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Academics

Few law schools stand independent of a university. But Vermont Law School, unencumbered by a larger bureaucracy, has always been able to act quickly to shape its offerings with an eye to the future of the legal profession. Our curriculum rigorously addresses the fundamentals of law early on, but VLS students also have a chance to customize their education to build skill sets in practice areas on the leading edge of the law and social change.

Our balance of challenging academics and experiential learning works well for students planning to work in the public and nonprofit sectors as well as those aiming for large firms in private practice. At VLS, scholarship and academics are in service to what lawyers are actually called upon to do in the field.

Coursework in our General Practice Program is conducted as if the class were a law firm. Student “associates” tackle real-world cases with faculty serving as senior partners. VLS clinics and experiential programs put students to work solving community problems. VLS also works in partnership with other schools—including Cambridge, Dartmouth, Thunderbird, and Yale—to provide dual degree options for students worldwide in fields ranging from global management to constitutional law, environmental management, and business organization law, among many others.

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Degrees

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To accommodate the individuality of our students, VLS offers a variety of degrees, including a juris doctor, a master’s degree, three specialized master of laws, and more than 10 joint and dual degrees on campus and through our strong connections with other top-tier schools, domestic and international.

Environmental Law Center

Students studying in Montana.

Vermont Law School has the largest and deepest environmental program of any law school. Since we established the Environmental Law Center in 1978, we have been training people to be environmental leaders in government, nonprofits, corporations, and private practice—locally, nationally, and internationally.

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International and Comparative Law Programs

Our international course offerings, exchange programs, degree options, and externships enable you to spend a week, a semester or a year learning abroad, including through programs with McGill, Cambridge, Renmin (China) and universities in France, Italy and Spain.

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Clinical and Externship Programs

From clinics and externships to the Semester in Practice, our experiential programs provide students with a range of opportunities to get hands-on, real-world experience before they graduate.

General Practice Program

Winner of the 2007 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award, the GPP offers classes that simulate the structure of a law firm, enabling you to learn practical skills along with substantive law.

Legal Writing Program

This highly individualized program begins in the first year and helps students develop legal research techniques, writing and reasoning skills, and the art of advocacy, while learning to make effective oral arguments.

Dispute Resolution Program

Home of Vermont Law School's Alternative Dispute Resolution program.

Academic Success Program

The Academic Success Program ensures students have access to individualized academic assistance. The office currently includes the Academic Success Director, who coordinates our Bar Passage program, the Assistant Director, Program Coordinator and six upper level student mentors.

Focused Studies

Through our exchange programs, students spend a semester at schools such as Hastings College of the Law, or New York Law School. We offer a wide range of opportunities for interdisciplinary study.

Summer Session

With more than 35 environment- and energy-focused courses, the VLS Summer Session—the broadest and deepest in the nation—brings students, scientists, advocates, teachers, and government officials together to discuss critical issues of law and policy.

Journals and Competitions

In addition to publishing two respected journals—the Vermont Law Review and the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law—VLS students hone their skills through four moot court competitions.