Organizations and Activities
Students at VLS are diverse in age, geographic roots, and educational and work experience. They share a desire to use their training for the public good.
Our full-time students teach, mentor, and coach in the local schools. Student groups sponsor clean-ups along the banks of the White River, organize blood drives, initiate voter registration programs, and assist senior citizens in the completion of tax returns. The Habitat for Humanity student chapter won an environmental award for the home it built for a couple who were clients of the South Royalton Legal Clinic, and currently spend spring break working on homes in areas affected by hurricanes. SCORE organizes an annual "Youth for Justice Summit" for Vermont High School students. Each year since 1996, the VLS Schweitzer Fellows each contribute at least 200 hours of service on community projects they create.
Students participate in the governance of the law school through elected membership on the board of trustees and various committees for financial aid, development, curriculum, faculty hiring, the library, community affairs, and student services. The SBA also sponsors social and cultural events. All students are members of the Student Bar Association. The student Senate, governing board, and committtee representatives are elected annually. The SBA supports and encourages academic excellence and professional growth among students; ensures the attainment and preservation of the rights of the individual student to acquire a quality legal education in a just and reasonable manner; and serves as the vehicle for interaction and communication between the students, faculty, administration, alumni, and the community.
Sports and Recreation
Vermont Law School students compete on the intercollegiate level in rugby, basketball, and Ultimate Frisbee, and on an intramural basis, or with other schools, in ice hockey, volleyball, and soccer. Free, student-led classes in yoga, dance, and martial arts are held weekly. The Fay House on campus is equipped with weight-training equipment, rowing machines, stair steppers, and free weights. Vermont Law School students also have access to the athletic facilities of Vermont Technical College upon payment of a user fee. The central Vermont region abounds in opportunities for individual outdoor sports, including hiking, biking, running, fishing, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, and skiing.
A vital aspect of legal education at Vermont Law School is the appearance of visiting scholars and speakers on campus. Visitors to the law school have included:
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Former Vice President Al Gore
U.S. Senators James Jeffords, Patrick Leahy, Timothy Wirth and Bernie Sanders
Former Vice President Walter Mondale
Vermont Supreme Court Justices John Dooley and Denise Johnson
National ACLU President Nadine Strossen
U.S. Solicitor General Kenneth Starr
Dartmouth College President James Freedman
Former Vermont Supreme Court Chief Justice Jeffrey Amestoy
In 2007-08, student organizations sponsored visiting speakers including:
Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt
Julius Chambers, civil rights activist and founder of the first integrated law firm in North Carolina
Attorney Karen Doering on homophobia in sports
Yale University Law Professor Kenji Yoshino, author of Covering
Shabaka WaQlimi, death penalty activist
Robert Levy of the Cato Institute
Investigative journalist Mark Schapiro
Anthropoligst Dr. Kehaulani Kauanui
Recently held student conferences include:
The VLS Environmental Law Society sponsored the National Alliance of Environmental Law Societies annual conference
The VLS Vermont Journal of the Environment and the Vermont Law Review co-sponsored a symposium entitlted “Confronting Global Climate Change: Using the Law to Protect Future Generations.”
Law Students for Reproductive Choice marked the 35th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision with a dinner and speakers honoring the landmark Vermont case which pre-dated Roe v. Wade.
Other student organizations sponsored panels on a wide variety of topics including veterans health care and benefits, the separation of church and state, balancing life and career, invasive species, and tribal sovereignty and environmental justice. Members of the faculty regularly give presentations on topics as diverse as the meaning of the constitution, civil rights issues, and local environmental proposals.
VLS Student Groups
The Student Bar Association funds over 30 official student organizations and groups. The list below, although abridged, is representative of the range of activities in which students actively participate.
Special Interest and Advocacy Organizations
Environmental Law Society
The Equal Justice Foundation
The Federalist Society
International Law Society
Law Students for Reproductive Justice
National Lawyers Guild
Sports and Entertainment Law Society
Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
Students for Community Outreach and Education
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program
Student organizations that promote awareness of issues faced in the legal environment by members of groups typically underrepresented in the legal profession.
Asian Pacific American Law Student Association
Black Law Student Association
Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Jewish Law Students Association
Latin American Law Student Association
Native American Law Society
Secular Law Student Association
Women's Law Group
Extra- and Co-curricular Activities
Student programs that accent and enhance
the academic experience.
Guardians ad Litem
Debevoise/Costle/Jessup Moot Court
The Dispute Resolution Society
Phi Alpha Delta
Trial Advocacy Advisory Board
Vermont Legal Research Group
Sports and RecreationMen's and Women's Rugby Football Clubs
Intermural Ice Hockey
Martial Arts Club