​​​​​​​It's wholly unexpected that a Chinese environmental leader would best know only two or three cities in the United States: New York, Los Angeles, and South Royalton. But that's what happens when a little law school in Vermont trains more ​than 1,000 Chinese individuals in environmental and energy law in just ten years. ​​

As the challenges posed by climate change grow in urgency, the power that massive developing countries like China--and partner countries like Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar, where China has invested significant resources--can leverage to effect change cannot be overstated. 

The U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law at Vermont Law School has thus set out on a mission: to engage and train Chinese and Southeast Asian judges, legal scholars, students, natural resource managers, and other professionals in environmental justice, climate change issues, public interest advocacy, and environmental governance. Courses Include:

The Partnership's endeavors are not restricted for our colleagues across the Pacific. Students who specialize in Chinese and Southeast Asian environmental law at VLS will study and research the region's environmental governance challenges, improve their foreign language skills, and build useful connections for their future career in international environmental law. Many students take an exchange semester abroad. And of course, students can draw upon Vermont Law's extensive portfolio of environmental and international courses, clinics, journals, and extracurricular activities. 

Whether they hail from South Royalton or Beijing, a generation of leaders will use the power of the law to address climate change, public health, and the environment in China and Southeast Asia, and Vermont Law School will teach them how. 


The U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law is a collaborative program to advance environmental and energy law and policy in China and throughout Asia. The goal of the partnership, which is supported by a number of public and private organizations, is to strengthen the rule of law in environmental protection and to build capacity among individuals and academic, government, and private-sector institutions to solve environmental problems. Since its inception in 2006, the partnership's goals have been to strengthen the capacity of Chinese education, government, and civil society sectors to become effective environmental problem solvers; to improve China's policies, laws, and regulations to advance the development of environmental law in China; and to enhance municipal, provincial, national, and international networks in China to advance best practices in environmental protection and energy regulation. Building upon the success it has achieved in China, the partnership has expanded its geographic scope in an effort to respond to the environmental governance needs of the region.

Led by Professor Siu Tip Lam, a former assistant attorney general in the Environmental Protection Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, the program's staff includes Professor Yanmei Lin, Associate Director; William J. Schulte, Senior Program Officer and Project Leader; Yu Zhuang, Program Officer; an LLM Fellow; and other VLS faculty advisors.


  • Launch a new initiative to provide environmental governance training in Myanmar, to give key stakeholders a range of legal and policy tools that can be adopted to provide broad scale protection of the country's key biodiversity areas 
  • Host Chinese scholars and students for residency programs at VLS
  • Train scholars from across China on international standards for environmental rights protection and teaching methodology
  • Train stakeholders, including judges and prosecutors, to apply and enforce environmental laws and take steps to increase the role prosecutors could play in civil enforcement of environmental laws
  • Establish an Environmental Law Training Program (ELTP) to train environmental stewards and legal advocates in China to use legal tools to promote environmental compliance and protect the environment, public health, and welfare
  • Provide opportunities for VLS students to work on cutting-edge research projects relating to environmental issues in China and throughout Southeast Asia



Agriculture & Food Systems | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/agriculture-food-systemsAgriculture & Food Systems | Vermont LawFood is a basic necessity of human life and a unique vehicle for change, as it is intimately tied to human health, the environment, poverty, immigration, animal welfare, law, politics, and culture, on every step of its journey from farm to plate.
Business Law | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/business-lawBusiness Law | Vermont LawA targeted suite of classes for students who want to specialize in business. Courses in corporations, securities, bankruptcy, nonprofit management, and even white collar crime are all available, as well as dispute resolution courses and clinic.
China & Southeast Asia | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/china-and-southeast-asiaChina & Southeast Asia | Vermont LawAs the challenges posed by climate change grow in urgency, the power that massive developing countries like China, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar can leverage to effect change cannot be overstated.
Criminal Law | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/criminal-lawCriminal Law | Vermont LawThe certificate in criminal law provides broad-based, comprehensive training and skills needed by students to become prosecutors, defenders, or to practice criminal law in a private firm setting.
Dispute Resolution | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/dispute-resolutionDispute Resolution | Vermont LawIn an increasingly complex world, dispute resolution offers a way to find solutions that allow all parties to move forward without entering a courtroom.
Energy Law Specializationhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/energy-lawEnergy Law SpecializationVermont Law School courses and clinics consider the relationship between energy and the environment in the context of its legal, scientific, commercial and human implications.
Environmental Law | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/environmental-lawEnvironmental Law | Vermont LawVermont Law School offers a multidisciplinary array of environmental courses in law, policy, science, economics, and ethics to students studying for any one of our degrees or certificates.
General Practice | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/general-practiceGeneral Practice | Vermont Law
International & Comparative Law | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/international-comparative-lawInternational & Comparative Law | Vermont LawPrepares students for careers with international organizations, NGOs, law firms, multinational enterprises, and government agencies. We offer study experiences that broaden knowledge and skills, add new perspective, and open opportunities.
Land Use Law | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/land-use-lawLand Use Law | Vermont LawIncluding smart growth principles, ecological planning, affordable housing, flood hazard mitigation, energy and land use regulatory decision-making, permitting processes, and land conservation strategies.
Legal Writing | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/legal-writingLegal Writing | Vermont Law
Sports Law | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/sports-lawSports Law | Vermont Law
Tax Law and Policy | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/tax-law-and-policyTax Law and Policy | Vermont LawWe know that improving the environment requires changing the way we run our businesses, use our resources, and act as citizens. But how do we actually make that change occur?
Technology & Legal Innovation | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/technology-legal-innovationTechnology & Legal Innovation | Vermont LawDigital technologies create a wealth of new possibilities around how we define, deliver, and teach law. What does government become as legislation and regulation open to digital means of access and participation?
Water Resources Law | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/water-resources-lawWater Resources Law | Vermont LawLearn about local, national, and global efforts to secure water supplies through research, education, and policy development. Focus on water law, environmental justice, and policy initiatives to further wise, judicious use of water as a public resource.