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New VLS Fitness Center Opens on Valentines Day

Really looking forward to the opening of the VLS Fitness Center – a great example of the sustainability and community philosophies on the VLS campus.  Can’t wait to break from reading all the great apps with a little iron pumping!  Here’s the news from our Assoc. Dean of Student Affairs and Diversity, Shirley Jefferson:

We are pleased to announce the grand opening of Vermont Law School’s new fitness center at 180 North Windsor St. (just past Magic Mountain Children’s Center) on Thursday, February 14 from 12:45-2:00. We’ll be serving light refreshments, including freshly made juices and red velvet cake.

The VLS fitness center was designed by the nationally renowned firm Eck, MacNeely Architects of Boston and built by E.F. Wall & Associates of Barre, VT. The 4,100-square foot, one-story facility has a contemporary, environmentally sustainable design compatible with the historic architecture of South Royalton and Vermont Law School.  Naturally sited in the slope of a hill to take advantage of constant soil temperatures, the VLS fitness center is highly energy efficient and uses low-maintenance materials with a natural feeling. The roof, walls, and high-performance windows are extensively insulated, and the southern roof has the potential for photovoltaics. The interior design features bamboo flooring, high-efficiency lighting, and natural cross-ventilation. Best management practices are planned for storm-water runoff, including permeable pavement and rain gardens.

The equipment in the center is a mix of Cybex and True cardio and weight training machines, including treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, and free weights.

We are thankful to everyone – including students from the class of 2011 – who worked tirelessly to make our new fitness center a reality.

 We look forward to celebrating with you on Valentine’s Day and encouraging fitness for the entire VLS community.

Visit Vermont – Fall Open House

Each year we host several on-campus events, drawing prospective students from all over the country, to experience what it’s really like at Vermont Law School. During the fall we feature our Open House, welcoming prospective students to learn more about our many degree programs, and the VLS community.

I meet many people during recruitment travel and do my best to explain – through words and visuals – what a visit to our beautiful campus is like. Nestled within the green mountains, along the tranquil White River, the quintessential New England town of South Royalton is unlike what most people have ever experienced. The drive alone is an adventure to remember! (Vermont is known for its scenic landscape – especially during the fall!)

Join us for our Fall Open House – November 10th from 9am – 4pm.
I look forward to seeing you there!


New Schweitzer Fellows

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) is thrilled to announce the selection of the 2012-13 New Hampshire-Vermont Schweitzer Fellows (press release attached)—six of whom are Vermont Law School students. This year, these six students will join approximately 240 other Schweitzer Fellows across the country in conceptualizing and carrying out service projects that address the social determinants of health in underserved communities:

  • Daniel Liebowitz and Ariel Solaski, Vermont Law School

Liebowitz and Solaski will launch a LPFM radio station for Royalton, Vermont and surrounding towns with programming that emphasizes community health and well-being. The radio station will serve as a platform for community members of all ages and interests to collaborate, share knowledge, and engage in discussion.

Community Site:  TBD

  • Stephanie Peters,      Vermont Law School

Peters will work to grow the client and volunteer base and raise community visibility for Rutland Volunteer Garden Service, a program launched by Schweitzer Fellow M. Kate Thomas that that pairs teens and seniors to provide gardening help and promote cross-generation connections.

Community Site: Rutland Volunteer Garden Service

  • Robin Seila,      Vermont Law School
    Seila will implement yoga and meditation programming for senior      citizens and cancer patients.

Community Site: Norris Cotton Cancer Center

  • Karen White,      Vermont Law School

White will partner with Have Justice-Will Travel (founded by Schweitzer Fellow and VLS alumna Wynona Ward) to help provide legal assistance for victims of domestic violence.

Community Site: Have Justice-Will Travel

  • Natalie Wicklund,      Vermont Law School

Wicklund will educate high school students in the Upper Valley area about dating violence, with the goal of reducing such instances.

