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Candidates to interview for general counsel position at New Mexico State University

Three candidates will interview May 30 for the position of general counsel at New Mexico State University, according to Assistant to the President Christina Chavez Kelley, chair of the search committee.


Victor Gonzales of Santa Fe, Mick I. Gutierrez of San Diego, Calif., and Bruce J. Solomon of Cranford, N.J., will be interviewed individually for the general counsel position by various groups and their representatives on campus, Chavez Kelley said.

The general counsel will report directly to the president of the university and will function as the chief internal legal officer. The attorney will be responsible for assisting with internal policies, employment issues, contracts, and compliance training, hiring outside specialized counsel when necessary, and advising on issues concerning students, resource development and other crucial areas.

"We were pleased to be able to select from a very strong pool of 50 candidates with varying backgrounds and expertise," Chavez Kelley said. The 10-member search committee included representatives from faculty, staff, students, the branch campuses, and the community.

Gonzales is a member of the Santa Fe law firm of White, Koch, Kelly & McCarthy, P.A., where he has practiced general civil litigation with a concentration in employment and civil rights law and personal injury defense. As part of his work, he has advised Santa Fe Community College, Northern New Mexico Community College, the Pueblo of Zuni, New Mexico Risk Management Division and the New Mexico Public School Insurance Authority. He also has served as a continuing legal education instructor. He attended Stanford University and earned a bachelor of science degree in psychology from the University of New Mexico in 1968 and a juris doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center in 1972.

Gutierrez is an assistant U.S. attorney in San Diego, Calif., where he has tried numerous cases and has handled oral arguments before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. He has received several awards for handling multiple jury trials, successful prosecutions and "Sustained Superior Performance." From 1990 to 1994, he was an associate with Miller, Stratvert, Torgerson & Schlenker, P.A., primarily handling insurance defense, product liability and medical malpractice claims. He also was senior trial prosecutor in the Dona Ana County district attorney's office and a special assistant attorney general handling child neglect and abuse cases. He had a post-doctoral fellowship from Howard University to work at Southern New Mexico Legal Services, Inc. Gutierrez is a former chairman of the Memorial Medical Center Board of Directors. He earned a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1977 and a juris doctorate from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law in 1980.

Solomon is deputy attorney general for the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, responsible for providing advice on the state's Open Public Meetings Act and Right to Know Law and for reviewing pending legislation for the state Legislature. He also is chief legal counsel for William Paterson University of New Jersey. Earlier in his career he also was university counsel for the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He has represented the state Department of Higher Education, the Board of Higher Education, the Chancellor of Higher Education and Higher Education Assistance Authority. He also was a founding partner in a firm specializing in trial and appellate litigation in labor and employment, higher education, contracts and other matters. He earned a bachelor's degree in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1973 and a juris doctorate from Rutgers University School of Law in 1977.

Candidates' resumes and interview schedules are posted on the NMSU Web site at www.nmsu.edu/. Click on "Administrative Searches Underway." Comments about the candidates, which can be submitted from the same Web site or by paper form, are due to President Jay Gogue by May 31. For more information, call Chavez Kelley at (505) 646-1729.