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Randy Hertz, William Sorrell, and Paulo Machado to be honored at Vermont Law School Commencement

May 6, 2013


Peter Glenshaw, Director of Communications, Vermont Law School
Office: 802-831-1318, cell: 603-738-8487, home: 603-795-4764,
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SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt.—The Vice Dean of NYU Law School and a national leader on clinical education, Randy Hertz, will serve as the speaker at 2013 Commencement at Vermont Law School (VLS). In addition to conferring an honorary degree upon Professor Hertz, VLS will also confer honorary degrees upon Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell and the “Father of Brazilian Environmental Law,” Professor Paulo Affonso Leme Machado.

The 38th Commencement at VLS will be held at 10am on the Village Green of South Royalton, Vermont, on Saturday, May 18, 2013. More than 300 students are expected to be conferred juris doctor (JD), master of laws (LLM), and master’s degrees at the graduation ceremony.

“Randy Hertz is an untiring, nationally recognized advocate for clinical legal education who has made an exemplary commitment to the poor and minorities,” said Marc Mihaly, President and Dean of Vermont Law School. “In addition to embodying the spirit of VLS with his dedication to the disadvantaged and underserved, Professor Hertz played a key role with the American Bar Association’s MacCrate Report, which called for dramatic changes in the way that legal education is delivered and helped spark a national dialogue on this important topic.”

Randy Hertz serves as a vice dean, professor of clinical law, and director of clinical and advocacy programs at New York University (NYU) Law School. Before joining the NYU faculty, he worked at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, in the juvenile, criminal, appellate and special litigation divisions. He is the co-author of “Trial Manual for Defense Attorneys in Juvenile Court," and "Federal Habeas Corpus Law and Practice." Hertz is an editor-in-chief of the NYU Journal, Clinical Law Review, and the Chair-Elect of the Council of the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. He is the recipient of the American Bar Association's Livingston Hall award for advocacy in the juvenile field; the Association of American Law School's William Pincus Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Legal Education; and the NYU Award for Distinguished Teaching by a University Professor.

Professor Paulo Affonso Leme Machado will receive an honorary juris doctor degree from Vermont Law School. Known as the “Father of Brazilian Environmental Law,” Professor Machado is one of the most influential environmental attorneys in the history of Brazil and throughout much of Latin America and South America. Professor Machado was the first public prosecutor in Brazil to champion environmental causes in a country with no public interest bar, and established the rights of environmental protection as defensible and legal entities in Brazilian law. After the fall of the military dictatorship that governed Brazil until 1985, Professor Machado became the principle author of the environmental sections of the new Brazilian constitution that guaranteed the rights to a clean environment to individuals, and the rights of nature. Professor Machado was a key architect in the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the Rio Summit) and a key speaker in the recent Rio+20 Conference. He is the recipient of 45 awards and honorary degrees, author of 22 books, 34 book chapters in Brazilian publications, 32 book chapters in books published outside Brazil, and a total of 109 articles.

Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell will receive an honorary juris doctor from VLS. A native and resident of Burlington, VT, Sorrell is the current and longest serving Attorney General in the history of the state of Vermont, having served as Vermont’s Attorney General since 1997. Sorrell is considered a national leader among state attorney generals, and is well known for this work on issues involving tobacco litigation and other issues, including childhood obesity. Sorrell received his undergraduate degree (magna cum laude) from the University of Notre Dame and his juris doctor from Cornell Law School. Before becoming attorney general, he served in private and public practice, and as Vermont’s secretary of administration. Sorrell served as the President of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) from June of 2004 to June of 2005. Prior to his presidential year, he served as the chair of the NAAG Tobacco Committee and co-chair of its Consumer Protection Committee. In June of 2003 he was chosen by his fellow attorneys general to receive NAAG’s Kelley-Wyman Award, given annually to the “Outstanding Attorney General” who has done the most to further the goals of the nation’s attorneys general. In 2008 the American Legacy Foundation endowed in his name an annual lecture on Tobacco Issues. In 2009, the Vermont Medical Society recognized Sorrell as its "Citizen of the Year" and for 2010, the National Humane Society recognized him for Humane Law Enforcement.

More information about Commencement can be found here.


Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, has the top-ranked environmental law program and one of the top-ranked clinical training programs in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. VLS offers a Juris Doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; two Master’s Degrees (Master of Environmental Law and Policy, and Master of Energy Regulation and Law), and three post-JD degrees—LLM in American Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers), LLM in Energy Law, and LLM in Environmental Law. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, the South Royalton Legal Clinic, and the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic. For more information, visit

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