Douglas Peterson selected as the new General Counsel for the U of M

August 23, 2016
Flowering tree outside Northrop

The University of Minnesota announced today that Douglas Peterson has been selected as the new General Counsel for the University of Minnesota. Peterson will begin his new role on September 19, 2016, pending Board of Regents approval during the September 8-9 meeting.

Peterson comes to the University of Minnesota from Stinson Leonard Street LLP, a top 100 law firm with an office in Minneapolis. There, he was a partner practicing in the areas of complex business litigation and white-collar defense. Previously, he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota where he tried a variety of criminal cases and argued numerous cases before the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. He has also served as a clerk for the Honorable Robert G. Renner, U.S. District Judge for the District of Minnesota.

"The General Counsel is an extraordinarily important role, and we are confident that Doug's knowledge of the law and extensive litigation and public sector experience will ensure a smooth transition," said Board of Regents Chair Dean E. Johnson. "We want to thank Bill Donohue for his commitment to public service. His leadership has made the University and our state a better place, and we wish him well in his retirement."

As chief legal officer of the University of Minnesota system, Peterson will provide legal services to the Board of Regents and senior leadership, and will lead the Office of the General Counsel. The General Counsel oversees the remarkably varied legal needs of the University system, covering litigation and transactional matters. This includes managing the University's legal representation in all litigation and administrative proceedings, with hundreds of such cases pending each year. As well, all University contracts relating to employment, purchasing, real estate, patents and technology marketing, sponsored research, external sales and other activities are subject to General Counsel review.

"The Office of the General Counsel has a record of providing excellent customer service and achieving high levels of employee engagement," said Peterson. "I am grateful to Chair Johnson, President Kaler and University leadership for the opportunity to work to build on this strong foundation to deliver exceptional legal services to the University community."

"We want to thank former Law School Dean David Wippman and alumnus Bruce Mooty for co-chairing the search committee," said University of Minnesota President Eric W. Kaler. "We are also grateful to all of the search committee members who conducted a thorough and rigorous national process to identify and advance an exceptional pool of candidates, and to those in the campus community, including Regents, who participated in candidate interviews and shared their assessments of the candidates."

Peterson replaces General Counsel Bill Donohue, who is retiring September 1, after 34 years of service to the University. Greg Brown, Associate General Counsel, will serve as Interim General Counsel from September 2, 2016 to September 18, 2016. 

Correction: The post has been updated to reflect that the interim general counsel's appointment will run through September 18.

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