Sharon Reich Paulsen

The Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel serves as the university’s chief legal officer, overseeing the university’s legal affairs and directing the Office of the General Counsel. The Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel provides legal advice and counsel to the board of trustees, the president, officers and senior leaders, and other persons responsible for the management of academic and administrative units. This includes advice regarding transactional matters, dispute resolution, legal and regulatory questions related to or arising out of university activities, and policy formulation. The Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel also serves as assistant secretary to the board of trustees.

As Senior Advisor to the President and as a member of the president’s senior leadership team, Ms. Reich Paulsen also provides advice regarding strategic priorities and their implementation, reputational issues, and crisis-management situations.


Sharon Reich Paulsen earned her Bachelor of Arts in Economics, summa cum laude, from Yale University, and her Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School, where she was note editor of the Stanford Law Review and received the Board of Editors Award for her editorial contributions.

After clerking for the Honorable Harlington Wood Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, she joined the U.S. Department of Justice through the Civil Division Honors Program and served as a trial attorney, primarily engaged in constitutional litigation. She later joined the Business Litigation Department of Faegre & Benson (now Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP) in Minneapolis, where she handled a wide range of business and employment disputes, until she entered academia as Associate Dean at the University of Minnesota Law School.

As Associate Dean, Ms. Paulsen revamped the University of Minnesota Law School’s legal writing program and trial practice program, created a new moot court program, a new civil litigation concentration, a Master of Science in Patent Law program, and a summer mock trial institute. For the majority of her time at the law school, she also served as Senior Associate Dean for Administration, overseeing all aspects of the administrative operation, including admissions and career services, and she advised the dean on innovation, strategic planning, and experiential learning. Teaching responsibilities included Conflict of Laws, Trial Practice, Judicial Externship, and a variety of litigation-related courses.

Ms. Paulsen took a leave from the law school from 2004 to 2011 to serve as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief of Staff to the Provost of the University of Minnesota. As chief advisor to the provost, she was the liaison with senior campus academic and administrative leaders, ensuring effective implementation of academic initiatives, handling grievances and legal issues, preparing and implementing the annual work plan for the Office of the Provost, and supervising all professional and support staff as well as daily management and operations in the Provost’s Office.

She played a leading role in overseeing and implementing the academic side of the university’s strategic positioning effort. She returned to the position of Associate Dean at the University of Minnesota Law School in 2013.

Ms. Paulsen joined the leadership team at the University of Vermont in 2016.

Curriculum Vitae

Contact Information

85 South Prospect Street
357 Waterman Building
Burlington, VT 05405-0160
Phone: 802-656-8585

Website: Office of the General Counsel


Office Manager, Office of the General Counsel

Jennifer Dooley
Phone: 802-656-8585