Combining a passion for the law with the desire to do good in the world is a noble way to help create change on a local, national, or global level. How does one who is interested in using knowledge of the law to address such issues as climate change, energy use, protecting wildlife and habitats, or environmental advocacy get the necessary skills and education to pursue this specialized course of law study? The Vermont Law School offers comprehensive degree programs for students who are interested in turning their passion for the environmental issues we face today into a career where they can exact real and lasting change through public, private, government, or academic law practice.
Vermont Law School's Environmental Law Center has the #1 ranked environmental law program in the country, according to the 2013 U.S. News & World Report's rankings of America's Best Graduate Schools. It also boasts the largest number of environmental law courses offered by any law school in the country. Choosing Vermont Law School to pursue a graduate degree can set students on a fulfilling career path, and help graduates contribute to the betterment of the planet.
Located in the village of South Royalton, along the White River in Vermont, Vermont Law School has been serious about educating students to become excellent lawyers since it was established in 1972. The school is a fully accredited, independent, private law school committed to helping graduates address environmental issues while ensuring the campus itself is energy efficient and environmentally conscious. Several campus buildings have been historically preserved and renovated according to green building and renovation practices. Debevoise Hall, the building that houses the Environmental Law Center, was once the South Royalton schoolhouse. After a green renovation was completed, it became the first LEED certified renovation in Vermont. James L. and Evelena S. Oakes Hall is a classroom building that was completed in 1998 and is recognized for its environmentally conscious design by many organizations.
Students entering one of Vermont Law School's top ranked environmental law degree programs will be fully prepared to apply their skills and knowledge to environmental or energy law, policy or advocacy. Students can choose to pursue a course of study that leads to a Juris Doctor or Masters Degree, a joint degree, or a certificate. Students have the opportunity to individualize their programs to their interests and skills by combining degrees, exploring a joint degree with another school, such as The Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, participate in exchange programs with either U.S. or international schools, or take part in the school's acclaimed Summer Session. The Summer Session offers courses in areas such as policy, ethics, or environmental law.
The school's curriculum is based on a core legal curriculum, with the addition of experimental programs and a special focus on environmental law. Courses are offered on a diverse range of topics, from Environmental Ethics to Nuclear Power to Wetlands Conservation. Students will be prepared to practice law in all fifty states within private law firms, nonprofit organizations, corporations, government or military offices, and public interest law groups. Of the students who graduated in 2011, 84% passed the bar exam and 80% were employed or in a degree program locally, nationally, or internationally within nine months after graduation. A comprehensive library housing one of the best environmental collections of materials in the nation allows students to access pertinent information. Learning and research can be done easily using the research facility, online catalog, digital resources, and campus-wide wireless internet access.
In 1973, a little over 100 students started their legal studies at a law school that had just been established and was in fact not yet approved by the Bar Association. From those humble beginnings grew a law school of excellence that prepares today's future graduates for careers in a diverse range of law degree programs. Now, as it was then, one common thread runs through all that Vermont Law School does. It is to provide the best and most comprehensive education for law students who have a bigger vision and purpose: to use law to advocate for environmental stewardship, and ultimately bring about real changes that will lead us toward a healthier, happier planet.