Paula Schaefer

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law

Paula Schaefer

Areas of Expertise

Procedural Law, Professional Responsibility


JD, 1996, University of Missouri School of Law
BA, (magna cum laude), 1993, University of Missouri


Paula Schaefer was named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 2019. She joined the faculty of the University of Tennessee College of Law in 2008. As a lawyer, she practiced in the area of business litigation at Shook, Hardy & Bacon and Bryan Cave in Kansas City, Mo. After law school, she clerked for Ann K. Covington, the first woman to serve on the Missouri Supreme Court.

She teaches professional responsibility, civil procedure, e-discovery, pre-trial litigation, and behavioral legal ethics. She coordinates and co-teaches the Semester in Residence in Nashville. She is interested in developing innovative teaching methods to prepare students for practice. Schaefer teaches an experiential section of civil procedure that puts students in the role of lawyer to complete various projects throughout their first semester of law school. She has developed a simulation that generates thousands of documents that her students use to conduct e-discovery in her pre-trial litigation and e-discovery classes.

Schaefer’s scholarship considers issues of attorney ethics, fiduciary duty, and behavioral legal ethics. Her articles have been published in Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Maryland Law Review, Florida State University Law Review, and other journals. She is the author of Developing Professional Skills: Civil Procedure, the co-author ofDeveloping Professional Skills: Professional Responsibility, and the co-author of Professional Responsibility in the Life of the Lawyer.

She also writes in the area of legal education reform, with a focus on professionalism issues. She was one of many authors of the book Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World.

Schaefer currently serves as a subject matter expert for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam. She has received the Harold Warner Outstanding Teacher Award, the Bass, Berry & Sims Award for Outstanding Service to the Bench and Bar, and the Carden Award for Outstanding Service to the Institution. She regularly speaks on attorney ethics topics to various groups and is a contributing author to the Knoxville Bar Association’s “Schooled in Ethics” column.

A native Missourian, Schaefer’s claim to fame is that Harry S. Truman once called her “a cute little red-headed baby.” She has two teenage sons, Henry and Ben.