Vermont Press Releases

VT Law School student wins prestigious national award for article on environmental dispute resolution in New England forest

For Immediate Release
April 29, 2011

John Cramer
Associate Director of Media Relations
Office: 802.831.1106
cell: 540.798.7099
[email protected]

SOUTH ROYALTON, VT –– Vermont Law School student Ben Leoni ’11 has been selected by the Burton Awards for Legal Achievement as a winner of the 2011 Distinguished Legal Writing Awards. Leoni is the first VLS student to win the award, which is the highest honor in legal writing in the United States.

The VLS Legal Writing Program nominated Leoni’s article, “Resolving Disputes in the Northern Forest : Lessons From the Connecticut and Moosehead Lakes,” which was published in the Fall 2010 issue of the Vermont Law Review. The article dealt with environmental dispute resolution among private landowners and other stakeholders in the public land-use debate over logging, development, recreation and conservation in the vast forest stretching across northern New England

“I’m very surprised and honored by this award,” said Leoni, who will practice law in Portland , Maine , after graduating in May with a J.D. degree and Master of Environmental Law and Policy degree.

Established in 1999, the Burton Awards honor partners in law firms and law school students who use clear, plain and concise language rather than archaic, stilted legalese. This year, 15 student-authors were selected by a committee of professors from Harvard, Penn and Michigan law schools and luminaries from the bench such as former Chief Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Last year’s winners came from law schools that included Columbia, Emory, Georgetown , Iowa , Penn and William & Mary. The award winners will be feted at a black tie dinner at the Library of Congress on June 13. The guest speaker will be U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will accept the 2011 Book of the Year in Law Award.

Leoni’s article is available at:

More information about the Burton Awards is available at:

About Vermont Law School

Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, has the top-ranked environmental law program and one of the top-ranked clinical training programs in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. VLS offers a Juris Doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service, a Master of Environmental Law and Policy degree and two post-JD degrees, the Master of Laws in Environmental Law and the LLM in American Legal Studies (for international students). The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center and the South Royalton Legal Clinic. For more information, visit

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