The environmental division offers a free legal clinic in collaboration with the Vermont Bar Association Pro Bono/Low Bono Program. The lawyers who staff the clinic have knowledge and experience in environmental law and land use issues.
The Environmental Court Pro Bono Project is a joint effort of the Vermont Bar Association, the Vermont Volunteer Lawyers Project and the Vermont Environmental Court. The Pro Bono Project attempts to provide legal assistance to individuals who may not be able to afford an attorney.
The free legal clinic is designed for those who are representing themselves in environmental cases. You may want to participate in the clinic if
- You are filing a case in the environmental division
- You are considering filing a case in the environmental division
- You are already involved in a case in the environmental division
- You who have had an enforcement action brought against them by a municipality, the Agency of Natural Resources, or the Natural Resource Board
The clinic provides advice and consultation only. A lawyer will meet with you for the appointment only and will not represent you in court or provide any services other than advice for that day. The lawyer will try to answer your questions and direct you to useful resources. They will keep any information you disclose confidential. You may, though, invite another person to accompany you to the appointment.
When: First Thursday of the month
Appointment Times: 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 pm
How: Call the environmental division at 802-951-1740 to make an appointment. Appointments are held remotely via phone or Webex.
If you are involved in a case in the environmental division, you may be eligible to have a lawyer represent you with no fee. The lawyer may assist in part or all of your case. Here are some examples of how a lawyer can help:
- Explain the process, requirements, and procedure so that you can avoid mistakes if you represent yourself
- Assist you to obtain party status so that you can participate in a case to protect your property interests
- Defend you in a municipal enforcement action for alleged violation of zoning, subdivision, or other local land use regulations
- Defend you in a state enforcement action for alleged violation of Act 250, wastewater, wetland, or environmental protection rules or other state regulations
- Prepare for and/or represent you during mediation to settle your case
- Prepare documents required by the division, such as statement of questions on appeal, answers to motions for summary judgment, or legal memoranda
- Represent you in formal hearings in the environmental division
Eligibility for a pro bono lawyer depends upon your income. To find out if you qualify, call 1-800-889-2047 and ask about the Environmental Division Pro Bono Project. For more information, you can also call Mary Ashcroft at the Vermont Bar Association at 802-223-2020.