Kimberly M. Grunewald, Associate General Counsel
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 January 2011 from Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP in Kansas City, where he spent eight years as an associate and partner. At Spencer Fane, Mike handled litigation involving civil rights, education, employment, and business matters in State and federal trial and appellate courts. From 2007 - 2010, Mike served as Deputy Attorney General and Head of the Civil Litigation Division in the Kansas Attorney General's Office in Topeka. There he managed all attorneys and staff attached to the division, advised the Attorney General and other state agencies in litigation, employment, and regulatory matters; testified before legislative committees; and personally handled litigation in federal and state courts. Mike received a B.A. with Distinction in Political Science from the University of Kansas, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. At the University of Texas School of Law, Mike served as a Research and Writing Teaching Assistant while earning his J.D with Honors.
James P. Pottorff, Jr., University General Counsel
A native Kansan, Jim Pottorff has been the General Counsel for the University of Kansas since 2000. He and his office are responsible for legal advice and support to the University of Kansas, including the Chancellor and her senior administrators on all campuses of the University, including the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, as well as the KU Medical Center campuses in Kansas City and Wichita.
Prior to selection for his current position, Mr. Pottorff held a variety of academic and field positions in the Judge Advocate General's Corps of the U.S. Army. He served as the deputy staff judge advocate for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, as well as staff judge advocate for the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum, New York. Other assignments included chief of criminal law, senior trial counsel, and chief of claims for the 1st Infantry Division and Ft. Riley, Kansas. Mr. Pottorff's academic assignments include service as the deputy director of the Academic Department and faculty member in the Administrative and Civil Law Division of the Army JAG School in Charlottesville, Virginia. He also was a faculty member in the International Law Department of the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, teaching the international Law of Armed Conflict.
Mr. Pottorff received his J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law, where he served as an articles editor on the Kansas Law Review and as a member of the Moot Court Council. He holds a B.S. in general engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; an M.A. in national security and strategic studies with highest distinction from the Naval War College; an M.A. in human resources management from Pepperdine University; and an LL.M. in military administrative law from the Judge Advocate General's School, where he was an honor graduate. He is also a graduate of the Command and General Staff Officer Course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He held the rank of Colonel upon retirement from active duty.
Rachel E. Rolf, Associate General Counsel
Rachel Rolf returned to the Office of the General Counsel in 2010, where she previously clerked from 2005 through 2007. She now serves as Associate General Counsel. Prior to joining the Office of the General Counsel, Ms. Rolf was employed by the private law firm McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips, P.A. in Kansas City, where she practiced in the areas of litigation and education law. Ms. Rolf graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Creighton University. She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Kansas, where she served on the Kansas Law Review and earned the CALI award for the highest grade in Criminal Law.
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, Contracts Attorney
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.
Amy J. Sokol, Associate General Counsel & Risk Manager
Amy Sokol joined the office in 2012. Prior to joining the University she worked as the General Counsel for St. Johns Health System in Tulsa and Carondelet Health in Kansas City. She also worked as an associate at Shughart Thomson & Kilroy (now Polsinelli Shughart) where she counseled a broad range of health care clients. Ms. Sokol also taught health law as adjunct faculty at Rockhurst University and the University of Kansas. She holds a B.S. degree in management from Purdue University, a J.D. from St. Louis University, and a M.H.A. from St. Louis University School of Public Health. At St. Louis University she served as the Executive Managing Editor and Senior Articles Editor for the St. Louis-Warsaw Transatlantic Law Journal. She has written several articles on health care issues including: Missouri Physician Patient Privilege Presents Problems, 60 J. Mo. Bar 32 (2004); The Changing Standard of Care in Medicine: E-Health, Medical Errors, and Technology Add New Obstacles, 23 J. Legal Med. 449 (2002)(coauthor);When Technology and Health Care Collide: Issues with Electronic Medical Records and E-mail, 66 U.M.K.C. L. Rev. 809 (1998); and Disparate Impact Under Title VI: Discrimination By Any Other Name Will Still Have the Same Impact, 15 St. Louis Public L. Rev. 237 (1996).
Liz Welsh, Contracts Attorney
Liz Welsh joined the Office of the General Counsel in 2013, having previously worked for the City of Tempe, Arizona. In Tempe, Liz’s work focused on contracts and regulatory compliance. She also founded a statewide peer-support group for Arizona municipal recipients of Federal Highway Administration funding. Prior to law school, Liz was an assistant project manager for SunCor Development Company, a commercial real estate developer in the Southwest. She also worked as an editor of academic and nonfiction publications for the Arizona State University Office of Cultural Resource Management, Native Peoples Magazine, and Oryx Press. Earlier, she was a professional conservator of cultural materials for museums and collectors. Liz hold a J.D. from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, an M.S. in Art Conservation from the University of Delaware, and a B.A. in art and classics from Pomona College.
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.