The person who will serve as the University of Minnesota general counsel till 2015

New legal eagle (MRP Photo / Alex Friedrich)


First day uofm 031
New legal eagle (MRP Photo / Alex Friedrich)

Here's an email from University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler naming the deputy general counsel, Bill Donohue, to replace Mark Rotenberg as the U's general counsel -- essentially, its chief attorney.

It sounds like an interim position of sorts. He'll start serving later this month until the end of June 2015. At that point, the U should have completed its search for a replacement.

Here's the full text:

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce William Donohue as the University's next general counsel, effective May 22, 2013, and continuing up to June 30, 2015, pending approval by the Board of Regents on May 10, 2013. I am delighted that Bill has accepted this critical position leading the University's Office of the General Counsel, and I look forward to working with him to advance the excellence of the University of Minnesota.

Bill has been deputy general counsel since 1996 and has served in Office of the General Counsel (OGC) since 1982. For many years, Bill was a litigator representing the University in state and federal courts. For the last several years, Bill has overseen the overall administration of the office, directing all University litigation and supervising OGC lawyers responsible for litigation and labor employment. Prior to coming to the OGC, Bill was on the staff of the Minnesota Attorney General. Bill is a graduate of Carleton College, and received his law degree cum laude from the University of Minnesota in 1974. He has taught The Law and Post-Secondary Institutions through the College of Education and Human Development for many years.

As general counsel, Bill will be responsible for leading the OGC in meeting the legal needs of the University by offering highly specialized legal services in many areas, including patent, trademark, and copyright law; technology licensing and commercialization; employment and labor relations; healthcare law and medical malpractice; and real estate transactions, development, and eminent domain.

As you know, we have had significant changes in our senior leadership team. By the end of the calendar year, fully two-thirds of my direct reports will have been here less than 2.5 years. While this transition has brought tremendous skill, expertise, and energy to the organization, it has also diminished our collective institutional memory. Ensuring stability and bringing deep institutional knowledge to this senior leadership role for the near term will be extremely helpful as the new leadership team comes together.

The role of the general counsel is a critical one to this institution. We will launch a search in 12 to 18 months, with the goal of onboarding a new leader at the end of Bill's term as general counsel. When the time comes, I am convinced this search will attract a large pool of very talented candidates from both private practice and the public sector.

I want to again thank Mark Rotenberg for his outstanding service to the University, and for building an exceptionally talented team to ensure a smooth transition. I wish him the very best as he assumes his new position.

I am confident that Bill's leadership qualifications, experience, and deep institutional knowledge will enable him to successfully lead the OGC and serve as a key member of my senior leadership group. Please join me in welcoming Bill Donohue as our new general counsel.


Eric W. Kaler


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