Howard named chief counsel to School of Medicine

William F. Howard, a longtime higher-education attorney, has been appointed associate vice chancellor and chief counsel to the School of Medicine. In addition to serving as the senior attorney for the School of Medicine, Howard also will serve as deputy general counsel for the University.

Michael Cannon (left), executive vice chancellor and general counsel, talks with William F. Howard, who was recently appointed associate vice chancellor and chief counsel to the School of Medicine, at their weekly meeting.

Howard will assume overall leadership for the delivery of legal services to the School of Medicine, supervising the work of the University’s associate general counsels as well as directly providing advice and counsel on all aspects of the school’s operations, including regulatory compliance, corporate transactions, clinical operations, research affairs, risk management and strategic planning.

Howard was most recently interim vice president and general counsel at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he was responsible for a wide range of legal, operational and financial aspects of the university and its medical center.

He was a key leader in planning, negotiating and implementing the spinoff and affiliation of the university’s clinical practice group into a tax-exempt corporation, in restructuring the university’s HMO subsidiary and in transferring teaching hospital operations to a new limited partnership. He joined George Washington in 1996 as deputy general counsel.

Before joining George Washington, Howard was deputy chief of the educational affairs division and assistant attorney general of the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, where he provided legal counsel to the University System of Maryland and its divisions.

“Bill has an extraordinary level of experience in handling the legal affairs of a university medical center,” said Michael Cannon, executive vice chancellor and general counsel.

“His 20 years of senior leadership and experience representing universities in all their dimensions and complexity will greatly benefit Washington University,” he said.

Howard said he is looking forward to working with Cannon and Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.

“The more I learned about Washington University and particularly its medical school, the more excited I became about the prospect of coming here and making a contribution to its mission,” Howard said.

“The school is obviously at the ‘top of the class’ nationally, and it presents a host of exciting challenges and opportunities to be associated with physicians and researchers who are at the cutting edge of science today. If I can help the school in some small way, I’d find it very rewarding,” he said.

Earlier in his career, Howard was an associate attorney with Venable, Baetjer and Howard in Baltimore and was a law clerk to Chief Judge Harrison L. Winter of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Howard earned a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1984, where he finished second in his class.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Michigan State University in 1980, graduating third in his class. He is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and the Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association.

Howard also was involved in community activities in the Baltimore area, including several environmental groups and the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Maryland Chapter.

“Bill’s superb track record in legal leadership stems not only from his formidable intellectual and legal skills, but also from his talents as a great listener and brainstormer on business and legal issues alike,” Cannon said.

“We’re just thrilled with the commitment Bill has made to Washington University.”