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Dept. of Energy lawyer to be next general counsel

By Adam Rubenfire, Daily News Editor
and Peter Shahin, Daily Staff Reporter
Published November 13, 2012

Timothy Lynch, the deputy general counsel for litigation and enforcement at the U.S. Department of Energy, has been recommended as the University’s next vice president and general counsel by University President Mary Sue Coleman.

If approved by the University’s Board of Regents at its monthly meeting on Thursday, Lynch will assume the position on Jan. 7. He’ll suceed Suellyn Scarnecchia, who stepped down in May to return to a faculty position at the University Law School.

In her recommendation to the regents, Coleman wrote that Lynch is highly qualified for the position as the University’s chief attorney.

“I look forward to the leadership, depth of experience, and vision that Mr. Lynch will bring to the University as vice president and general counsel,” Coleman wrote. “The Board of Regents and I are deeply committed to maintaining a well-respected and superior office of general counsel for the university, and we are very confident that Mr. Lynch will excel in managing this area.”

Associate General Counsel Debra Kowich assumed the position of interim vice president and general counsel while the University searched for someone to permanently fill the position. The national search for Scarnecchia’s replacement was led by Sally Churchill, the University’s vice president and secretary.

As of Tuesday evening, Lynch was not available for comment. If approved, his contract will last from January 2013 through January 2018. University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald declined to provide details regarding Lynch’s proposed compensation package until after his appointment is considered by the regents on Thursday.

Lynch has spent almost his entire legal career working with the U.S. government. After he graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1995, he worked as a law clerk for U.S. Appeals Court Judge Cornelia Kennedy for about a year.

After working for the now defunct Washington, D.C.-based Shea & Gardner law firm for about six years, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, specializing in fraud and public corruption. Next, Lynch served as an assistant chief litigation counsel with the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission, before joining the Department of Energy in April 2010.

During his career as an assistant U.S. attorney, Timothy received praise from his peers and superiors for his prosecuting skills in a number of cases. At the Department of Justice, he served as the “point” attorney for residents who were exposed to radiation hazards from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state.

While he was at the Department of Energy, Lynch briefly served as acting general counsel from December 2011 to April 2012, after then acting general counsel Sean Lev became the deputy general counsel at the Federal Communications Commission.

In a question and answer session with the Virginia Law Weekly, he told the paper he was proud to be a part of the Department of Energy, and praised the agency’s leadership on alternative energy and sustainability issues.

“In all seriousness, the Department is doing truly important and cutting-edge work now to foster clean-energy projects that will help our nation wean itself from foreign oil and safeguard the environment while creating new jobs,” Lynch said.

Lynch teaches about evidence as an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and also teaches white-collar crime as an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia Law School.

When asked by the paper what kind of main character he would write in a novel, Lynch replied “A retired DA who fishes during the day and at night reads Oliver Wendell Holmes opinions, drinks whiskey, plays jazz piano, and works on pro-bono criminal defense cases with his friend, Parnell. Oh, damn, that’s Anatomy of a Murder. I’ll have to keep at it.”