University names Libby Keefer new general counsel

President Barbara R. Snyder announced today that Elizabeth “Libby” Keefer will become Case Western Reserve University’s general counsel and secretary of the corporation, effective Oct. 1. Keefer’s experience includes 11 years as the general counsel of Columbia University, as well as extensive legal service in the private sector and the federal government.

“Libby Keefer not only possesses remarkable expertise in the issues relevant to higher education,” President Snyder said, “but also profound appreciation for the mission of major research universities. We are delighted to welcome her to our leadership team.”

During her time at Columbia, Keefer led an office of 16 attorneys providing services to 15 schools. She was directly involved in much of the legal work involving medicine and hospital affiliates, and also established a patent and licensing capability in the legal office that has supported and improved the effectiveness of Columbia’s successful technology transfer operation. In addition, Keefer also played an important role in the development of a 17-acre campus extension in the Manhattanville area of New York City, a process that involved significant legal and political skill.

Keefer left Columbia in 2008 to become a senior vice president at TMG Strategies in Arlington, Va., a prominent national firm that advises businesses and other organization on issues ranging from strategic communications and litigation to executive coaching and creative services.

Keefer said she is excited to return to practicing law in a university setting. “You can feel the momentum on campus. The people I met all demonstrated great competence, collegiality and commitment to advancing Case Western Reserve,” Keefer said. “I look forward to contributing to their efforts.”

Prior to joining Columbia in 1997, Keefer served as general counsel of Teledyne, an international corporation that included 18 separate technology manufacturing companies. She also served as a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed, deputy undersecretary for international affairs for the United States Air Force, and multiple legal positions within the U.S. Department of State. She earned her J.D. from George Washington University and her undergraduate degree from Barnard College.