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This winter, Ada Meloy became acting general counsel at the institution where she has spent 30 years of her life: three as a law student, and — after a five-year stint as an associate at Cahill Gordon & Reindel — the past 27 as a member of New York University’s legal department. As acting GC, Meloy, 55, oversees legal matters for 14 NYU schools and divisions. A native of Bethlehem, Pa., Meloy deals with governance, educational, and other issues at her office on NYU’s Greenwich Village urban campus. (NYU is one of the city’s largest real estate investors.) Education figures prominently in her private life too: She helps supply prison inmates with books, and just went through the experience of advising her public school-educated son with his college application process. Meloy spoke with Corporate Counsel two weeks into her new job. Corporate Counsel: As a GC at an academic institution, what unique issues do you face? Ada Meloy: [Working in this legal department] requires some familiarity with the general governance of nonprofits, as well as more particular matters overseen by the New York State Department of Education or the board of regents, and all of the matters that affect a large institution operating in New York City in the 21st century. CC: Any current examples? AM: We are involved in [issues involving] the [USA] Patriot Act, and Sarbanes Oxley-type initiatives that are being looked at by nonprofits. CC: How does the Patriot Act affect NYU? AM: The Patriot Act sometimes affects the rights of the individuals who make up NYU, whether they be faculty, students, librarians, or other employees. It is part of our responsibility to try to comply with laws, rules, or regulations that on their face may appear to be in conflict [with those rights]. CC: How did you get involved in the Prisoners’ Reading Encouragement Program [a project Meloy cofounded five years ago to provide books and scholarships to state prison inmates]? AM: I became interested in criminal justice issues in New York State through a program of study circles sponsored by the New York League of Women Voters that brought to my attention the huge growth in prisons and prisoners in the state in the last 20 years. I participate in collecting donations of thousands of books per year, as well as communications with the state library coordinator for the department of correctional services. We also do what we can visitwise, usually about one or two visits a year. [We're] occasionally able to speak with inmates about their requests for supplementing the library collections. CC: You’ve got two teenage children, Austin, 18, and Blythe, 14. Why did you think it’s beneficial to send them to public schools? AM: It’s important that there’s good public education, and I believe that will only happen if people who have the option [to go to private schools] are actually participating in those [public] schools. I also think that meeting a wide variety of people is to [my children's] benefit in life. CC: Do your children want to go to NYU? AM: My son and I were both excited to learn that he has been admitted [by] early decision to NYU for the fall of 2005. And my daughter is thinking about it as well. CC: Since you’re acting GC, is there a search going on for a permanent one? Would you be interested? AM: To the best of my knowledge, there’s not a search going on yet. [Former NYU GC S. Andrew] Schaffer had been here so long and was so highly regarded that there certainly was no contingency plan. If called, I would love to serve.

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