Proudly reintroducing The Forum

By Kyle Scott Clauss, Editor-in-Chief

As far as law schools go, Vermont Law School is a spring chicken.

When VLS opened its doors in 1973, for example, Harvard Law School was already a ripe 156 years old. Legacy admissions are a novel concept here.

But despite the school’s relative youth, the traditions that have sprouted up in South Royalton are as firmly rooted as the knotweed that threatens to overtake my North Windsor Street home.

Barristers’ Ball, Homebrew, Prof. Firestone’s fire-and-brimstone Contracts lectures, Prof. Latham’s Gayla performances, brisk hikes up Kent’s Ledge and lazy floats down the White River—these traditions bind us together in shared experience. They make us Swans.

For a while, The Forum was one of those institutions. Founded in 1975, the newspaper covered the school’s highs and lows, and published work by students and faculty. Unfortunately, The Forum fell out of publication several years ago, with its archives tucked away somewhere on campus. (Picture the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.)

On the eve of its 45th birthday, we proudly reintroduce The Forum.

Each month, we will showcase the very best of this extraordinary community. Though they often eschew the spotlight, VLS students work tirelessly to improve the world around them—so tirelessly, it’s difficult keeping track of it all. They deserve recognition, and we will provide it.

A good local newspaper captures the spirit of the community it serves. In a recent interview with The Herald about the return of The Forum, I shared with editor Tim Calabro our goal for this latest incarnation:

“I want it to be as weird and wonderful as VLS is.”

The Forum will also serve as a platform for thought-provoking student and faculty work. VLS students hail from a diverse array of backgrounds; in any given room, you could find a community organizer, an ornithologist, a painter, and a public school teacher. Their perspectives make us all richer.

This breakneck relaunch would not have been possible without help from Theresa Johnson, Britny Town, Jeff Knudsen and the Buildings and Grounds team, Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Harris, and of course, Dean Shirley Jefferson—the best friend VLS students have ever had.

I would also like to thank the past members of The Forum who learned of the relaunch and offered in equal parts their fond memories and words of encouragement.

Tradition is a funny thing. Too much of it can prove sclerotic, stifling new ideas in the interest of “the way things have always been done.” In the absence of tradition, we are adrift, amnesiac. The right amount can make a big, uncertain world feel smaller, more familiar.

We aim for the latter. With any luck, The Forum will rejoin the constellation of VLS traditions and bolster our unique sense of place for years to come.

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