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DETROIT — A former University of Michigan Law School student and professor is returning home to run her alma mater’s legal affairs as the new general counsel. Suellyn Scarnecchia, current dean of the University of New Mexico Law School since 2003, is scheduled to take over as general counsel and vice president of the University of Michigan in July, following approval by the University of Michigan Board of Regents. University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman recommended Scarnecchia for the positions today. Scarnecchia, an Ann Arbor native, earned her law degree from University of Michigan Law School in 1981. Six years later, after practicing employment alw, she joined the faculty at UM as a clinical professor of law and later an associate dean. As a professor, she spent 15 years supervising students in a child advocacy law clinic that placed students in the real world of representing clients. She also handled cases herself, most notably the high profile “Baby Jessica” case about a contested adoption that raised questions about the rights of children and parents. “She has the proven ability to handle cutting edge litigation in the glare of the public spotlight, a record of solid leadership in academia, and a deep commitment to diversity and social justice,” Coleman said. Scarnecchia was the first woman to serve as dean of the New Mexico School of Law in Albuquerque, the state’s only law school. She serves on the New Mexico Supreme Court Task Forces on Professionalism and Access to Justice, and is a member of the American Bar Association New Deans Workshop Committee.

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