Vermont Press Releases

Vermont Law School, CLEO partner on pilot program to increase diversity in legal education

News Release — Vermont Law School
Jan. 5, 2016

Maryellen Apelquist, Director of Communications, Vermont Law School
office: 802-831-1228, cell: 802-299-5593, [email protected]

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt., Jan. 5, 2016––Vermont Law School is one of four schools in the nation to partner with the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) on a pilot program to enhance diversity in legal education by increasing opportunities for underrepresented minority, low-income, and historically disadvantaged students.

As a CLEO Legally Inspired Cohort (CLIC) partner, VLS will enroll five students who have completed CLEO’s Pre-Law Summer Institute and provide them with scholarships, mentorship, clinical training opportunities, and additional academic and support services to ensure success at the law school.

“Our partnership with CLEO represents Vermont Law School’s ongoing commitment to diversity and to training the next generation of leaders,” said Shirley Jefferson ’86, VLS associate dean for student affairs and diversity. “Our community is small and tightknit, but it’s also rich in opportunities that foster personal and professional growth—and that prepare our students to succeed in an increasingly diverse and interdependent global society. We’re proud to partner with CLEO and other institutions that share our commitment to helping disadvantaged individuals achieve their educational goals.”

Before enrolling at VLS, the five students, or CLIC Scholars, will have successfully completed the CLEO Pre-Law Summer Institute and a four-day CLIC seminar with 15 other students expected to participate in the program around the country. VLS is joined by partners Drake Law School, University of Idaho College of Law, and William Mitchell College of Law.

In addition to CLEO, VLS has several partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the ultimate goal of which is to expand racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession.

Vermont Law School’s entering juris doctor (JD) Class of 2015 includes students from 37 states and territories and several countries. The class is 57 percent female, 43 percent male, and 17 percent people of color. For more information about the class and admissions at VLS, visit

CLEO is committed to diversifying the legal profession by expanding legal education opportunities to minority, low-income, and disadvantaged groups. Founded in 1968 when the number of lawyers of color was less than 1 percent, CLEO has produced more than 10,000 alumni who have excelled in every area of the legal profession to include judges, corporate attorneys, law school deans and professors, practitioners, politicians, and more. For more information about CLEO, visit

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