Vermont Law School invites leaders in the fields of environmental, energy, agriculture, and international environmental law to serve as Distinguished Summer Scholars in residency during the VLS Summer Session. Each Distinguished Summer Scholar delivers a public lecture, participates in informal social events on campus, and is available to meet with students individually. These distinguished visitors are a significant intellectual resource for our summer students and also offer valuable networking opportunities.
Environmental Law Scholar
Blake Hudson, A.L. O’Quinn Chair in Environmental Studies and Co-director of the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Center, University of Houston Law Center
Professor Blake Hudson is the A.L. O’Quinn Chair in Environmental Studies and Co-director of the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Center (EENR).
Professor Hudson's recent research has focused on the intersection of land use law, policy, and planning with natural resource management, with particular emphasis on the role of forest management in combatting climate change. His research has also centered on the "commons" and the complicated role of private property rights and government institutions as solutions to commons dilemmas. He has further assessed how the issues of federalism and constitutional structure have the potential to both complicate and resolve land use and natural resource management issues at the state, federal, and international levels. His articles are forthcoming or have been published in the Washington and Lee Law Review, Indiana Law Journal, Georgia Law Review, Hastings Law Journal, University of Colorado Law Review, Alabama Law Review, Florida Law Review, Tulane Law Review, Florida State University Law Review, Connecticut Law Review, and BYU Law Review, among a variety of other legal and peer-reviewed journals. His book, Constitutions and the Commons: The Impact of Federal Governance on Local, National, and Global Resource Management, was published by Resources for the Future/Earthscan in 2014. Professor Hudson teaches natural resources law and policy, water law, and property law.
Professor Hudson obtained his bachelor's degree in both biology and history, as well as minors in pre-law and political science, at the University of Montevallo, where he was a scholar-athlete. He graduated with high honors from Duke University School of Law, and also graduated with a Master's degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. Prior to joining the Houston Law Center in 2017, Professor Hudson was an assistant professor of law at Stetson University College of Law (2009-2012). He also held a joint appointment as a full professor of law with the LSU Law Center and the LSU College of the Coast & Environment (2012-2017). He practiced law from 2007-2009 at the law firm of Baker Botts in Houston, Texas.
Energy Law Scholar
Natacha Mesa Tejeda, Professor in Commercial Law, University of Havana, Cuba
Natacha Mesa Tejeda is a Professor in Commercial Law at the University of Havana, Faculty of Law and has her Doctor of Legal Sciences, from the University of Havana, Faculty of Law and her Master in Corporate Law, Faculty of Law, University of Barcelona, Spain. She has written extensively in the fields of corporate law, commercial arbitration, and Cuban foreign investment law and consulted with international companies that have established businesses to develop solar projects in Cuba under the foreign investment law.
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Scholar
Emily M. Broad Leib, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, and Deputy Director, Harvard Law School Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation
Emily M. Broad Leib is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, and Deputy Director of the Harvard Law School Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation. As founder of the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, Broad Leib launched the first law school clinic in the nation devoted to providing clients with legal and policy solutions to address the health, economic, and environmental challenges facing our food system. Broad Leib focuses her scholarship, teaching, and practice on finding solutions to some of today’s biggest food law issues, aiming to increase access to healthy foods, eliminate food waste, and support sustainable food production and local and regional food systems. She has published scholarly articles in the Wisconsin Law Review, the Harvard Law & Policy Review, the Food & Drug Law Journal, and the Journal of Food Law & Policy, among others.
Broad Leib is recognized as a national leader in Food Law and Policy. She was named by Fortune and Food & Wine to their list of 2016's Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink. The list highlights women who had the most transformative impact in the last year on what the public eats and drinks. Broad Leib was one of the inaugural recipients of Harvard President Drew Faust’s Climate Change Solutions Fund in 2015. Broad Leib’s project, “Reducing Food Waste as a Key to Addressing Climate Change,” was one of seven chosen from around the university to confront the challenge of climate change by leveraging the clinic’s food law and policy expertise to identify systemic solutions that can reduce food waste, which is a major driver of climate change. Broad Leib’s groundbreaking work on food waste has been covered in such media outlets as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, The Guardian, TIME, Politico, and the Washington Post. She has appeared on CBS This Morning, CNN, The Today Show, and MSNBC to discuss the clinic’s efforts to reduce food waste.
Broad Leib currently serves as Co-Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Academy of Food Law and Policy. She is also the faculty supervisor for the Harvard Mississippi Delta Project and Harvard Food Law Society.
Before joining the Harvard faculty, Broad Leib spent two years in Clarksdale, Mississippi as the Joint Harvard Law School/Mississippi State University Delta Fellow, serving as Director of the Delta Directions Consortium, a group of university and foundation leaders who collaborate to improve public health and foster economic development in the Delta. In that role, she worked with community members and outside partners to design and implement programmatic and policy interventions on a range of health and economic issues in the region, with a focus on the food system. She received her B.A. from Columbia University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School, cum laude.
International Environmental Law Scholar
David Takacs, Professor of Law, University of California Hastings College of the Law
Professor David Takacs is proud to teach at University of California Hastings College of the Law, which is his J.D. alma mater. He also holds an LL.M. from the School of Oriental & African Studies at the University of London, and a B.S. (Biology), M.A., and Ph.D. (Science & Technology Studies) from Cornell University.
He has been a consultant for international NGOs and US government agencies, analyzing legal and policy issues pertaining to REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) and global climate change. His scholarly work addresses carbon offsetting, biodiversity conservation law, the human right to water, and legal personhood for nonhuman entities. He is the author of The Idea of Biodiversity (Johns Hopkins U. Press). In 2017, he received the Rutter Award for Outstanding Teaching at UC Hastings.
Before his legal career, David was a professor in Earth Systems Science & Policy at CSU Monterey Bay, a lecturer in the John S. Knight Writing Program at Cornell, and a Peace Corps Forestry Volunteer in Senegal