VT Law School’s U.S.-China Partnership Names New Faculty Director


SOUTH ROYALTON, VT –– Vermont Law School Professor Jason Czarnezki, an internationally recognized scholar in environmental and natural resources law and policy, has been appointed faculty director of VLS’s U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to continue the Partnership’s work in building  China’s capacity for individual and institutional action to solve environmental and energy problems,” Czarnezki said.

Established in 2006, the U.S.-China Partnership works to improve China’s environmental governance and rule of law, including criminal and civil enforcement of environmental laws and regulations that have been widely ignored during China’s economic boom. “We’re excited to have such an accomplished scholar join our team,” said Assistant Professor Siu Tip Lam, program director of the Partnership.

Under the leadership of Czarnezki and Lam, the Partnership will enter a new era of increased scholarship and academic exchange with Chinese institutions that solidifies VLS’s role as the leading U.S. law school working on Chinese environmental and energy law and policy issues.

Czarnezki will work with Lam to:

  • Expand research and policy development projects on Chinese environmental and energy law;
  • Coordinate research and scholarship between U.S.and Chinese scholars and students;
  • Help develop and implement capacity building programs for Chinese government officials, scholars and lawyers.
  • Strengthen the VLS curriculum on Chinese environmental law and policy;
  • Develop internship programs for VLS students in China;
  • Create academic and student exchanges between VLS and Chinese institutions;
  • Promote scholarly publication and lectures by VLS faculty and students on China’s environmental issues.

Czarnezki, who received a law degree from The University of Chicago, has held academic appointments at Marquette UniversityLawSchool, DePaul University College of Law, and Sun Yat‑sen (Zhongshan) University in Guangzhou, China, where he spent the 2009-2010 academic year as a J. William Fulbright Scholar. He has presented his work on environmentalism, natural resources law, food policy, global climate policy and U.S.-China relations at universities, public interest organizations, government institutions, and conferences throughout the United State sand Asia. He is working on a series of articles about U.S.government involvement in Chinese environmental policy and an edited volume on the future of Chinese environmental policy.

Lam, who has been the U.S.-China Partnership’s program director since May 2010, will continue to direct its capacity building programs in China. Lam came to VLS from the Massachusetts Attorney General Office, where was an assistant attorney general in the Environmental Protection Division. She received her law degree from Northeastern University Law School. A native of Hong Kong, she speaks Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese.

“Professor Czarnezki will deepen our ability to serve students and faculty from China and the U.S. as we further integrate our work in China with our academic program here in Vermont,” said Dean Jeff Shields.

The U.S.-China Partnership has trained more than 1,000 Chinese lawyers, judges, government officials and others, conducted numerous workshops and undertaken other initiatives. The Partnership recently helped to establish China’s first public interest environmental law firm and a new university legal advocacy center devoted to environmental health and safety issues.

Much of the Partnership’s work has been done through grants from the U.S. Agency for International Development. VLS’s partners include Sun Yat-sen University Law School, the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims at the China University of Political Science and Law, the Vermont-based Regulatory Assistance Project, and the China Environment Forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

More information about the U.S.-China Partnership is available at

Full Press Release available here.