Portrait of Vanessa Laird
Senior Fellow
146 Humphrey School
Currently reviewing Ph.D. applicants
Areas of Expertise
Collaborative governance; health care policy; health privacy law; international law and negotiation; integrative leadership


    Vanessa Laird is Senior Fellow of the Center for Integrative Leadership, for which she previously served as executive director, and a member of the graduate faculty of the Humphrey School and the affiliate faculty of the Law School. The Center is a University-wide center jointly initiated by the Humphrey School and the Carlson School of Management, and also affiliated with the College of Education and Human Development, the School of Public Health, and the Law School.

    Laird has extensive experience ranging across private, public, and academic institutions. She previously served as general counsel for Optum, Inc., and is a former vice president and senior legal counsel for Medtronic, Inc., having led the legal team of the company’s largest division and served as senior counsel for Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

    Prior to her work at Medtronic, Laird practiced U.S. and international law in the Legal Adviser’s Office at the U.S. Department of State, and served as an International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations. She engaged with other governments on diverse legal issues, including litigation against the Department and the drafting, implementation, and interpretation of statutes, treaties, and regulations.

    Laird was also on the Faculty of Laws at the University of Sheffield in England, teaching jurisprudence and legal systems, and clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for Judge Stephen Trott.


    JD (Stanford Law School, 1988)

    MA (Worcester College, University of Oxford, 1985)

    BA (Williams College, 1983)