The Vermont Bar Association has a long-term focus on developing a diverse, knowledgeable, and vibrant bar. In furtherance of this goal, the VBA announces a new program of CLE courses focused on the basics of law: “The Brown Bag Law Study Program” (BBLS).
Vermont is famous for being one of the few states where people can still study for the bar exam under an apprenticeship model. Vermont’s law office study (LOS) program allows participants to study 25 hours a week for four years with a Vermont attorney or a judge instead of going to law school. The parameters and requirements of the program are set out in Rule 7 of the Rules of Admission to the Bar of the Vermont Supreme Court.
The BBLS was inspired by the need to enhance learning opportunities available to candidates in the LOS program. It will also be useful for licensed attorneys with gaps in their knowledge, or who need a refresher on fundamental principles in specific areas of law practice.
In most cases, LOS participants get detailed training in the areas of law in which their sponsor practices. It is unlikely, however, that most will get an introduction to, much less an actual course of study in, those areas in which the sponsor doesn’t practice.
The BBLS is not intended to be a bar review course. Instead, volunteer presenters, all experienced practitioners, will offer one or two zoom webinars each month focusing on key terminology and concepts that are fundamental to attorney competence and which form the basis for testing areas of the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). Note: because the bar exam doesn’t test Vermont local law, that will not be the subject of the courses offered.
The UBE tests in some combination of these areas of: Business Associations, Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Family Law, Real Property, Secured Transactions, Torts and Trusts and Estates. Ethics is also tested in a component of the exam. Students at the BBLS will be provided with an introduction to the key terminology and concepts in each of these areas.
Courses will be offered for $25 each for LOS students and at the regular rate ($35 per credit hour for VBA members, $90 per hour for nonmembers). In addition to the reduced cost for these sessions, the VBA is offering free membership through August 31, 2023 for LOS students. Here’s a link to the special VBA member application form to sign up. Registration for the classes is through the CLE calendar on the VBA website.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Brown Bag Law Study” in the subject line. The classes will carry CLE credit consistent with the length of each program. The programs will be recorded and made available through the VBA’s digital library shortly after presentation.
The first three sessions have been scheduled for February, March, and April 2023. (See below). Sessions will run from 11:30 to 1 PM. The VBA is continuing to recruit instructors in several areas so if you’re interested email the VBA.
Now on the CLE Calendar at the VBA Website:
February – Real Property. The real property program will explore key terms and concepts in the area of real property law. The focus is on general common law, not on the specifics of Vermont law and practice. Topics to be addressed include: freehold estates, future interests, the rule against perpetuities, easements, mortgages and recording systems. There will be some fact patterns interspersed among the discussion of the subjects related to various issues with examples of analysis of the fact patterns in the context of the legal principles under consideration. The BBLS Course will consist of two 90-minute webinars taught by Jim Knapp, Esq., co-chair of the Real Property Section of the VBA. The sessions are scheduled for February 15 and 22, 2023. They will begin at 11:30 AM and end at 1 PM.
March – Contracts. Contracts are one of the foundational topics in the law. An understanding of basic contract principles is a key skill in the analysis of legal issues. The contract program will offer a review of terms and concepts in the areas of: contract formation, consideration, statute of frauds, contract conditions, Uniform Commercial Code – Article II – Sales and defaults and remedies. Benjamin Deppman, Esq. co-chair of the VBA Real Property Section, will lead the two 90-minute webinars on March 22 and 23, 2023. They will begin at 11:30 AM and end at 1 PM.
April – Criminal Law and Procedure. Criminal law covers the substantive law of crimes, such as the elements of offenses, (what makes an act larceny or assault etc.?) along with the rules of accomplice liability. Criminal procedure consists of the rules and constitutional considerations that govern criminal investigations and prosecutions. Our BBLS courses in these subjects will be two 90-minute sessions co-taught by VBA Board Members, Jordana Levine, Esq., who practices in criminal defense at Marsicovetere & Levine Law Group in White River Junction, and Alfonso Villegas, Esq., a deputy state’s attorney in the Washington County State’s Attorney’s office. The classes are scheduled for April 11 and 12, 2023 and will also be taught from 11:30 AM to 1 PM.