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Michael Roster, the general counsel of Stanford University, is leaving to become executive vice president and general counsel of Golden West Financial Corp., a holding company based in Oakland, Calif. Roster’s departure precedes the planned departure of current Stanford president Gerhard Casper. Casper’s replacement, who has not yet been selected, will decide how to permanently fill the general counsel’s office next fall. Debra Zumwalt, managing partner of Pillsbury Madison & Sutro’s Palo Alto office, will serve as Stanford’s acting general counsel beginning Feb. 1. Roster is best known for dramatically slashing Stanford’s legal department in 1994. He quickly whittled it down from 26 lawyers and paralegals to six lawyers, doling out most of Stanford’s legal work to a number of outside firms, including Pillsbury. The controversial move ultimately saved Stanford hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in legal fees and inspired a movement toward increased outsourcing at other universities.

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