U’s top lawyer to step down in summer

Mark Rotenberg has led the Office of the General Counsel for 20 years.
University of Minnesota General Counsel Mark Rotenberg takes notes as former Regent Steve Sviggum announces his resignation from the Board of Regents on Thursday, March 8, 2012, at McNamara Alumni Center. Rotenberg announced Monday that he would retire in June.
  • Mark Vancleave, Daily File Photo
April 09, 2013

After 20 years at the University of Minnesota, General Counsel Mark Rotenberg will step down this summer, he announced Monday.

As the University’s top lawyer, Rotenberg defends the University against all sorts of lawsuits.

Rotenberg will take over the position of vice president and general counsel at Johns Hopkins University in June, according to a University press release.

“It has been a great honor to represent the University of Minnesota as General Counsel for the past two decades,” Rotenberg said in the release. “While it is terribly difficult to leave the U … Johns Hopkins offers a unique and very special professional opportunity that I cannot pass up.”

He announced his resignation amid turmoil at the University: Both the University and South Dakota-based
Sanford Health have proposed taking control of Fairview Health Services, spurring concerns from many.

At the state Supreme Court last year, he defended the University’s discipline of a student for what it saw as inappropriate Facebook comments.

Like in the majority of lawsuits brought against the University, the school won that case.

Rotenberg was also head of OGC in 2011 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled — this time against the University — that for purposes of Social Security taxes, medical residents are not considered students.

He represented the University the first time it ever had a case in the U.S. Supreme Court over a question of the federal government’s role in state deadlines for filing discrimination claims. The University won.

Overall, Rotenberg’s litigation recovered more than $580 million for the University.

He also served as a professor in the University’s law school and as an adjunct professor in the College of Liberal Arts.

University President Eric Kaler said in a statement that Rotenberg built “one of the finest offices of general counsel at any university in the country.”

Rotenberg also provided legal counsel to the University Board of Regents, regents Chair Linda Cohen said.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for Mark,” Cohen said of Rotenberg’s new job. “But I also think it’s a loss for the University.”

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