Brian White is the General Counsel and Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs for the University of Kansas. In that role, Brian is responsible for providing strategic legal advice and coordinating the delivery of legal services in all areas of law affecting the university. Brian joined KU in August 2018. Brian comes to KU from UCONN Health in Farmington, Connecticut, where he served as its first Chief Counsel. Prior to that he served as Associate General Counsel and Interim VP of Facilities and Support Services at UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin. Brian began practicing as an in-house attorney in higher education at the University of Iowa, where he served as a Senior Associate Director and Legal Counsel for the University of Iowa Healthcare. Brian’s private legal experience includes his work as an associate with the Chicago firm of Boundas, Skarzynski, Walsh & Black. Brian is a graduate of the University of Iowa College of Law, where he was an Editor on the Journal of Corporation Law. Brian is an active member of the American Health Lawyer’s Association, serving as Vice Chair of the In-House Practice Group, the National Association of College and University Attorneys, and also serves as Vice Chair of the Vizient/UHC Legal and Compliance Practice Group.
Kim Grunewald joined the General Counsel's office in November 2011. A native of New Mexico, Kim received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Kansas in 1997 and her J.D. from DePaul University in 2000. After law school, Kim served as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago in the Building and Land Use Division and the Police Policy Litigation Division, where she represented the City in administrative hearings and state and federal litigation. Kim returned to Kansas in 2008 and served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Litigation Division of the Kansas Attorney General's Office. In that role, Kim defended the State of Kansas and its employees in state and federal litigation involving civil rights claims, employment law, and constitutional challenges. In addition to her litigation work, Kim oversaw charitable trusts throughout the State, monitoring trust compliance and management.
Michael C. Leitch, Associate General Counsel
Mike Leitch joined the General Counsel's office in 2011 after more than eleven years of representing public and private entities in civil litigation and three years of leading the Civil Litigation division of the Kansas Attorney General’s office. He helps University clients solve problems involving student rights and responsibilities, diversity and accessibility, academic and non-academic misconduct, and First Amendment issues, including free speech and religious liberty. He also handles employment questions, including claims of discrimination. Mike helps faculty and staff address questions regarding disabled students and employees and accommodations under the ADA. He handles business, transactional, and contractual disputes, open records (KORA) matters, and damage claims asserted against the University. He responds to subpoenas and represents the University in state and federal court and with administrative agencies. He has experience on issues involving information security and data handling obligations, as well as copyright issues and state ethics requirements.
A lifelong Jayhawk, Mike is a proud graduate of KU’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. He attended law school at the University of Texas at Austin.
Megan K. Walawender, Associate General Counsel
Megan Walawender joined the General Counsel’s office in April 2016 from Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP in Kansas City, Missouri, where she had been an associate and a partner, specializing in defense of companies and individuals in employment litigation related to statutory, tort, and contract actions. At Constangy, Megan tried cases to both state and federal juries and regularly represented clients in front of state and federal agencies. Prior to that, Megan was an associate with McAnany Van Cleave & Phillips in Kansas City, Kansas, where she was responsible for civil litigation in such areas as contract actions, negligence actions, premises liability and employment law. Before attending law school, she supervised claims adjusters at Shelter Insurance in Topeka, Kansas and responded to catastrophic natural disasters. Megan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Truman State University (1998), where she graduated with honors as a Pershing Scholar, minoring in Women’s Studies and Philosophy. She also obtained her J. D. from Washburn University School of Law (2006) where she was Executive Editor of the Washburn Law Journal.
Marie A. Taylor, Associate General Counsel
Marie Taylor joined the General Counsel’s office in November 2014. Prior to joining the University, Marie served as a staff attorney for the Kansas Department of Transportation (2012-2014), where she was responsible for drafting and negotiating contracts for the various bureaus, divisions, and work units within the agency. From 2007 to 2012, Marie served as an Assistant City Attorney for the City of El Paso, Texas where she provided transactional legal services to the City and its departments, boards, and committees, with a special focus on local, state, and federal grant funded programs and contracts for the City’s departments of Community and Human Development and Planning and Economic Development. Previously, Marie served as the staff attorney for Chief Justice David Wellington Chew, retired of the Eighth District Court of Appeals of Texas (2002-2007). Marie graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. degree in History from Connecticut College (1994) and also holds a M.A. degree in History from Princeton University (1996). She received her Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School (2002), where she served as an Articles Editor for the Harvard Environmental Law Review. She is admitted to the bars of Kansas, Missouri, and Texas.
Kimberly K. Gibbens, Associate General Counsel
Kim Gibbens joined the General Counsel’s office in April 2015. Prior to joining the University, Kim was in private practice for fifteen years beginning at Shook, Hardy and Bacon, L.L.P. and most recently as Senior Counsel at Husch Blackwell, LLP. In private practice, Kim represented hospitals and health systems and other types of healthcare providers in a variety of regulatory, transactional and compliance matters. Before joining a law firm, Kim clerked for the Honorable Judge Stanley A. Grimm (retired) of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District and served two years as an Assistant Attorney General in Missouri where she represented several professional licensing boards including the State Board of Nursing. Prior to law school, Kim worked seven years as a medical social worker at a large metropolitan hospital. Kim holds a B.A. degree in Psychology from the University of Kansas, an M.S.S.W. from the University of Texas, and a J.D. from the University of Missouri – Columbia School of Law.
Kelly M. Nash, Associate General Counsel
Kelly Nash joined the General Counsel’s office in March 2015. Prior to joining the University, Kelly was in private practice at Bryan Cave, LLP and most recently at Littler Mendelson, P.C., where she practiced in the area of employment law. In private practice, Kelly defended management in employment-related disputes in various forums and regularly appeared before federal and state courts and administrative agencies as lead counsel. Kelly’s practice also included advising employers on a broad spectrum of matters. Kelly received her law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School, where she served on the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law. Kelly holds a B.A. in History from MidAmerica Nazarene University. She is admitted to the bars in both Kansas and Missouri.
Claire M. Koenig, Assistant General Counsel
Claire Koenig joined the General Counsel’s office in May 2017, after serving as Assistant Director of Industry Agreements for KU Innovation & Collaboration (2015 – 2017) and in the Office of Legal Affairs of the KUMC Research Institute (2012 – 2015). Prior to her roles in the KU system, Claire developed public education resources regarding the Affordable Care Act and state insurance consumer protection laws for the Iowa Insurance Division. Claire holds a B.A. with highest distinction in Psychology from the University of Iowa (2008) and a J.D. cum laude from Loyola University Chicago (2011).
Darin L. Beck, Associate General Counsel and Deputy Director, Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center
Darin Beck serves as the Deputy Director of the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center (KLETC) and also as an Associate General Counsel for the University. His legal responsibilities focus on the unique statutory and regulatory mandates associated with the operation of the state's central law enforcement academy. Darin originally joined the KLETC staff in 1999 as the legal advisor to both KLETC and the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers' Standards and Training. He holds bachelor's degrees in Marketing and Mathematics from Wichita State University, a Masters in Education from Newman University, and a Juris Doctorate from Baylor University. He is a graduate of the FBI's Central States Law Enforcement Executive Development Program and the Army's Command and General Staff College (ILE). Prior to joining the KLETC Staff, Darin was an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Wichita and a former math teacher. He presently serves in the U.S. Army Reserve - Judge Advocate General Corps and also as a pro tem judge for the Wichita Municipal Court.