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James C. May

Director of South Royalton Legal Clinic, Clinical Professor of Law

JD, Boston University, 1977;
MA, University of Virginia, 1970;
BA, Thomas More College, 1967

Phone: 802-831-1500

Awards and Affiliations


Teaching at VLS:

  • Staff attorney, 1983-86.
  • Director of the South Royalton Legal Clinic since 1987.
  • Professor at Vermont Law School since 1998.
  • One of four experienced attorneys who supervise the South Royalton Legal Clinic's student clinicians.

Leadership and Service:

  • Member of team that created demonstration civil legal services program in Karelia, Russia, 1999-2001.
  • Volunteer consultant to new federal Legal Aid Program in Karelia, 2007-present.
  • Member, Board of Directors, Vermont/Karelia Rule of Law Project, which helped establish (1994-95) first law school civil legal clinic in Russia at Petrozavodsk State University,1994-present.
  • Deputy Director, Vermont Law School/Petrozavodsk State University Law Faculty partnership (U.S. State Department NISCUPP grant), 1998-2005.
  • Vermont Steering Committee Member, Russian American Rule of Law Consortium (RAROLC), 2001-present.
  • Member, Board of Directors, Legal Services Law Line of Vermont, 1996-present.
  • Member, Board of Directors, Windsor County Court Diversion Program, 1994-96.
  • Member, Hartland Board of School Directors, Hartland, VT, 1991-94.
  • Member, Hartland Conservation Commission, Hartland, VT, 1990-91.

Contributions to the Law:

  • In concert with state child welfare agency and other parties, successfully employed McGill Action Planning system (MAPS), an alternative dispute resolution mechanism, to resolve protracted (1998-01) juvenile matter and secure return of client’s daughter; subsequent MAPS involvement in other cases in succeeding years.
  • Testified about public school teacher labor relations before the Vermont Senate General Affairs Committee, 1996.
  • Lead counsel in Howard vs. Department of Social Welfare: the Vermont Supreme Court ruled in 1994 that, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the state must provide welfare benefits for up to one year to parents whose children are unable to graduate from high school by age 19 because of disabilities; required the Vermont Department of Social Welfare to change its rules (case of first impression nationally).
  • Lead counsel in Skudlarek vs. Vermont Department of Employment and Training: in 1993 the Vermont Supreme Court, as a matter of first impression in Vermont, reversed a decision denying benefits to a part-time worker who quit when her hours were increased to full-time.
  • Successor lead counsel in Kendall vs. Brock: the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont ruled that the U.S. Constitution's due process clause requires advance notice and an opportunity to be heard before federal worker's compensation benefits may be reduced or terminated; the policies and procedures of U.S. Department of Labor were amended nationally as a result of this case of first impression, litigated 1985-88.
  • Lead counsel in Swan vs. Stoneman, a successful federal civil rights class action lawsuit (1979-81), which required the Vermont Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) to afford vocational rehabilitation (VR) clients notice and opportunity to be heard before reduction or termination of benefits. Obtained reversal in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit of U.S. District Court’s dismissal of the action.
  • Litigated many landlord-tenant cases in Windsor County, VT, 1977-83, obtaining significant Superior Court declaratory judgment ruling prohibiting lock-outs, and early District Court rulings recognizing the implied warranty of habitability, principles of law which both found expression in Vermont Legislature’s 1986 comprehensive codification of landlord-tenant law.


  • Traveled to Russia on many occasions between 1994 and 2008 as part of Vermont/Karelia Rule of Law Project, Vermont Law School/Petrozavodsk State University USIA/U.S. State Department NISCUPP Partnership, and Russian-American Rule of Law Consortium (RAROLC) activities.
  • Staff Attorney, Vermont Legal Aid, Springfield, 1977-83.
  • Developed law student internship program at Vermont Law School, 1983-85.