UM names new chief legal counsel

2013-02-18T13:49:00Z 2013-02-19T00:08:09Z UM names new chief legal counselBy MARTIN KIDSTON Missoulian The Billings Gazette
February 18, 2013 1:49 pm  • 

MISSOULA — A University of Montana Law School graduate and former director of the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office has been named the school’s new legal counsel, effective this week.

Lucy France, who earned her law degree with honors from UM in 1993, replaces former UM legal counsel David Aronofsky, who retired from the position last year after 18 years of service.

UM President Royce Engstrom selected France for the post.

“It’s a real privilege, and I take the responsibility very seriously,” France said Monday. “There are some big shoes to fill. (Aronofsky) has been a great asset.”

The university’s top lawyer reports to the president and manages all legal issues facing the school. France will also be part of the Montana University System legal team and will work closely with attorneys in the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.

France has co-chaired the Diversity Advisory Council since 2009. As chair of the Diversity Task Force, she helped spearhead a Diversity Strategic Plan, and led the diversity standard for NCAA accreditation.

“She has accumulated that knowledge through her work at UM these past years,” Engstrom said of France. “She has been a tremendous asset to the university and will continue to be so in her new role.”

After law school, France clerked for U.S. District Court Judge James Battin during 1993-94. She worked in the Missoula law firm of Garlington, Lohn & Robinson from 1995 to 2008, and became a partner in 2003.

Last June, Aronofsky announced his retirement, prompting the university to re-evaluate the duties of three offices that report to the president, including legal counsel, director of the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office, and the internal audit division.

“There aren’t any many changes,” France said. “The position reports to both the university president and the Montana Board of Regents, but the primary responsibility is to the president here and the affiliated campuses on the west side of the Divide.”

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