VLS expands reach with new Burlington office

VLS officials, joined by Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, cut the ribbon outside the school’s new office. Photo courtesy Susan Warner.

By Arielle King, Publisher

On January 7, Vermont Law School held a ribbon cutting ceremony and opened the doors to the brand-new Center for Legal Services and Office of Admissions. The new office’s goal is to strengthen the law school’s ability to be a resource for the state at large. Providing greater access for community members to the law school expands and furthers the law school’s motto: law for the community and the world.

The Greater Burlington area is home to undergraduate and graduate students from four different colleges and universities: University of Vermont, Champlain College, Community College of Vermont, and neighboring St. Michael’s College. The satellite office provides an opportunity to build greater partnerships with those institutions. Additionally, the new office is able to hold informational sessions and provide direct access to students interested in studying law.

This Burlington office expands the legal advocacy of the South Royalton Legal Clinic’s (SRLC) Vermont Immigration Assistance Clinic. Managing attorney of the SRLC, Erin Jacobsen, explained in a news release that, “the law school has long been a champion of access to justice for all Vermonters, regardless of income or citizenship status.”

The SRLC currently provides over $1.5 million annually in pro bono services to low-income Vermont residents and vulnerable populations. Jacobsen also remarked that the new Burlington office “will allow us to bring more of that expertise to underserved Vermonters in the Burlington Area.”

The City of Burlington has welcomed more than 5,000 new Americans over the last 30 years. In fact, Burlington’s Mayor Miro Weinberger notified the federal government that the city will continue to welcome refugee resettlement following an order issued by President Trump in September that allows states to refuse refugees.

In a letter to the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Mayor Weinberger stated: “Refugees are a vital and valued part of our community, and we have been proud to welcome many people fleeing situations of persecution and great upheaval to our small city.” As a result, immigration services are more needed in Burlington now, as well as across the entire state, than ever.

Interested applicants should watch for an email about Summer and Fall 2020 clinic applications in the coming weeks. The clinics seek new students every semester, and they fulfill required experiential credit hours.

Editor’s Note: Publisher Arielle King serves as 2L Trustee on Vermont Law School’s Board of Trustees.

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