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University General Counsel Gail Norris to retire

March 11, 2019

Gail Norris, who has served as vice president and general counsel for the University since 2012 and senior counsel since 2005, has announced she plans to retire at the conclusion of the 2018-19 academic year.

Gail Norris

Gail Norris (University of Rochester / J. Adam Fenster)

As general counsel, Norris has oversight for all institutional legal matters, inclusive of the Medical Center (URMC), and leads the attorneys and day-to-day operations of the University’s Office of Counsel. A member of the University’s senior leadership team, Norris is the key legal adviser to the president, Board of Trustees, and leadership throughout the University.

“Gail’s informed legal guidance on institutional matters has meant a great deal to me as president and formerly as College dean, and she has been a truly wonderful colleague,” said University President Richard Feldman. “She has been instrumental in how the University has navigated some very complex issues in compliance, risk management, business and real estate, student affairs, and human resources, and has always represented the institution with the utmost integrity and professionalism. She has also been an outstanding member of the senior leadership team, playing a key role in a wide range of issues affecting all aspects of the University. I wish her well in what she sets out to conquer next.”

“Gail has been a great colleague and a wonderful friend.  Her support for the growth and success of our medical center has been invaluable,” said URMC CEO Mark Taubman. “Building on her experience in corporate law, Gail has helped us to form industry relationships that protect the integrity of scientific research and facilitate commercialization of discoveries into new patient treatments. She has worked closely with the URMC legal team to support expansion of the UR Medicine clinical care network and advances to our professional education programs in alignment with the goals of the University.”

Norris has provided the legal acumen for innumerable University initiatives, including expansion projects and contract agreements on all campuses, educational collaborations with other institutions, technology transfers and research commercialization, and policy and compliance updates. She has successfully managed many complicated legal situations within a complex institution.

“My 14 years at the University have been challenging and fulfilling, and I greatly appreciate the opportunities I have been given during my time here and the many exceptional people with whom I’ve worked,” said Norris. “Both I and the University are fortunate to have an outstanding team in the Office of Counsel who will continue to provide legal support after I retire.”

Before being named general counsel, Norris served as senior legal counsel focusing primarily in the areas of research, licensing and business transactions. . In March 2007, the position as director of the College Office of Technology Transfer was added to her responsibilities, where she developed strategies for the licensing and commercialization of intellectual property. In 2009, Norris was named vice provost of technology transfer, responsible for the development of University-wide policies in this area, as well as the procedures for review of invention disclosures, patenting and licensing.

From 1990 to 2000, Norris was a partner of the law firm of Nixon Peabody specializing in corporate law. In 2000, she became the general counsel for the U.S. operations of Celltech Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company based in the U.K. where she was responsible for all legal matters for the company’s U.S. operations.

Feldman said he will soon announce a search firm to conduct a national search to identify the next vice president and general counsel.   The search committee has been established:

  • Holly Crawford, Co-chair
    Senior Vice President, Administration and Finance, Chief Financial Officer, and Treasurer
  • Douglas W. Phillips, Co-chair
    Senior Vice President for Institutional Resources
  • Anthony Kinslow
    Associate Vice President for Human Resources
  • Amy Lerner
    Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Academic Director, Center for Medical Technology and Innovation; Co-Chair, Commission on Women and Gender Equity in Academia; Member, Faculty Senate
  • Nancy A. Lieberman ’77
    University Trustee
    Of Counsel, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
  • Gail Lione ’71
    University Trustee
    Senior Counsel, Dentons US LLP and Adjunct Professor of Intellectual Property, Georgetown University Law School
  • Thomas S. Richards
    University Trustee
    Chair, University of Rochester Medical Center Board; Former Mayor of Rochester and Retired Attorney
  • Jeffrey T. Runner
    Dean of the College and Professor of Linguistics and Brain and Cognitive Sciences
  • Elizabeth Stauderman
    Vice President for Communications
  • Mark B. Taubman
    CEO, University of Rochester Medical Center and UR Medicine; Dean, School of Medicine and Dentistry; Senior Vice President for Health Sciences
  • Sasha P. Tulgan
    Deputy to the President

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