William H. Hutchens, III, an attorney who has been practicing law in West Virginia for 22 years, has been named West Virginia University’s general counsel and vice president for legal affairs.
Hutchens, 56, has a broad background in civil litigation, corporate law, higher education law and business and contract law, including technology transfer. For the past nine years his primary focus has been civil litigation of large, high profile cases, as a partner in Jackson Kelly PLLC’s Morgantown office.
Prior to working with Jackson Kelly, Hutchens worked as an attorney for WVU and has maintained close ties to his alma mater, teaching graduate courses at the College of Human Resources and Education.
In his new role, Hutchens will be responsible for providing legal counsel and guidance to the University. He will also represent or coordinate the representation of WVU in judicial and administrative proceedings, including lawsuits and negotiations with other entities and organizations.
He will report jointly to the WVU Board of Governors and the University president. His appointment becomes effective March 15.
“Bill Hutchens has the type of diverse background and experience in higher education law that we were looking for as we filled this position,” said WVU President James P. Clements. “As a former attorney for this University, Bill is familiar with our system and will be able to provide strong leadership and guidance right away. I am pleased to welcome him back to WVU.”
Hutchens said he is honored to be selected as part of the president’s leadership team.
“What drew me back to the University was the unique place it’s in today with a dynamic new president and the team that he’s building,” Hutchens said. “One thing that struck me during the interview process was that while the University has grown and changed, the personality of the institution remains the same. There’s a strong sense of pride there, and I’m so impressed with the hard working and intelligent people I’ll be working with.”
Hutchens earned his undergraduate degree from Marshall University and his law degree from WVU. As a law student, he was a member of the Moot Court Board and a recipient of the Stanley E. Preiser Law Scholarship, the then largest single payment scholarship at the College of Law.
In his current practice, Hutchens regularly represents businesses, ranging from local companies to multinational corporations. He is also active in the community, including serving on the board of directors of the West Virginia Chapter of the Alzheimers Association, the United Way, is a part time non-denominational pastor and, when time allows, is active as a singer/songwriter in venues around the state.
Hutchens lives in Morgantown with his wife, Pat, who is also an attorney with Jackson Kelly PLLC. The couple has four grown daughters, two of whom are currently WVU students, and two grandchildren.
At WVU, Hutchens will oversee a staff of seven attorneys, two senior legal administrative assistants and two legal graduate assistants. His annual salary will be $197,000.
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