout their law school years. The office provides tools for résumé and interview preparation, assists students in researching and applying for internships and summer jobs, and helps them explore a range of postgraduate placements. The office also provides a three-year guide to finding a job, including a searchable online directory of alumni, an online job posting site, and comprehensive guides to career planning and judicial clerkships. Students are encouraged to attend the many different events hosted by the office, such as workshops, seminars, VLS-only job fairs, and alumni networking events.

Admitted Applicant Profile

25-75% UGPA Range at Vermont:

2.96 to 3.49

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Vermont:

148 to 157

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at Vermont:

2.96 to 3.49

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Vermont:

148 to 157

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at Vermont:

2.96 to 3.49

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Vermont:

148 to 157

120
135
150
165
180

Contact Information

164 Chelsea Street, PO Box 96,
South Royalton, VT 05068,
United States