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Vermont Law Partners with Historically Black Colleges and Universities

February 4, 2014

CONTACT: Peter Glenshaw, Director of Communications, Vermont Law School
Office: 802-831-1318, cell: 603-738-8487, home: 603-795-4764,

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt., Feb. 4, 2014—Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, and Morehouse College and Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga., are the first Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to sign partnership agreements with Vermont Law School, the ultimate goal of which is to expand racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession.

Each partnership is tailored to the interests of the college or university. The agreement with Central State University, for example, is specifically designed to attract prospective students to the JD/Master of Environmental Law and Policy and the JD/Master of Energy Regulation and Law programs at Vermont Law School. The partnerships with Morehouse College and Spelman College are designed to facilitate admission of qualified students to law school in general and Vermont Law in particular.

Shirley Jefferson ’86, Dean of Student Affairs and Diversity at Vermont Law, has led the partnership initiative.

“At Vermont Law, we believe that we should be training the next generation of leaders who will make a difference in their communities and in the world,” Jefferson said. “These are colleges and universities with long histories of promoting racial justice and equality, and we are proud to partner with them.”

Since its founding in 1973, Vermont Law’s mission has included the representation of traditionally voiceless communities. Our primary goal is educating “students in a diverse community that fosters personal growth and that enables them to attain outstanding professional skills and high ethical values with which to serve as lawyers and environmental and other professionals in an increasingly technological and interdependent global society.”

Vermont Law’s entering JD class in the fall of 2013 included students from 35 states and territories, and countries including China, Brazil, Spain, Canada, France, Grenada, and New Zealand. The class is 42 percent male, 58 percent female, and 23 percent people of color. About 95 percent of students receive some form of financial assistance: 63 percent of students receive campus-based aid, and 46 percent receive Vermont Law grants and scholarships.

Vermont Law will provide students at participating colleges and universities with the tools they need to be successful applicants. In the fall of each year, admissions counselors will travel to partner schools to meet with prospective students and provide insight regarding Vermont Law and its joint degree programs. In the spring, select students will be invited to participate in a Vermont Law-sponsored “Application Preparation Workshop.” And in the summer, a senior pre-law student will be selected to participate in the Vermont Law “Jump Start” program, an opportunity to learn the mechanics of studying the law.

To participate in the partnership, applicants must have a cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.2 and a strong showing on the LSAT. They must also pass annual fitness and character reviews, and must demonstrate participation in volunteer service and leadership activities. If they are accepted, students will receive scholarships from $5,000 up to full tuition for their first two semesters at Vermont Law.

In addition, Vermont Law will equip pre-law advisors and faculty at partner institutions with a greater understanding of legal issues affecting environmental and energy policy. Selected faculty and/or pre-law advisors will be invited to participate in the Vermont Law “Summer in Vermont” program and will receive free audited tuition enrollment in one of the courses offered during the program.


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, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

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