University of Vermont

Office of the General Counsel

Office Personnel

Our office is comprised of four attorneys and one staff member.

Francine Bazluke, Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel
Francine Bazluke joined the UVM Office of the General Counsel in 1985 and has served as general counsel since 1994. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and Juris Doctor from George Washington University Law School. She served as a law clerk for the Honorable Albert W. Coffrin, U.S. District Court, District of Vermont, and her experience before joining the UVM Office of the General Counsel also includes service as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C., and in private practice at a Burlington, Vermont, law firm. Ms. Bazluke is a past president of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) and has authored various professional publications, given conference presentations regarding legal issues in higher education, and taught graduate students enrolled in the UVM Higher Education Student Affairs program.

Thomas Mercurio, Deputy General Counsel
Thomas D. Mercurio joined the UVM General Counsel’s Office in 1988 and currently serves as Deputy General Counsel. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a Juris Doctor from Boston College. Before coming to UVM, Mr. Mercurio was a law clerk for the New Hampshire Supreme Court and an instructor at Vermont Law School. He was also a staff attorney with Vermont Legal Aid, Inc., and served as legal counsel to the Vermont Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education. Mr. Mercurio has taught courses in education law, higher education law, and special education law.

Lucy Singer, Senior Associate Counsel
Lucy A. Singer joined the UVM General Counsel’s Office in 2005 and currently serves as Senior Associate Counsel. She holds a bachelor's degree from Southwest Missouri State University; a graduate degree in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri; and a Juris Doctor degree from St. Louis University School of Law. After completing a federal clerkship with the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Ms. Singer was in private practice in St. Louis, Missouri, where her practice focused on education law for K-12 public school districts and private institutions and representation of institutions of higher education in Missouri and Illinois. In 1999, Ms. Singer became Associate General Counsel for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where she provided legal advice and service to the University. Ms. Singer has given presentations on various legal issues affecting higher education at national and regional conferences, as well as through virtual webinars. She has also taught graduate students in the University’s Higher Education Student Affairs program.

Jennifer Papillo, Assistant General Counsel
Jennifer L. Papillo, a native Vermonter, joined the Office of the General Counsel in August 2010 in the position of Assistant General Counsel. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Elon University, a Juris Doctor degree from Stetson University College of Law, as well as a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center, with a focus on tax exempt organizations and estate planning. Before coming to UVM, Ms. Papillo served as a law clerk for the American Cancer Society, Inc.’s Office of Corporation Counsel in Washington, DC, and a research assistant to Peter F. Lake in the writing of Beyond Discipline: Managing the Modern Higher Education Environment (Hierophant Enterprises, Inc., 2009). Ms. Papillo also worked with Mr. Lake in planning and executing the National Conference on Law and Higher Education in 2008, 2009 and 2010, jointly sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University College of Law and NASPA.

Administrative Staff

Dencie L. Mitchell
Before coming to UVM, Ms. Mitchell worked in the medical office/billing setting for eighteen years and then spent fourteen years working in local government, six of those years as a Town Clerk & Treasurer. She served as President to both the Chittenden/Grand Isle County Municipal Clerk & Treasurer’s Association and the Vermont Municipal Clerk & Treasurer’s Association. Ms. Mitchell came to UVM in March 2011, first as a temporary staff employee in the Office of the Provost, and then in the President’s Office. She joined the UVM General Counsel’s Office in July 2012 as Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel.


All materials provided on this website, including the contents of linked pages, are provided for general informational purposes only. While we seek to provide links to current and authoritative information, neither UVM nor this office guarantees the accuracy of information accessible online; therefore, this information must not be relied upon as substitute for legal advice from a qualified attorney. Please contact a UVM Office of the General Counsel attorney to obtain current legal advice specifically responsive to your questions.

Last modified October 23 2014 02:40 PM