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Vermont Law School Ranked First in Environmental Law for Fourth Consecutive Year

March 13, 2012

US news number one in environmental lawSOUTH ROYALTON, Vt. -- U.S.News & World Report has ranked Vermont Law School's environmental law program as the best in the nation for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year. The 2013 Best Grad Schools rankings were released today.

VLS also placed among the nation's top programs for dispute resolution (rank 16th) and clinical training (rank 23rd).Image of Debevoise Hall

"The entire VLS community is proud of this continued recognition of our environmental curriculum, clinics and institutes," said Professor John Echeverria, acting director of VLS's Environmental Law Center (ELC), which offers the largest selection of environmental law courses in the nation. "The dedication of our faculty, students, staff and alumni has made them global leaders in teaching, scholarship and professional achievement, and VLS's innovative programs continue to break new ground in legal education."

VLS has placed first 15 times and never placed lower than second since the U.S. News environmental specialty rankings began in 1991. VLS's top ranking this year marks the first time that a school has been ranked number one in the environmental specialty for four consecutive years. To develop its specialty rankings, U.S. News asked legal educators to identify the top programs.

"Vermont Law School is simply the strongest and best place for those considering environmental law as a career," said Dean Jeff Shields. "We have the largest and deepest environmental and energy law programs in the world."

VLS's Dispute Resolution Program, which wasn't ranked last year by U.S. News, has been a leader for more than 30 years in teaching the negotiation, mediation and arbitration skills that empower lawyers to create valuable solutions outside the courtroom for their clients.

VLS's Clinics and Experiential Programs, whose U.S. News ranking improved from 30th last year to 23rd this year, put theory into practice in a variety of ways - from on campus clinical work to externships in law firms, corporations, nonprofits, courts and government offices, at home and abroad.

Image of Supreme Court"Our success as a place to learn law and policy is enhanced by our unique structure of clinics, institutes, centers and off-campus experiential programs," Shields said. "Our joint programs with Yale, Cambridge, Dartmouth, Renmin, Thunderbird and Cergy-Pontoise allow our students to use the world's greatest universities to supplement what they find on our campus. And our incredible alumni network at the World Bank, the United Nations, on Capitol Hill and at leading law firms and NGOs opens opportunities for our students and graduates that are compelling."

The ELC's multidisciplinary program in law, policy, economics, science and ethics attracts law and graduate students, lawyers, government officials, teachers, scientists, journalists and citizen activists. Since 1978, the ELC has trained environmental leaders in government, nonprofits, corporations and private practice in the United States and abroad. The ELC administers the Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP) degree program for lawyers and non-lawyers and the Master of Laws (LLM) in Environmental Law, a post-Juris Doctor degree for experienced attorneys who seek to specialize.

Vermont Law School offers clinical, research and experiential environmental programs through the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, the Land Use Clinic, the Institute for Energy and the Environment, the Land Use Institute, the Environmental Tax Policy Institute, the U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law and the Environmental Semester in Washington. The ELC's Summer Session offers a broad curriculum, a Visiting Distinguished Environmental Scholars program and a lecture series that features summer faculty members, distinguished summer scholars and summer media fellows speaking about current issues in their fields.

CONTACT: John Cramer, Associate Director of Media Relations, Vermont Law School
Office: 802.831.1106, cell: 540.798.7099, home: 802.649.2235,

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