Community Site: Safeline

Upon completion of their Fellowship year, these students will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life—and join a vibrant network of nearly 2,500 individuals who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers as professionals. 99 percent of Fellows for Life say that ASF is integral to sustaining their commitment to serving those in need. To learn more about the Schweitzer Fellowship’s story, you can watch our new, short video—“Creating Change, Improving Health”:

Major Award –Second Year in a Row!

We are delighted to announce that the Burton Awards for Legal Achievement has named 3L Garrett Chrostek a “2012 Distinguished Legal Writing Award” winner for his article, A Critique of Vermont’s Right-to-Farm Law and Proposals for Better Protecting the State’s Agricultural Future, 36 Vt. L. Rev. 233 (2011).  Garrett credits Vermont for being one of the first states to adopt a right-to-farm law, but argues that the current law falls short when compared to developments in other states.  He offers a number of concrete and realistic reforms to improve the Vermont law, including strengthening protections against nuisance lawsuits, mandating administrative proceeding prior to any nuisance lawsuit, using a “size-and-scope restriction to eliminate protections for certain unfavorable forms of agricultures,” exempting farming from certain municipal regulations, and allowing farmers to recover attorney fees for successfully defending against nuisance suits.  Garrett’s note provides timely insights on an important but often overlooked Vermont law.

The Burton Award is the most prestigious award in legal writing.  Each year, only 15 students receive the award out of the entries from law schools across the country.  This year, the winning law schools include Columbia, Duke, Emory, Georgetown, Iowa and Penn.  Award winners attend a gala black tie event at the Library of Congress in June.  This year’s guest of honor will be retired Justice John Paul Stevens.   Bernadette Peters will perform.

Remarkably, this is the second year in a row a VLS student has won the award  (last year’s winner was Ben Leoni).  VLS’s impressive track record in this and other competitions proves what we in the legal writing program already know–our students are accomplished writers.

Center for Legal Services – Ribbon Cutting on May 18th

Breaking news… U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Gov. Peter Shumlin, Vermont Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Reiber and other officials will attend the ribbon cutting of VLS’s new Center for Legal Services at 11:30 a.m., Friday, May 18. The historic building at 190 Chelsea St. underwent a $3.5 million renovation to convert it into the new home for the South Royalton Legal Clinic and the Environmental …and Natural Resources Law Clinic. The two clinics provide millions of dollars of free legal services to needy families, community groups and others in the name of environmental stewardship, social justice and public interest. Finishing touches are being put on the renovated building. The ribbon cutting and a tour of the building are free and open to the public.

VLS Grant Funding

Leahy Rescues $3.9 M. For Vermont Law School And Vermont-Based Institute For Sustainable Communities To Continue Program That Is Helping To Foster Environmental Advocacy In China

(FRIDAY, April 27) — Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has rescued $3.9 million to continue the work of two pioneering Vermont organizations that are helping to nurture the emergence of environmental advocacy in China.
Leahy, who chairs the Senate’s committee on the budget for the State Department, foreign aid and other U.S. foreign operations, has secured about $15 million each year for several years to fund a competitive grant program for rule-of-law training in China, where the judiciary is often manipulated by corrupt officials and rapid economic growth has led to unprecedented environmental and public health problems.  Under the Leahy-funded initiative, U.S. organizations devise and implement programs to partner with civic reform groups in China in fostering environmental advocacy and enforcement, in challenging official corruption, and in protecting worker health and safety.

Vermont Law School (VLS) and the Vermont-based Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) have been among the program’s participants, forming the U.S.-China Partnership For Environmental Law, based at the VLS campus in South Royalton.  Since 2006 their program has trained thousands of Chinese lawyers, citizen advocates and educators, giving them the skills and academic infrastructure needed to solve mounting environmental and energy challenges through the rule of law.  The program helps empower ordinary citizens in China by building legal training capacity for lawyers and civic organizations there in challenging government corruption, local pollution and threats to worker health and safety.  Leahy notes that another benefit is that emergence of environmental and safety standards within China helps in leveling the economic playing field with American firms who operate within U.S. environmental and safety standards.
The Vermont-based program was on track for another year’s work, under appropriations for the overall program secured last year by Leahy, until it ran into a hitch in the U.S. House of Representatives in the congressional clearance process.  Leahy this week succeeded in obtaining release of the $3.9 million for the VLS-ISC contract.  He informed the Vermont groups of the good news on Friday.


