Rodney Smolla to lead Vermont Law School

An experienced higher education leader will take office on July 1.

Vermont Business Magazine the Vermont School of Law (VLS) The Board of Directors today announced that it has named Rodney A Smolla incoming President of VLS. The higher education leader and legal educator, litigator, scholar and author will become president of the school on July 1.

“After an extensive national search, the board is satisfied that Rod Smolla is the right person at the right time for Vermont Law School,” said Glenn Berger JD’78, chairman of the board. “His unique blend of college and law school experience, combined with an impressive academic record and inclusive leadership style, will give VLS tremendous momentum as we redefine how we educate future leaders for the community. and the world.”

Smolla succeeds Beth McCormack, who was appointed President and Acting Dean in January 2021 following the resignation of Thomas McHenry in November 2020.

Professor Smolla’s appointment represents the first in a series of staff and operations transformations called for in a board-adopted strategic plan to elevate the school’s world-renowned environmental program and premier restorative justice program in its gender, and to increase enrollment and institutions reputation by attracting a wider audience of potential students and donors.

This plan has split what has until now been a Joint President/Dean position, allowing the new President to focus on higher-level strategies and external and internal relationships that are important to the future of the school, and the implementation of the strategic plan itself. . Additional personnel and lineup announcements are expected later this summer.

Professor Smolla will join VLS from Delaware Law School at Widener University, where he has served as Dean and Professor of Law since 2015. He previously served as President of Furman University and Dean of Law Schools at Washington University and Lee and the University of Richmond.

“I am delighted to accept the invitation to come to South Royalton as the new president of Vermont Law School,” Smolla said. “This is a school with a proud history and I am deeply honored to join as we move forward, in the spirit of that proud history, to continue to promote student preparation and the advancement of the greater good, faithful to the school’s motto: Law for the community and the world.

An accomplished litigator and scholar, Professor Smolla is renowned for his work in constitutional law, civil rights, freedom of expression and media law, particularly on issues relating to defamation and privacy. In addition to serving as a faculty member at William and Mary, DePaul, University of Illinois, and University of Arkansas Law Schools, he has served as a visiting professor at Duke Law Schools, University of Georgia, University of Indiana, Denver University , and the University of Melbourne.

He has presented cases before state and federal courts across the country, including the United States Supreme Court, and is the author of more than 100 articles published in law journals and other publications, as well as five published multi-volume legal treatises. and updated twice a year by Thomson Reuters. His book Deliberate intention: A lawyer tells the true story of the murder according to the bookwas made into a TV movie by FX, with Timothy Hutton playing the role of Smolla.

A first-generation student, Professor Smolla earned his JD from Duke University School of Law and his BA, cum laudefrom Yale University.

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt. (April 14, 2022) – Vermont Law School Vermont School of Law | Vermont School of Law

Jon J. Epps