Legal affairs official is recognized

Photo Courtesy of Francine Bazluke
Photo Courtesy of Francine Bazluke

The vice president for legal affairs at UVM has been appointed as a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Francine Bazluke recently celebrated her 30th year as a member of UVM’s Office of the General Counsel, responsible for all of the University’s legal services.

The American Bar Foundation is a nonprofit organization that specializes in research and publications regarding issues like civil rights and the ways laws impacts society, according to their mission statement.

The foundation states that fewer than 1 percent of licensed lawyers in each jurisdiction are appointed as fellows.

Members are nominated based on superior demonstration of legal skills as well as exemplary involvement in their communities.

“There really wasn’t any more satisfying feeling that I could imagine,” Bazluke said. “Peer recognition is very important, as we all know.”

Her resume boasts extensive participation in the National Association of College and University Attorneys, with roles ranging from committee and board membership to the organization’s presidency.

She has spoken and written articles on gender identity and racial profiling within law enforcement, among other issues.

“She’s a heavyweight, she’s a top-notch outstanding lawyer and an outstanding person,” Deputy General Counsel Tom Mercurio said of Bazluke, his boss of  27 years.

“I think this is a great honor for her and very well-deserved. I’m sure it won’t be the last honor that she receives,” he said.

As a fellow, Bazluke will sponsor programming with the leaders of the legal world as well as supporting the foundation’s research.

Bazluke is looking forward to understanding “the public policy research that the foundation does.”

Mercurio noted that for students who were unaware of Bazluke’s role in UVM’s legal affairs, or even that there was an on-campus legal office, her appointment may bring well-deserved attention to their work.

“I didn’t know that there was a legal department, but it’s nice to know that we have support and legal expertise readily available,” sophomore Zach DeStefano said.

For pre-law students seeking to emulate her success, Bazluke has one piece of advice.

“I think it’s important to try to get as much experience – diverse experience – as possible, when in college and when in law school, working in different environments,” she said.