Suellyn Scarnecchia, the dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law, was named the University’s new vice president and general counsel yesterday.

Scarnecchia, who graduated from the University’s Law School in 1981, will return to the campus where she was a clinical professor of law and an associate dean for the University’s Law School for more than 15 years.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to, once again, serve the University of Michigan,” Scarnecchia said in a statement.

Scarnecchia will be responsible for the University’s legal affairs, which includes serving as the senior legal counsel to a variety of University administrative bodies.

University President Mary Sue Coleman’s recommendation of Scarnecchia ended a national search to fill the position left vacant by Marvin Krislov, who left the University to become president of Oberlin College last year.

Krislov led the legal team that successfully defended the University in its 2003 Supreme Court case challenging its affirmative action policies.

Scarnecchia’s appointment will become official on July 1, pending approval by the University Board of Regents.

“Professor Scarnecchia’s outstanding combination of skills and experience made her the clear choice of the search committee,” Coleman said in the statement. “We are delighted to be welcoming back to Michigan a superb administrator, a creative problem solver, and an effective consensus builder.”

In Albuquerque, Scarnecchia was the first female dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law. Before leaving for New Mexico, she supervised students involved with the University’s Child Advocacy Law Clinic, which provides students with first-hand experience trying cases in court.

After suggesting that a position be created to oversee all the clinics at the University’s Law School, Scarnecchia later served as its first clinic coordinator.

Before working at the Law School, Scarnecchia spent six years at McCroskey, Feldman, Cochrane & Brock, a Battle Creek, Mich. law firm, where she focused on employment law.

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