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UNM’s new university counsel has experience

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico’s new university counsel is a former NCAA attorney with years of experience in higher education.

Elsa Cole, who lives in Texas, will take over the post on June 1. Attorney Lee Peifer is currently university counsel on an interim basis, but he did not seek the position permanently. Peifer has been the interim university counsel since January 2010, after former counsel Patrick Apodaca took a job elsewhere.

Cole, who spent the last several years working for the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on urban poverty, said she is eager to return to a campus setting.

“I truly think that higher education is one of the most interesting practices of law that an attorney can have. There’s so many different issues, and they come at you fast. You have to be nimble,” Cole told the Journal.

Cole spent 13 years as a lawyer for the NCAA. She worked at the University of Michigan for eight years and helped represent the University of Washington for 13 years.

“I am pleased to find an attorney with such vast experience to fill this important role at the university. With her background in university counsel work, private foundation practice and the management of the legal issues and litigation affecting the NCAA, she will be a great asset to UNM,” UNM president Bob Frank said in a news release.

Cole, who graduated from the law school at Boston University, is also connected to UNM in a small way: her father is a former Lobo, class of 1941.

She said she and her husband will start looking for housing in Albuquerque soon.
— This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal