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President & Dean Mihaly’s Response to New York Times Story

January 31, 2013

I would like to share some thoughts regarding today's story in the New York Times.

It repeats what we have been saying at Vermont Law School for months: all law schools should get smaller. VLS is doing it sooner than many and with intentionality so we can concentrate on our future -making an excellent school even better.  

Vermont Law School is being more public about this process than most schools.  That is why the media has and probably will continue to include VLS in these stories, so it is important to understand what we are really doing.

We aim to get smaller on a voluntary basis.  Almost all of the recent staff reductions have occurred voluntarily.

Vermont Law School has been smaller in the past, and we expect it may get somewhat smaller again.  Many believe that a smaller school provides more personal attention to students.

There is much to be excited about the future of Vermont Law School. We have been an innovator in legal education and will continue to lead in making changes in the JD curriculum so that our graduates secure satisfying jobs.  Within nine months of their graduation, three-quarters of the class of 2011 secured jobs that required the JD or where the JD was an advantage.

In addition, unlike most law schools, we not only offer a master's degree program, but are also poised to launch a second master's program in Energy Law & Regulation (MERL) this year.  Our distance learning program, which offers both a master's degree and an LLM, is thriving.  Our sixth cohort just began their classes and that cohort is oversubscribed, and our first class from the distance learning program just graduated.

Finally, it's important to remember that Vermont Law School is and always will be a different school. Let me close by sharing what I expressed on the occasion of my inauguration in October 2012 - that Vermont Law School is here for people who want to change the world.

"The United States is filled with law schools, arguably too many. Does the world need this law school, here in the hills of Vermont?  

I propose that the answer is 'Yes.'  The world does need this law school. We are not like other law schools, and our uniqueness is a core identity that we must nurture and will serve us well.  I think everyone in this tent knows how we are unique. We are different from other schools because of the people who choose to come here, both students and faculty.  Vermont Law attracts people who want to change the world, not to fit into it."

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