FHSU's general counsel Todd Powell to leave university, return to private practice

Todd Powell, a Fort Hays State University alumnus who went on to law school and later returned to serve as the university's general counsel, will leave that post on Dec. 31 to return to private practice beginning in early 2015.

Powell said he will join an established Hays firm to focus on an array of legal matters including corporate and transactional law, probate, and civil and appellate litigation.

"My 10 years at the university have been the most rewarding professional experience of my career so far," he said. "When I was hired, President Hammond told me that I would gain experience in many unique areas of the law. He was right about that."

Powell said the timing for a move is right. He has just completed 10 years at the university, and an opportunity in private practice has been presented to him. "I am excited by the opportunity to stay in Hays and return to private practice," Powell said.

"I'm thankful that I had the privilege to work with Todd over the past four months," said Dr. Mirta M. Martin, FHSU president. "A strong organization depends on strong legal counsel. He has provided that. Hays is fortunate that Todd and his family are staying in the community, and I know he will continue to be a loyal Tiger. I also know that many of the initiatives he started will continue to bear fruit after he has started the next phase of his career."

Powell graduated from FHSU with a B.A. in history in 1995 and earned his Juris Doctor in 1998 from Washburn University School of Law. He began practice in 1999 with Cavanaugh, Smith & Lemon, P.A., Topeka, in areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, labor law, appellate and administrative law. He was also an adjunct professor of law at Washburn.

He began work as FHSU's general counsel and executive assistant to the president in the fall of 2004.

"The general counsel position at FHSU presented me with legal issues that were challenging and complex due to their variety, breadth and scope, and helping to resolve those issues was extremely rewarding," he said.

An example was the university's wind project.

"That was a unique accomplishment," he said. "It was a great example of the university being a leader and an innovator, and I was really pleased to be able to assist in the process."

"The chance to serve my alma mater and help the university deliver a quality education to its students has been very fulfilling. I made a lot of friends and developed many close professional relationships. I'm going to miss the interaction with what I regard as a very dedicated and talented group of professionals.

"I want to thank Dr. Hammond for the opportunity to serve the university, and I wish Dr. Martin well in her tenure as president."

In keeping with university policy, a national search will be conducted to select a permanent general counsel.

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