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Michael Roster appointed Stanford's general counsel
STANFORD -- Michael Roster, a senior partner in one of the nation's largest law firms, has been appointed Stanford University's general counsel, effective Aug. 1, by President Gerhard Casper.
Roster, 48, is a Stanford alumnus and managing partner of the Los Angeles office of Morrison & Foerster. The firm comprises more than 600 attorneys in 14 offices worldwide, and ranks as one of the 10 largest in the United States. In Los Angeles - the second largest of the firm's offices - Roster oversees the work of 120 lawyers, 300 employees total.
Roster heads the firm's bank regulatory practice nationwide, which involves supervising 30 to 40 lawyers who handle issues facing banks and other financial service organizations. He also is resident in the firm's Washington, D.C., office, and works on a regular basis in government and administrative law.
"I am just tremendously delighted that Stanford has been able to persuade Mike Roster to join us," Casper said. In addition to "vast experience in private legal practice," he said, Roster has administrative experience as a managing partner.
The president noted that Roster has "intimate knowledge of Stanford," having earned his bachelor's and law degrees at the Farm, and having worked in a variety of roles for the university, including serving as chairman of the Alumni Association board.
Peter J. Pfister, one of Morrison & Foerster's managing partners, said that Roster is "not only a fine lawyer, but also one of the firm's leaders and an innovative thinker, both in his practice and in developing more efficient ways to serve clients."
"Obviously, given Mike's talents and contributions," Pfister said, "we will miss him greatly. We hate to lose a person like Mike."
Pfister said that the general counsel's position at Stanford is a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and many extraordinarily well-qualified people from throughout the country sought the job."
"We are therefore very happy for Mike," Pfister said, "and we congratulate Stanford for its selection"
Roster said that after 20 years of private practice, "I welcome an opportunity to work with a single client, and especially being able to work in the stimulating environment that Stanford offers."
Serving as general counsel of a university "is one of the most challenging jobs for any practicing lawyer," he said. "It covers such a breadth of activities - from the medical center to intellectual property rights to all the other issues that arise in an academic environment."
Last year, Roster chaired the Stanford Alumni Association's Board of Directors, and he has been a member of the Law School's Board of Visitors. He served on the Board of Trustees' Nominating Committee in 1986 and was director of the Stanford Club of Southern California in the late 1970s.
A journalist and active community member in his student days, Roster earned a Dinkelspiel Award for outstanding service to undergraduate education at his 1967 commencement. He graduated with distinction in both political science and communication.
While a student, Roster worked as an assistant to the associate provost and dean of students and as assistant to the dean of undergraduate studies. For four incoming classes, he matched up all freshmen roommates and chose advisers for the new students. He also assigned the students to Western Civilization, Freshman English and Freshman Seminars.
"I spent a lot of time trying to match students with faculty," he said. "The advising system will always need tender loving care."
Roster served as executive editor - the number two position - at the Stanford Daily during fall quarter of his senior year. He spent summer 1965 as a reporter for United Press International and wrote for Time magazine as a student stringer in 1966-67.
Roster went on to Stanford Law School, leaving in the middle for a two-year stint in the U.S. Navy, for which he received a Navy Commendation Medal. He earned his law degree in 1973.
Roster succeeds John J. Schwartz, who left Stanford in January to become general counsel at SyStemix Inc. of Palo Alto. Michael Hudnall has been serving as acting general counsel since then.
As general counsel, Roster will lead an office of about two dozen attorneys working on academic-related issues, as well as business and finance, employment and labor, technology and medical affairs.
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