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History and Mission

Awards and Achievements

Top-Ranked by U.S.News & World Report

US News ranked number one Environmental lawRanked #1 in environmental law in the 2013 edition of America's Best Graduate Schools. Vermont Law School has placed first in environmental law 15 times since the magazine began ranking the specialty in 1991 and has never placed lower than second. The specialty rankings are based on nomination by legal educators at peer institutions.


Excellence Recognized by the American Bar Association

Vermont Law School is one of nine schools the ABA recognized in 2009 as an Educational Partner in Diversity. The school's General Practice Program was awarded the 2007 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award, given by the Standing Committee on Professionalism of the ABA in recognition of projects contributing to the understanding of professionalism among lawyers.

The school's student team won the 2005 ABA Negotiation Competition, besting competition from the Ivy League and other elite schools.

Our Environmental Law Center won the ABA Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy in 2002.

VLS consistently ranks among the top 10 of all 194 ABA-approved law schools for lowest student/faculty ratio.


Outstanding Faculty

VLS faculty members have won numerous awards for scholarship and contributions to the law. One of the most recent: the National Wildlife Federation's 2006 National Conservation Achievement Award, presented to Patrick Parenteau.


Leader in International Law

In 2010, VLS received the largest grant in its history, a $3 million, three-year award from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The funding enables VLS's U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law to continue to provide training in environmental law, giving Chinese legal professionals, government officials, and others the tools to become better environmental problem-solvers.

VLS helped launched the first legal clinic in a Russian law school, as well as that nation’s first environmental law clinic, in cooperation with the U.S. State Department.

We partner with prestigious institutions in Canada, China, France, Italy, Russia, and Spain. VLS has hosted "China's Environmental Governance: Global Challenges and Comparative Solutions" (2011), the Annual Global Conference on Environmental Taxation (2003), International Bar Association energy law experts (2001), and the Permanent Forum for Transnational and Comparative Legal Dialogue (2005), among other international groups.


Distinguished by Its Commitment to Diversity and Equality

For more than five years, VLS has been awarded the Council on Legal Education Opportunity Diversity Award for diversifying the legal profession.

VLS has a substantially higher percentage of minorities than that of other institutions in the state. According to the PreLaw Insider magazine, the law school ranks within the national top 10 for increased minority enrollment.

Women make up 45 percent of the faculty, and they composed 53% of the 2010—11 student body.

In 2006, the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) cited VLS for commitment to the principles of nondiscrimination and equality. VLS Professor Jackie Gardina serves as copresident of SALT's board of governors.


A Leader in Green Buildings and Efficiency

Debevoise Hall, the centerpiece of the campus, is an 1893 schoolhouse that was fully restored and renovated in 2005, incorporating both historically sensitive restoration and innovative, resource-saving design. Efficiency Vermont cited Debevoise Hall for its energy design in 2006. The building received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

James L. and Evelena S. Oakes Hall has been recognized for outstanding environmental design by the American Consulting Engineers Council, the Vermont Governor's Awards for Excellence in Pollution Prevention, the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, the Boston Society of Architects, and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers.