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Shirley Jefferson

Shirley Jefferson

Vice President of Community Engagement and Government Relations
Associate Professor of Law
Dean's Office

JD, Vermont Law School, 1986

BS, Southeastern University


Curriculum Vitae

Shirley Jefferson


Shirley Jefferson joined Vermont Law School in 1999.  She served initially as a special assistant to Admissions and later as director of Alumni Affairs.  She is now associate dean for Student Affairs and Diversity and an associate professor of law who teaches Race and the Law.  As associate dean, she serves as the law school's senior student affairs officer.  She reports to the dean/president on fostering and advancing a strategic and integrated approach to student affairs.  She also is responsible for advising and mentoring the Student Bar Association and 35 other student organizations as they develop leadership abilities and practice life skills, self-governance and organizational management, and student activities.  She serves as a member of the president's/dean's administrative cabinet, creating a unique environment for manifesting a commitment to cultural diversity, promoting school-wide diversity goals and initiatives, and highlighting the value of diversity throughout VLS as it relates to the school's diversity plan.

Prior to joining VLS, Dean Jefferson served as general counsel for the United Black Fund, Inc., associate counsel in the law office of Wilhelmina J. Rolark, and a legislative assistant on the Committee on Judiciary to Council Member Wilhelmina J. Rolark.  While attending VLS, Dean Jefferson received the Alumni Association Award and was a Debevoise Family Scholarship recipient.  She also founded the Minority Student Group at VLS. She graduated summa cum laude from Southeastern University and was named to the dean's list.

Awards & Accomplishments

Awards, Honors or Grants

The National Black Pre-Law Conference recognized Dean Jefferson with the Commitment to the Cause Service Award "in recognition for outstanding commitment and service to helping aspiring Black lawyers better understand what it takes to be successful applicants, law students and lawyers."

Vermont Law School Black Law Students Association Leadership Award 2018

2018 CLEO Edge Diversity Award Recipient

Black Pre-Law Conference Commitment to the Cause Award 2014

Michigan State University College of Law Facilitating Change Agent Award for “Voices from the Mountaintop” presentation, 2018

Student Bar Association Staff Award 2001-2002

15th Annual National Black Pre-Law Conference and Law Fair Legal Education Access & Diversity Champion Award, 2019

 Windsor and Orange County Democratic Committee “Women Making a Difference” Award 2017

12th Annual Meeting of Law School Diversity Professionals Recognition Presentation Recognition Award for “Throwback Thursday: A Historical Analysis of Diversity”, 2018

Women’s Law Group Phenomenal Woman Award 2011 and 2013