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  • Writer's picturePatricia Salkin

Government Lawyers Continue to be Prime Candidates for College and University Presidencies


The latest issue of the Municipal Lawyer, published by the New York State Bar Association contains an article describing the pathways to the presidency by many former government lawyers. Some of these presidents were appointed after holding elected office (mostly at the state and federal levels), others were appointed following successful careers in federal, state and local government agencies. Oftentimes the higher profile former public officials had no higher education experience prior to their appointments, whereas many of the presidents had careers in legal education subsequent to their public service often following law school or early in their legal careers.


The article explores what it is about the skillset of government lawyers that makes them particularly attractive candidates for the campus C-suite. Knowing how government works is key, but the network of connections, the ability to navigate legislative and executive policy changes and the ability to find and secure public financial support are all important. However, so too is the ability to quickly problem-solve unplanned issues that arise almost daily. The art of negotiation, collaboration and critically analyzing both challenges and solutions are also in the toolbox of successful government lawyers - and needed for effective campus leaders. Many government lawyers have also had experience as fundraisers for campaigns - another critical skill for successful presidents.


The article can be accessed on p. 20 in the publication linked below:


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