All VLS Courses
Introduction to Study of Law
An introduction to the fields of legal analysis, research, and writing through the study of environmental statutes and case law. The course explores research and investigatory techniques, citation form, legal reasoning, writing skills, and professionalism.
Land and the Law of Takings
Traces the development of the constitutional regulatory takings doctrine in the United States-why it developed, what lines it draws, what voids have not yet been filled, how existing case law applies to various types of situations and whether the lines need to be redrawn by the courts or by legislatures to meet more fully the complex, competing needs of our society.
Land Conservation Law
Examines the tools available to preserve ecological diversity, historic places, working lands, scenic viewsheds, and open space, such as conservation easements, purchase of sensitive lands, and private/public partnerships for land conservation. The course provides a practical understanding of both the legal and nonlegal dimensions of land conservation transactions involving conservation easements.
Download 2013 Course Syllabus
Land Transactions and Finance
An introduction to land transaction and finance, covering the study of the title system, title insurance and land contracts, the private development process, and modern real estate financing, including private financing and public financing. The course also introduces the public-private development process including redevelopment, military base conversion and Brownfield's redevelopment.
Land Use and Policy Clinic
Provides an opportunity to address land use issues through the application of law and planning tools. Students work in non-adversarial projects such as drafting of legislation, plans, or legal instruments; researching, summarizing and analyzing relevant law and planning tools; developing training materials; and making presentations to lawyers and land use professionals. Students also attend a weekly class and a weekly project strategy session.
Land Use Regulation
A basic course in land use law. Covers planning and all manner of private and public land use regulation from common interest communities, to subdivisions, to zoning, to variances, to planned development districts, to transit-oriented development, to traditional neighborhood design, to form-based codes, to growth management.
Legal Adaptation to Global Warming
Using global warming adaptation as an example of how the law and legal institutions evolve in response to major social changes, the course examines the legal challenges raised by the need for our society to adapt to the impacts of global warming. Topics include the need for alternative tools for dealing with eroding coastal shores and higher flooding risks, strategies for relocating urban populations to higher ground, modifications to the Endangered Species Act and other wildlife laws, federal and state property insurance policies, and techniques for reallocating water supplies.
Provides an opportunity for students to work in a standing committee of the Vermont General Assembly under the supervision of the committee's chair and a legislative counsel. Students are required to be in attendance at the General Assembly in Montpelier and to complete legal research and drafting projects relating to their committee's pending legislation.
Natural Resources Law
Examines the statutes and regulations governing the management of the federal lands and their resources. Considers the historical, political, and ecological influences on the law and management of these resources, and includes an introduction to the agencies with jurisdiction over the components of the federal estate.
Negotiating Environmental Agreements
Examines the use of consensual processes such as negotiation and mediation to resolve environmental disputes and manage environmental conflict. Instruction will be through lectures to discuss the theory of dispute resolution and through simulations to practice the skills.