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BU Gets New Top Legal Officer

Erika Geetter succeeds Todd Klipp, who retains other duties

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Todd Klipp, the University’s top legal officer for the last quarter century, is stepping down from that job to concentrate on other duties, and President Robert A. Brown has named one of his deputies to replace him.

Klipp’s new title will be senior vice president, senior counsel, and secretary of the Board of Trustees, effective October 1. Erika Geetter will take over as vice president and general counsel. She will oversee all of BU’s legal business, including litigation and matters involving both the University’s in-house counsel and outside attorneys. She will also join Brown’s senior leadership team.

Klipp will continue his responsibilities overseeing the Office of the Trustees, which coordinates meetings and communications for the board and serves as its liaison with the BU community. He will also continue overseeing the athletics department, the Equal Opportunity Office, and the Office of the Vice President for Administrative Services.

Klipp says he sought the reduced portfolio following the recent birth of his first grandchild and the death of his father last year. Those “significant life events provided an occasion for me to reflect on the wonderful career I’ve had here and that life is unpredictable. I decided that I wanted to scale back a little bit so that I could begin to spend more time with my family and friends, while at the same time maintaining a meaningful relationship with Boston University.”

The timing also is optimal, he says, because Geetter “has played a significant and meaningful leadership role. I feel very comfortable stepping away from the general counsel role at this time, knowing that the office is in exceptionally capable hands. I will still be available to Erika and to the office in any way that I can be helpful.”

Geetter says the biggest change in her new job will be “directly advising the president and Board of Trustees, something I’m very much looking forward to.” Otherwise, “Todd ran the office so well, and we have such competent and responsive attorneys, that I’m in the enviable position of not needing to make significant changes or go in a new direction.”

“I am very pleased that Erika Geetter has agreed to become our General Counsel,” President Robert Brown says,” as she will bring her many years of quality legal experience and leadership at the University to her new role.  I am sure we will continue to have  the quality legal services we have enjoyed during the long tenure of Todd Klipp in this role.”

Klipp began his BU career in 1984, became general counsel three years later, and was named a vice president in 1997. He became secretary of the Board of Trustees in 2005 and a senior vice president in 2011. He says his most significant work at BU spanned from 2002 to 2005, a period of instability in BU’s presidency until the inauguration of Brown. “I was intimately involved in trying to help steer the University through that difficult period,” he says, which culminated in improved board governance and stability and attracting to BU “a person as experienced, accomplished, and esteemed as Bob Brown.”

As general counsel, his principal legal practice has been trustee matters, nonprofit governance, charitable giving, trusts and estates, and matters of employment, policy, and general business. He is also an adjunct professor at the School of Law, where he has taught a seminar on nonprofits. Before coming to BU, he was an associate at New York and Boston law firms. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College in 1972 and a JD from Fordham University in 1976.

Geetter joined BU’s Office of the General Counsel in 1996 and became deputy general counsel in 2011, assisting in administration and representing Klipp on occasion. Her principal areas of practice have included employment issues, student affairs and health, disability and discrimination matters, litigation, and an array of issues including immigration, admissions, academic affairs, and regulatory and research compliance. She worked for the city of Nashville’s legal department and for Legal Services before coming to BU. She graduated from Yale University in 1985 and earned a JD from the University of Chicago Law School in 1989. She is a current member and a past cochair of the steering committee for the Boston Bar Association’s College and University Law Section.

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Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

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