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Continuous Reminders

On the first day of Corporations class this January, I invited students to introduce themselves and then to ask me anything.  Some posed serious questions about my work experience, and others whimsical ones about my favorite bands and whether I liked to ski. One of the first students to inquire asked why I’d chosen to teach at Vermont Law School.  My answer? “You. The students, the staff, the faculty here.”  This was something I’d thought about two years earlier, when I visited VLS for the first time.

It was mid-December. I’d arrived in Vermont the night before for dinner with a small group of faculty. And, now was on campus for a long day of interviews, meals and tours with faculty, students and staff. By early evening, I settled into one last interview. It was in a small conference room and the faculty members there told me what made this place special. This was the last of many campus interviews at law schools across the country. It was a cold winter night and the sky was clear. I don’t remember all of the details of what was said, but I do remember one particular thought. Driving away from the school, a sentence repeated in my mind. “If I get an offer from this school and I don’t take it, it will be one of the biggest mistakes of my life.”

It seemed rather dramatic, and so at the time, I did not fully I understand what it meant. I already had an offer in hand from another strong school that other candidates might have readily accepted given its overall US News ranking. But, I was not a rankings-chaser.  What mattered most to me was the attitude and values of the people here who embodied the school’s motto — Law for the Community and the World. I felt at home. When the call came I knew my answer.

Today, there are continuous reminders for me that I made the right decision. For example, today a student emailed me. Not just any student, but a student from a class I taught last semester – Securities Regulation. We are halfway through the semester, we have all moved on to new courses, but he emailed because he happened to see that the Supreme Court today had issued opinions on two federal securities law cases. He spotted this in the morning, well before I did. There are other moments like that email, including when students plan inspiring events on cutting-edge legal issues, and when they stop by office hours just to confirm their understanding of a concept we covered in class. These are on par with a phone call I received from two students last February. I helped coach then for a regional transactional lawyering meet and they won first place and qualified for nationals. I still remember when I received the call on my cellphone. It was a cold winter night and the sky was clear. I was driving away from the school and I finally understood, really understood why saying yes to VLS was one of the best decisions of my life.

Jennifer S. Taub
Associate Professor of Law

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