Leahy said, “I am pleased that these funds have finally been cleared by Congress.  This Vermont-based program is an impetus for reform and action.  These funds will support the ongoing programs of two highly respected and innovative Vermont institutions, the Institute for Sustainable Communities and the Vermont Law School, which have trained Chinese lawyers and strengthened public advocacy in support of workers’ rights and environmental health and safety.  We are already seeing results, as Chinese citizens challenge both the industrial pollution that has poisoned the air and water, and the corruption that has enabled Chinese companies, sometimes with the knowledge of local officials, to undercut their American competitors.  This program is an example of how a well-designed effort can be a catalyst for better laws and practices, even in an authoritarian country.”


Kick off Connect the Dots / Climate Impact Day

WhatBill McKibben kicks off’s global “Connect the Dots” day with a Vermont press conference and photo shoot at the site of the former covered bridge in Rockingham, Vermont!

Where — The metal bridge in Rockingham– a temporary one until the historic covered bridge is rebuilt 

When — This Saturday, April 28, at noon (rain or shine)

Connect the Dots / Climate Impact Day is coming up fast! To prepare for this epic event and encourage people to “Connect the Dots” between climate change and our increasingly violent weather such as Irene (, Bill McKibben will be joining Vermont residents, legislators, and town officials this Saturday, April 28, at noon for a photo shoot and press conference in Rockingham. This is the major pre-event publicity before the May 5 events around the world and the iconic photos taken will be featured on the and websites. Bring a picnic and spend some rare time with Bill, who Time magazine called “the planet’s best green journalist.”

Congratulations Max!


Needed This Saturday

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Dave Matthews Band (here is a way to put people into factions) has a song called “Pig.” In it, Dave sings: “Don’t burn the pig. Don’t throw the day away.”

With this in mind, we don’t want to jump ahead of the cornucopia of ways to get involved, learn something, and make a difference this Earth Week that the Environmental Law Society has put together. Or the fact that it’s beautiful beach weather outside. RIGHT. NOW.

But speaking of beaches, Hurricane Irene left a whole slew of them along Route 14, and ELS, Phi Alpha Delta and the White River Partnership are teaming up this Saturday to clean them up from 12-3 p.m. Anyone interested, please come by Oakes during those times to lend a hand. Gloves and boots are recommended. Bags and inspiring words will be provided.

1L Colleague Robert Harper has been good enough to commit his truck to moving our piles of rubbish back to the lower Oakes Parking Lot towards the end of the day. But we’re expected a big haul, so if anyone else has an open-bed pickup, we would love to have to you on the team.

Please consider making a few trips back and forth for a great local environmental cause!




Jeffrey Fucci

Vice Justice, Phi Alpha Delta

Vice President Elect, Student Bar Association
Vermont Law School
(201) 245-1164  

Leadership Workshop

Saturday, April 21st

    Students for Community Outreach and Eduction (SCORE)
presents the 2nd Annual Leadership Workshop and Luncheon        

11:00am – 2:00pm

             “A Workshop for Law Students & Community Leaders For The 

            Purpose of Empowering Them to Be 21st Century World Changers”

Professional Life Coach Brad Keller will host a three hour workshop/luncheon focusing on the development of skills essential in today’s job market

         Effective  Communication Establishing and Maintaining Professional Relationships Reaching Goals in a Team Setting
        Increasing Your Leadership Capacity
        Group Problem Solving

           The Leadership Workshop is a dynamic, interactive presentation for Students, Staff, Faculty and Community Members which will include lunch from Panera Bread. Registration is free, but space is limited.   Contact Tim Fair at to reserve a spot or with any questions.