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JD/Master of Energy Regulation and Law

Vermont Law School is granting admission to this program in 2013; NEASC approval of and ABA acquiescence in the program are pending.

Vermont Law School offers students the opportunity to earn both a JD degree and a Master of Energy Regulation and Law (MERL) degree in three years, the period of time ordinarily required to earn the JD degree alone. To earn both degrees on this accelerated schedule, JD/MERL students are permitted to count up to nine credits of energy and environmental course work toward both degrees. In addition, MERL students take classes in the VLS Summer Session and/or pursue an externship during the summers after their first and second years.

The JD/MERL degree program responds to the rapid growth of the alternative energy sector as well as the environmental problems associated with traditional energy production. The emergence of a smart electric grid and the prospects for electrifying the transportation sector are revolutionizing the energy field. The JD/MERL program provides students with practical training in public advocacy and writing for a legal policy audience, opportunities for independent research with support from faculty, and externships at organizations around the country and the world.

Students may seek enrollment in the JD/MERL joint degree program at the same time they apply for admission to the JD program, but the option to enroll in the JD/MERL program remains open to students through the end of their first year.

Graduating with two degrees from Vermont Law School is an attractive path for students who are passionate about energy issues. The joint degree program offers a deeper and richer educational experience. It also opens up additional employment options by equipping students with a greater understanding of energy law and credentials demonstrating a strong commitment to the field.

Career Pathways

The JD/MERL program prepares students to pursue careers in energy law and policy, including practicing energy law with a private law firm, serving as legal counsel or policy advisor to federal or state regulatory bodies, or advocating for renewable energy development or energy conservation on behalf of non-profit groups.


The curriculum for the JD/MERL joint degree program combines the curriculum for the JD degree with the energy and environmental courses and experiential opportunities of the MERL degree. 

What Students and Graduates Say

Vermont Law School graduates go on to influential careers in the United States and abroad, with governments, non-profit organizations, and leading private firms.

Faculty   New window icon

The faculty at Vermont Law School includes dedicated teachers, scholars, litigators, policy makers, and mentors for our students.

Admissions   New window icon

An excellent general education, along with an inquiring, disciplined, and cultivated mind, are the most important qualifications for the study of environmental law and policy. Vermont Law School looks favorably on undergraduate and graduate programs that give students an opportunity to analyze critically and think creatively. Precision, fluency, and economy in speaking and writing are the most vital skills for success at Vermont Law School.