Christopher Patti appointed as chief campus counsel at UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau issued the following statement:

BERKELEY— I am very pleased to announce that the University of California Regents have approved the appointment of Mr. Christopher M. Patti as Chief Campus Counsel for the UC Berkeley campus. The appointment was made after an intensive national search following Michael R. Smith’s announcement last June of his intention to retire from the University, after a long and distinguished career on the Berkeley campus.

Mr. Patti was chosen from among an outstanding field of candidates from both the public and private law sectors from across the country, in a search supported by attorney search consultants Major, Lindsey & Africa. The Chief Campus Counsel reports jointly to the Chancellor and to UC Vice President and General Counsel, Charles Robinson.

Chris Patti has served in the Office of the General Counsel (OGC), University of California, Oakland, since 1990. Since 2008, he has been Principal University Counsel for Academic Affairs Litigation. He has represented the University of California, including the Berkeley campus, in a broad array of some of its most difficult litigation and advice matters. His practice at OGC has focused on litigation and advice involving academic issues, student affairs, free speech, equal protection, privacy and public records. He has worked closely with the UC campuses, including Berkeley, on the development and revision of many important policies. He has represented the University in many high profile matters, successfully spearheading litigation that has returned substantial revenue to the University. He has worked extensively with federal, state and local government agencies, the legislature, community organizations and the media. He is a nationally recognized leader in many areas of higher education law and policy development.

Chris’ extensive familiarity with the University of California and the Berkeley campus and his deep understanding of the legal challenges confronting contemporary higher education will enable him to transition quickly to the Chief Campus Counsel position and make important contributions to the campus. Among his many challenges will be to expand Berkeley’s legal services over the next several years to serve adequately the constantly growing legal and compliance needs of the campus.

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Chris Patti obtained his J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School, where he was a member of the prestigious Order of the Coif, and Articles Editor of the Virginia Law Review. He clerked for the Honorable Frank M. Johnson, Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Prior to joining OGC he was a litigation associate at Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe in San Francisco.

Chris Patti will join the Berkeley campus on Monday, May 10, 2010 and will be located in the current offices of legal services on the second floor of California Hall. Mike Smith will be available for the next several weeks to effect a smooth transition with Chris.

Please join me in warmly welcoming Chris Patti as our new Chief Campus Counsel.

Robert J. Birgeneau
Chancellor, UC Berkeley