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The words “bucolic,” “serene,” and “quaint” are not normally associated with a law school. But it’s common to hear these and similar descriptions of Vermont Law School in rural South Royalton, VT (population 700). How rural you ask? The nearest traffic light is purportedly 27 miles away. Yeah. That rural.

But even this frozen-in-time New England hamlet is not immune from the relentless winds of change in legal education. In late June, Vermont Law School announced that it would be terminating tenure for 14 of its 19 tenured faculty. In doing so Vermont has, at least in the media, become the de facto example of the significant financial and operational challenges faced by independent law schools.

This matters to me for a host of reasons, primary among which is that I am a proud graduate of Vermont Law School. Class of 1994. Still have the skis I used to get to class in rough winter weather (to you flatlanders, “rough” equals 2+ feet of snow).

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