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Profile: Practice, Practice, Practice
Asked why he was intrigued by the University of Michigans general counsel opening, TIMOTHY LYNCH quotes Wolverines football coach Brady Hoke: Its Michigan, for Gods sake. The school would be a dream client for any lawyer, says Lynch.
Lynch replaces SUELLYN SCARNECCHIA, who stepped down in May to return to a faculty position at the University of Michigan School of Law.
The new GC and vice president comes to Ann Arbor from the U.S. Department of Energy, where he served as deputy GC for litigation and enforcement. Lynch helped establish the departments Office of Enforcementnow a five-lawyer divisionin 2010 and served as its acting GC from December 2011 through April 2012.
At Michigan, Lynch will be advising the universitys president, board of regents, and other executive officers. Hell also supervise a legal department of approximately 20 lawyers and will have primary responsibility for managing the institutions litigation, legal policy issues, compliance, and any major transactions.
Lynch began his legal career as a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He subsequently joined Shea & Gardner in Washington, D.C., but decided that a job in the public sector would give him more trial exposure.
He was an assistant U.S. attorney for seven years, serving in the U.S attorneys office in Washington, D.C., which was a great opportunity, he says, to run my own cases. Lynch later joined the Securities and Exchange Commission, where he was assistant chief litigation counsel.
Lynch acknowledges that the field of higher education is very specialized, but his preparation includes almost two decades experience analyzing statutes, complex regulations, and litigation risks.
While at the Energy Department, Lynch was an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, where he taught white-collar crime law, and at Georgetown University Law Center, where he taught summer courses on evidence. Lynch has given himself atleast a year to focus exclusively on his new position, although he says he will miss the classroom.
Lynch has a B.A. from the University of Rochester, where he majored in English and economics. He spent a lot of time during his undergrad years practicing jazz piano at the Eastman School of Music, but, he says, I ultimately decided my talents were in the law, not in playing. Lynch spent two years on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant before earning his law degree in 1995 from Georgetown University.
Musical interludes notwithstanding, Lynch says that as far back as he can remember, he knew that he wanted to practice law. He still sees the desire to do meaningful work as something all those in the profession share: I saw that people with legal jobs had a way to make a difference in society.