Environmental Law Shareholder Peter V. Keays was recently honored with Vermont Law School’s Jeff & Genie Shields Prize in recognition of his work establishing the Peter W. Hall Memorial Scholarship Fund at Vermont Law School (“VLS”). Pete received the Shields Prize at VLS’s commencement ceremony on May 21st. The Shields prize recognizes members of the VLS community who have demonstrated creativity and ingenuity in encouraging others to financially support VLS. The goal of the prize is to help foster a culture of philanthropy at the school.

Pete and fellow honoree Jill M. Pfenning both served as law clerks to the Honorable Peter W. Hall of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. A giant of the Vermont legal community, Judge Hall was a longtime supporter of VLS, serving on its Board of Trustees for nearly a decade. After his death in March 2021, Pete and Jill established the Peter W. Hall Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will provide financial assistance to exceptional VLS students. To date, the fund has raised more than $130,000, with contributions from all 70 of Judge Hall’s former law clerks, sitting and retired judges, elected officials, VLS alumni, faculty, staff, trustees, and Judge Hall’s friends and family. Each scholarship recipient will be a VLS student who demonstrates academic merit, financial need, and strong character, and who personifies Judge Hall’s most notable characteristics: humility, empathy, integrity, good humor, love of Vermont, and a steadfast commitment to public service and the rule of law.

A shareholder in the firm’s Environmental Law Practice Group, Pete represents and counsels corporate, municipal, and nonprofit clients in a wide range of litigation, compliance, permitting, and transactional matters arising under federal and state environmental laws. Pete has successfully tried cases before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board and currently represents clients in cases pending in various federal district and circuit courts. He maintains a particular focus on the federal Clean Water Act and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund).

Pete earned his law degree, summa cum laude, from Vermont Law School, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Vermont Law Review. Prior to joining the firm, Pete served as a law clerk to the Honorable Peter W. Hall of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the Honorable Dana L. Christensen of the United States District Court for the District of Montana.

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