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Liz Ryan Cole

Professor of Law

JD, Boston University, 1973;
BA, Oberlin College, 1968

Phone: 802-831-1240


Professor Liz Ryan Cole specializes in clinical legal education and legal ethics. As founding director of the Semester in Practice and the Environmental Semester in Washington programs, she designed the field placement course and taught and supervised full-time and part-time clinical externships from 1984 to 2012.

Professor Cole received her BA degree from Oberlin College in 1968 and her JD degree from Boston University in 1973. She practiced law in San Jose, California from 1974 to 1977 with Community Legal Services and as a partner in the firm of Katz, Cole and Beam. She served as training coordinator with the Legal Services Training and Advocacy Project in New Haven, Connecticut, from 1978 to 1980, and as training coordinator with the Legal Services Corporation (Region II) from 1980 to 1983. She joined Vermont Law School's faculty in 1984 as director of the Semester in Practice program and director of the Office of Career Services. She has been a trustee of Vermont Legal Aid and served on several committees for the Vermont Bar Association. She was a founder and first president of the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) and in 2002 received the association's Outstanding Advocate for Clinical Legal Education Award. She writes and speaks on legal education, including comparative and clinical legal education, legal ethics, and the training and supervision of law students and lawyers.

Professor Cole is qualified to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator©, and uses this instrument often with students and lawyers as they improve their understanding of how they make decisions. She is an owner/developer of a co-housing community, a member of the CoHo/US Advocacy & Affordability team, and a member of her local planning commission. She also conducts workshops for lawyers and judges on improving their ability to give and receive feedback.